sb-nz logo
Story image

Apple rolls out new App Store restrictions in response to COVID-19

Amidst the widespread controls being placed on facets of everyday life across the world, Apple has announced its own restrictions in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The company has today introduced new measures to limit apps on the App Store which disseminate false information, and has introduced ways to expedite the review process so genuine apps providing accurate information about the virus can be published faster than usual.

The tech giant has also banned outright entertainment or game apps which use the coronavirus as a theme or central idea.

The news comes as the company recently closed the doors on all of its Apple stores across the world, except China, in response to the coronavirus.

“The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps,” the company says in a statement released today. 

“Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbours.”

The company’s statement reflects on the recent developments in the cybersecurity sphere, where virus-related phishing campaigns are have surged as people scour the internet for information and reassurance about the coronavirus.

Cyber attackers are enticing victims to click on links and attachments within emails which appear as if they are from government or health organisations, such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The cybersecurity company Kaspersky recently reported discovering phishing emails that emulated the CDC, in particular from emails containing the domains cdc-gov[.]org and cdcgov[.]org. 

In one instance, the URL contained within a phishing email led to a fake Microsoft Outlook login page, designed to convince victims to input their credentials. 

In another instance, victims were asked to donate Bitcoin to the CDC to aid in the pursuit of a vaccine.

Apple says it will be ramping up efforts to critically evaluate apps to ensure reputable data sources.

The company's new app screening will ‘ensure’ developers wishing to submit an app relating in any way to COVID-19 are from recognised entities, such as government organisations, health-focused NGO’s or medical and educational institutions.

The company also announced its intention to get apps which come from these recognised entities to receive special treatment so that they can arrive on the App Store quickly.

“We understand the need to get these apps into the hands of customers as soon as possible,” says Apple’s official statement.

“We encourage developers that meet this criteria to select ‘Time-Sensitive Event’ on the expedite request form to ensure prioritised review since AppStore review may take longer.”

Story image
Businesses left to make decisions based on old, inaccurate data, study finds
"It is more critical than ever that organisations have access to actionable, contextualised, near real-time threat data to power the network and application security tools they use to detect and block malicious actors."More
Story image
Entrust launches cloud-based ID issuance solution
The Sigma instant ID solution uses encryption, trusted HSM technology and secure boot to issue highly secure physical and mobile identities.More
Story image
Experiencing ransomware significantly impacts cybersecurity approach
"The survey findings illustrate clearly the impact of these near-impossible demands. Among other things, those hit by ransomware were found to have severely undermined confidence in their own cyber threat awareness."More
Story image
Unbound seeks channel growth with new partner programme
Those who sign up will have access to Unbound’s security solutions, sales and partner enablement, deal registration and partner portal.More
Story image
Education sector most at risk of DNS attacks - with a steep cost
84% of education organisations surveyed have been hit by DNS attacks, with each suffering an average of eight attacks.More
Story image
New project development inhibited by cybersecurity, Kaspersky research states
"There are still some practical steps that can be taken to make sure that an emerging technology or a product reaches its launch. Cybersecurity doesn’t have to be another corporate barrier, but it should be on an integral part of the project all long."More