Thursday, August 07, 2008

PC World - Apple Can 'Kill' iPhone Apps Remotely, Or Can It?

I have absolutely no inside knowledge concerning the purpose of the Apple iPhone 'kill switch' that allegedly allows Apple to kill an application.

But given the tight control over iPhone apolications, it is pretty clear that at least one purpose of the kill switch (if it works) would be to allow crime-ware such as keystroke loggers etc. to be disabled.

One possibility is that a criminal might create a virus that performs a DDoS attack on the AT&T network or repeatedly calls premium rate numbers or any similar crime with a money motive.

Of course, Apple may have other reasons for introducing the switch and this might not be one of their intended uses at all. But regardless of what their motive is, once the device is sold it belongs to the owner, not to Apple. I predict that any use of the switch would require significant involvement of Apple lawyers.

As it happens, Microsoft can in fact kill any program running on my Windows box. So the capability is not exceptional. But Microsoft have that capability because I run choose to run Windows Defender and I regularly opt in to the 'remove malware' agreement when installing updates.

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