Apple isn’t done fighting Corellium’s virtual iOS devices just yet

Apple isn’t done fighting Corellium’s virtual iOS devices just yet

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Apple revises fight against Corellium
Despite Apple's claims it supports independent security research.
Photo: Corellium

Just when it looked like Apple’s lengthy legal battle with Corellium was finally over, Cupertino on Tuesday appealed a copyright case it previously lost in an effort to take down the firm’s iPhone virtualization platform.

The news is somewhat surprising after Apple last week settled other claims against Corellium, in what experts called a significant win for security research. And it contradicts Apple’s own stance on validation.

Corellium offers virtual iOS devices that run in a web browser. They allow independent researchers to carry out testing on Apple’s latest software releases in a safer, simpler, more affordable way than using real hardware.

The virtual devices are “jailbroken,” but they don’t rely on traditional jailbreak methods, which can take a long time to roll out to the public. They have helped uncover flaws in iPhone firmware, which are then reported to Apple.

Security experts consider Corellium’s virtualization platform — the only one of its kind — to be imperative to the research community. But it seems Apple feels differently, and it’s still fighting for a shutdown.

Apple continues battle against Corellium

Apple on Tuesday appealed a copyright case it previously lost against Corellium’s virtual iOS devices, Reuters reports. It was last year rejected by a federal judge, who said Corellium had a valid case of “fair use.”

The move is surprising, not just because Apple recently settled other claims against Corellium, but also because Apple SVP Craig Federighi recently spoke out in support of the research that holds Apple accountable.

“Enough is enough,” said Corellium CEO Amanda Gordon, who pointed out that “Apple can’t pretend to hold itself accountable to the security research community while simultaneously trying to make that research fight illegal.”

Experts ‘surprised’

The appeal comes just a day after Corellium announced a new initiative that will support independent verification of the security and privacy claims made by Apple and other mobile device manufacturers.

Its first target is Apple’s new photo scanning feature, which is designed to detect child abuse material (CSAM) uploaded to iCloud. It is scheduled to roll out later this year and there are concerns it could one day be expanded.

“Experts said they were also surprised that Apple revived a fight against a major research tool provider just after arguing that researchers would provide a check on its controversial plan to scan customer devices,” reports Reuters.