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Exploring Apple's iPhone App Kill Mechanism
Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 3:25 PM - by
An iPhone forensics expert has discovered that Apple has apparently installed a mechanism to remotely kill an iPhone app if necessary. However, public knowledge of scope of the technology is scant, according to Tom Krazit at CNET on Thursday.
The conclusion by Mr. Zdziarski, an iPhone forensics expert, was that Apple could remotely terminate an app, even if an Apple customer had paid for the app.
The problem, according to Mr. Krazit is that no one has any real insight into when or how this facility would be invoked. It could simply be away for Apple to revoke apps that are subsequently found to be malicious or have grave security weaknesses. It could also be a way for enterprise customers to control what applications are installed. [However, that would require multiple Websites on a per company basis, presumably, not just one.]
Apple's tight-fisted policy, according to Mr. Krazit, is annoying some developers who are more accustomed to direct control of their apps, and some could certainly strike out on their own with apps for jailbroken phones. However, in the meantime, no one knows much about details of this mechanism or the circumstances under which Apple would use it.
In a related story, the infamous "I am Rich" iPhone app has apparently been removed from the App Store. It's not clear whether the author or Apple withdrew the app. If it has been withdrawn for good, it may be the first time in the history of Apple software that a legitimate, harmless application has been withdrawn from the market due to a public embarrassment.
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