Just as it appeared that Apple’s long legal struggle with Corellium was coming to an end, the company filed an appeal on Tuesday of a copyright lawsuit it had previously lost in an attempt to shut down the company’s iPhone virtualization platform.
The news comes as a shock after Apple settled other charges against Corellium this week, in what experts described as a big victory for security research. It also goes against Apple’s validation policy.
Cornelius provides virtual iOS devices that may be accessed using a web browser. They enable independent researchers to test Apple’s latest software updates in a safer, simpler, and more cost-effective manner than if they used genuine hardware.
The virtual devices are “jailbroken,” but they don’t use typical jailbreak techniques, which can take a long time to spread to the general public. They’ve aided in the discovery of iPhone firmware issues, which are subsequently reported to Apple.
Corellium’s virtualization platform, which is the only one of its sort, is considered vital to the research community by security specialists. On the other hand, Apple appears to have a different opinion and is still pushing for a shutdown.
According to Reuters, Apple has filed an appeal in a copyright case it previously lost against Corellium’s virtual iOS devices. A federal judge dismissed it last year, stating that Corellium had a strong case of “fair use.”
Not only is the action startling, but Apple SVP Craig Federighi just spoke out in support of the research that holds Apple accountable.
“Enough is enough,” said Corellium CEO Amanda Gordon, who added, “Apple can’t pretend to be accountable to the security research community while also attempting to make that research fight illegal.”
The petition comes only a day after Corellium announced a new program to encourage independent verification of Apple and other mobile device manufacturers’ security and privacy promises.
Apple’s new photo scanning tool, which is designed to detect child abuse material (CSAM) uploaded to iCloud, is the first target. It is set to launch later this year, and there are concerns that it may be expanded in the future.
According to Reuters, “experts were also shocked that Apple resurrected a legal battle with a prominent research tool supplier just days after arguing that researchers would provide a check on its contentious plan to scan user devices.”