Apple pulls the plug on in-app ad-blockers

The company doesn't want apps installing root certificates on your iPhone for security reasons.

Apple decided to allow ad-blocking in mobile Safari with iOS 9, but the company has no intention of allowing apps that install root certificates to block adds in other apps—no way, no how.

That means big changes for apps like Been Choice, which users could install to block ads in Safari as well as apps like Facebook, Pinterest, and Apple News. Apple pulled Been Choice and a few apps like it, because the method used for in-app ad-blocking installs root certificates that collect your website visits and deliver that information to the ad-blocker. Apple considers this a security violation. Safari ad-blocking apps can’t do that, which is why they haven’t been affected.

Apple provided a statement about the move to iMore and various outlets: “Apple is deeply committed to protecting customer privacy and security. We’ve removed a few apps from the App Store that install root certificates which enable the monitoring of customer network data that can in turn be used to compromise SSL/TLS security solutions. We are working closely with these developers to quickly get their apps back on the App Store, while ensuring customer privacy and security is not at risk.”

Been Choice confirmed its removal from the App Store on its Twitter account, and said it was working with Apple on a solution. The app’s founders still aren’t clear on whether it will be allowed to block iAds served up in Apple News.

The story behind the story: It’s a little strange that Been Choice was approved this week to begin with. The app worked by installing a VPN profile on your phone that then routed your web traffic through Been Choice’s servers. The company performed deep packet inspection on the content to weed out ads. While it’s a service plenty of people want, for Apple, the security risks are too great.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iOS 9iossafari

More about AppleFacebookNewsTwitter

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Caitlin McGarry

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts