App Transport Security is Apple's forward-looking way to make sure any communications between an app and a web server are done using TLS 1.2 and SHA256 or better security. That way nobody can eavesdrop on or tamper with your private data. Yesterday Google not only told developers how to disable it, including giving them the code to do it. From the Google Ads Developer Blog:
Not surprisingly, that caused a backlash in the security community.
What Google could have done, and arguably should have done, was help developers configure things in such a way that app traffic remained secure while working on making the ads secure as well Instead, Google simply told them how to turn it all off. Private data connections and ads, all of it. It's the easiest approach but also the laziest and worst approach for users.
Google updated the article later in the day:
Our own Nick Arnott wrote about ATS after Apple announced it at WWDC 2015 and recommended several options, the third of which could be a better solution for developers and users both. From Neglected Potential:
App Transport Security is brand new with iOS 9 and there will be some initial pain, especially for people with content like ads. But that doesn't mean the privacy and security baby should be thrown out with the bathwater. Everyone is stressed and rushed leading up to a launch, so if a company like Google recommends an easy out by just shutting security down, that out is more likely going to be taken.
Recode put it this way:
Everyone, platform owners and developers included, can be inclined to punt in the face of impending change. I'm optimistic, however, that Google can get it together and help developers achieve the best results for now, and better ones going forward.
Because once security and privacy is turned off, there's a good chance they'll stay that way.
Nick Arnott contributed to this article.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.