Taking spyware and other mobile threats seriously

Last March, in the forward to the White House Cybersecurity strategy, the President wrote, “[W]hen we pick up our smart phones to keep in touch with loved ones, log on to social media to share our ideas with one another, or connect to the Internet to run a business, we need the ability to trust that the underlying digital ecosystem is safe, reliable, and secure.”

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DMA: To Preserve Robust Mobile Security, Policymakers Should Heed the Important Security Lessons From the ActiveX Era of the Internet

We’ve previously explained the many challenges European regulators face in implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA), especially as it relates to the security consequences of downloading mobile apps from untrusted sources. In this piece, we go deeper to examine lessons from a similar well-meaning approach and architecture from the 1990’s — a technology framework called ActiveX that enabled software applications to be downloaded from third-party sources to bridge the gap that separated web pages from Microsoft’s operating system.

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