Apple drops lawsuit against Corellium virtualization firm

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Apple settled a copyright infringement lawsuit against Corellium Software Virtualization. Corellium Software Virtualization is an iOS-focused company, which sells its products and services to security researchers.

Apple sued Corellium in 2019. Corellium claims that Corellium’s products infringe copyrights. Corellium sells virtualized iPhones to security researchers and developers. The tool is used to detect bugs and flaws.

According to court filings The Washington Post reported that Florida’s case was scheduled to go to trial on August 16. However, the parties agreed to settle the matter.

As noted in the report, the security research community viewed Apple’s legal play skeptically, which voiced concern that a ruling in Apple’s favor could have dissuaded future independent research efforts.

Corellium’s tools allow users to create virtual devices in the cloud using Corellium. This support is available for all models of iPhones and iPads. Each one runs iOS directly from Apple’s servers. The device is then replicated in software.

Corellium claimed that its tools ran “real iOS,” but Apple didn’t license its proprietary software. Apple claimed Corellium violated security measures to create an “unauthorized copy” of iOS and thus ran afoul the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Corellium copied everything, including the code, graphical user interface, icons, and all the details,” Apple’s original filing states.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith dismissed Apple’s copyright claims in December. Corellium had met its burden of establishing fair usage, and Apple could dismiss those DMCA claims.

Apple has been increasing its stance in recent months by issuing subpoenas for contractors who used the software.

Court filings reveal that Apple attempted to acquire Corellium in 2018. They also filed suit against Corellium because negotiations had stalled.

The iPhone maker later created the Security Research Device program, an alternative to Corellium that provides security researchers with specialized iPhones to ferret out bugs and vulnerabilities.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Corellium COO Matt Tait defended Apple’s recently announced child sexual abuse material tools, arguing that potential expansion of the system through database modification — a major concern for privacy advocates — is an unlikely risk.

Apple’s Child Safety Initiative is multi-pronged. It uses on-device processing to detect CSAM images and report them to iCloud Photos. It protects children against sensitive images sent via SMS.

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