IOS 14.5 blocks IP addresses from being passed to Google
IOS 14.5 blocks IP addresses from being passed to Google

Apple's upcoming iOS 14.5 update includes a new feature that will redirect all fraudulent website scans through the proxy server. This is an alternative solution to protect users' privacy and prevent IP addresses from being transferred to Google.

The built-in feature focuses on the security of the Safari browser and warns users about unsafe websites that are flagged as fraudulent or malicious by displaying the banner: Fraudulent Website Warning.

Apple relies on Google Safe Browsing or Tencent Safe Browsing for Chinese users.

"Safe Browsing" is a "block list" that contains a list of URLs for web resources that contain malicious or phishing content, to compare hash prefixes calculated from website addresses and to verify that the website is an actual fraudulent website.

If there is a match in the database, Safari will be forced to ask Google or Tencent for the full list of URLs that match the hash prefix, preventing users from accessing the website when a warning is displayed.

While this policy ensures that the actual URL of the website that a user is trying to access is never shared with the Safe Browsing provider, it loses the IP address of the device being scanned.

In iOS 14.5, all of these checks are routed through an Apple proxy server, so it appears that all requests come from the same IP address.

Maciej Stachowiak, head of Apple's WebKit project, said in a tweet: “Safari will play the role of proxy in the new iOS beta via Apple's server to reduce the risk of information leakage.”

The new changes to iOS and iPadOS are part of a series of privacy-conscious measures that Apple recently introduced. This includes requiring app developers to use privacy tags to disclose data collection practices. Data in app store listings.

Additionally, in iOS 14.5, apps must ask for user permissions before tracking users to other apps and sites. This is part of a new feature called App Tracking Transparency.

IOS 14.5 is currently in beta and will be released this spring.

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