Apple’s head of WebKit engineering has confirmed that Safari is now redirecting Google Safe Browsing traffic through its own servers to protect user information in iOS 14.
Commenting on a recent The 8-bit article, Maciej Stachowiak, Apple’s head of WebKit stated:
This article is a bit confused on the details of how Safe Browsing works, but in the new iOS beta, Safari does indeed proxy the service via Apple servers to limit the risk of information leak.
As we have previously explained, Safari on iOS uses a Fraudulent Website Warning to protect user privacy data. From Apple:
Apple protects user privacy and safeguards your data with Safari Fraudulent Website Warning, a security feature that flags websites known to be malicious in nature. When the feature is enabled, Safari checks the website URL against lists of known websites and displays a warning if the URL the user is visiting is suspected of fraudulent conduct like phishing. To accomplish this task, Safari receives a list of websites known to be malicious from Google, and for devices with their region code set to mainland China, it receives a list from Tencent. The actual URL of a website you visit is never shared with a safe browsing provider and the feature can be turned off.
Safari checks any web page you try to visit against a list of websites known to be malicious, represented by hash prefixes. As noted, whilst the URL of the website is never shared and the feature can be switched off, Apple is now also routing these requests through its own servers to further limit the possibility of a data leak.