Home Apple starts rolling out quantum-proof encryption to iMessage

Apple starts rolling out quantum-proof encryption to iMessage

Apple will roll out a new encryption service for iMessage to protect against penetration efforts by quantum computers.

The official Apple Security blog detailed “the most significant cryptographic security upgrade in iMessage history” and the most formidable protection offered by any messaging system — even going a step further than privacy-focused Signal.

This new barrier aims to keep prying eyes away from iMessage content as quantum computers evolve in their ability to get past encryption — effectively adding a layer of protection against a threat yet to arrive.

As quantum computers are not yet widespread, the danger from this hardware is not a significant consideration at present, but it could be at some point in the future. Hackers are banking on the probability that the hardware will eventually enable them to access encrypted data within their possession. The attack scenario is referred to as ‘harvest now, decrypt later.’

Apple will do this with the arrival of a new cryptographic protocol to iMessage known as PQ3, which includes aspects from the post-quantum algorithms and existing Elliptic Curve algorithms deployed by standard messaging platforms.

Future proof intentions

With the next software updates,  iOS 17.4, iPadOS 17.4, macOS 14.4, and watchOS 10.4, Apple users will receive an enhanced level of end-to-end encryption for iMessage. Apple is attempting to stay ahead of the game, working on existing and potential threats against its technology, including the iPhone, which is used by approximately 1.46 billion people daily.

As outlined by Axios, the Big Five tech giant is a strategic, “ripe target for nation-state hackers and governments involved in surveillance against other government officials, dissidents, advocates and journalists”.

In recent weeks, the Chinese government claimed it could crack AirDrop encryption, potentially opening a pathway to assist the government in spying on protesters who use the tool to campaign and spread political messages.


Featured Image Credit: WeStartMoney/Pexels.

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Graeme Hanna
Tech Journalist

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing. Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter. Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.

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