Apple Announces New End-To-End Encryption For iCloud Services Including iMessage

Apple has today announced new security features that should ensure users’ data remains safe, including end-to-end encrypted iCloud services for the first time.

Three new features have been announced with iMessage Contact Key Verification which gives specific people more tools to ensure that they are alerted if and when their messages might have been compromised.

“Now with iMessage Contact Key Verification, users who face extraordinary digital threats — such as journalists, human rights activists, and members of government — can choose to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend,” Apple said via press release.

Apple goes on to say that “conversations between users who have enabled iMessage Contact Key Verification receive automatic alerts if an exceptionally advanced adversary, such as a state-sponsored attacker, were ever to succeed breaching cloud servers and inserting their own device to eavesdrop on these encrypted communications.”

Next up is Security Keys, with Apple noting that users will have the option to use third-party hardware security keys to enhance protection of their Apple ID for the first time. The feature will build upon Apple’s existing two-factor authentication systems, preventing people from having their accounts compromised via a phishing scam.

Finally, Apple announced Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, a new addition to iCloud security. Apple says that while 14 of its iCloud services were already end-to-end encrypted, that is now being increased to 23 thanks to the addition of iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos. This now means that iMessages will also be encrypted in iCloud backups for the first time.

Much of this will be available in 2023, but Advanced Data Protection for iCloud will be available to users in the United States once iOS 16.2 is released. The rest of the world will get access to the same feature in early 2023.

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