Apple says its new iMessage can send an alert if a state-sponsored hacker is spying on your conversation – but both parties must enable the feature for it to work

Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo/Reuters

  • Apple says its new iMessage feature can let people know if their conversation is being monitored.

  • It is available to those who “face extraordinary digital threats”, such as journalists and politicians.

  • Both people in the conversation must have the feature enabled to receive an alert in the event of a breach.

Apple said its new iMessage ignition key verification feature can notify people if their chat is breached by a state-sponsored hacker, but it only works if both people have it turned on.

The iMessage feature will be available to people “who face extraordinary digital threats,” such as journalists, human rights activists and politicians, Apple said in a press release.

iMessages between two people who have enabled the feature will receive an automatic alert “if an exceptionally advanced adversary, such as a state-sponsored attacker, manages to break into cloud servers and insert their own device to eavesdrop on these encrypted communications “.

Since the feature only works if both people have it enabled, it is limited to iMessage users to whom the feature is available. Apps like Signal and WhatsApp are cross-platform alternatives that also offer end-to-end encrypted messaging.

For people who want another level of protection, Apple said they can compare a contact verification code with each other in person, on FaceTime or via a secure call to confirm they’re talking to each other.

Apple noted that it’s not new to the security game, having “pioneered” end-to-end encryption with iMessage, which only allows messages to be read by the sender and their recipients.

Despite this, iMessage users have been targeted by spyware in the past. Apple sued spyware company NSO Group and its parent company Q Cyber ‚Äč‚ÄčTechnologies last November, claiming the company’s Pegasus tool was used to target activists, journalists and other users of Apple products.

In July, Apple announced its new “Lockdown Mode” option which is also designed to protect certain users who may be the target of “sophisticated digital threats”, including those from “private corporations developing mercenary government-sponsored spyware”. ‘State”.

In addition to iMessage ignition key verification, Apple has released two other security features: Apple ID Security Keys and iCloud Advanced Data Protection.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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