MacNN | Apple denies claims it could intercept iMessages on behalf of gov't.
Mac News Network View: Standard | Headlines | Categorized | Slim
Mac News Network
Mac News iPod News Reviews Forums
 

Desktop Headlines
Apple denies claims it could intercept iMessages on behalf of gov't.
Friday, October 18, 2013 @ 10:51am

Apple is denying that it could or would want to intercept iMessage traffic, according to an official statement. In a white paper issued Thursday, security firm QuarksLab argued that despite Apple assurances in the past, Apple could use a man-in-the-middle attack to provide US agencies like the NSA or the FBI with demanded information. The attack would exploit the company's control of encryption keys to convince senders and recipients that they're communicating with each other, when in reality they're passing information through an unsecure point where Apple can listen. QuarksLab says it's not suggesting that Apple does listen, simply that it has the option if compelled.



The paper is reportedly being well-received by other security researchers. "I think what their presentation demonstrates is that it’s very difficult, but not impossible, for an outside attacker to intercept messages if they’re able to control key aspects of the network," says one researcher, Ashkan Soltani. "Probably not something that just any actor can do, but definitely something a state/government actor or Apple themselves could do, if motivated." In its new statement, Apple claims that QuarksLab's theory is just a theory, and would require reprogramming the iMessage system. "iMessage is not architected to allow Apple to read messages," says spokeswoman Trudy Muller. "The research discussed theoretical vulnerabilities that would require Apple to re-engineer the iMessage system to exploit it, and Apple has no plans or intentions to do so." The truth of Apple's statement is difficult to verify, since US agencies have gone after services like Lavabit and Skype to intercept communications, despite their promises of secure connections. Lavabit chose to shut down before handing over encryption information.

Comments on this Article
Print Friendly Version
Email to a Friend
Add MacNN to Your RSS Feeds
Buy from the Apple Store


Related Stories:

Today's MacNN Stories:

  • Skype 7.2 fixes bugs, improves chat readability - 3:54 PM EST
  • StealthGenie spyware app creator pleads guilty, fined $500,000 - 3:16 PM EST
  • Natalie Portman in talks to join Universal's Steve Jobs biopic - 2:45 PM EST
  • AT&T responds to FCC over 'frozen' fiber build, calls agency mistaken - 1:32 PM EST
  • Apple may lean heavily on Samsung for iPhone 6, Apple Watch parts - 1:15 PM EST
  • Briefly: Civilization: Beyond Earth OS X ships, new Geometry Wars 3 - 12:55 PM EST
  • Holiday Gift Guide: Audio gear - 12:33 PM EST
  • Union, Rev. Jackson push for better terms for Apple security guards - 11:34 AM EST
  • Pre-Black Friday Deals: 5TB HDD, iPads, 4k2k display, Steam sale - 11:22 AM EST
  • iPhone 5c production to halt in mid-2015, report says - 10:40 AM EST
  • Shareholder suit accuses GT Advanced of failing to disclose risks - 9:32 AM EST
  • Judge grants Apple post-judgement royalties from second Samsung trial - 9:24 AM EST
  • Review: iDrive cloud backup and sync service - 8:22 AM EST
  • Hands On: Snoopy's All Star Football (iOS) - 7:44 AM EST

    Today's iPodNN Stories:
  • Amazon cuts Fire Phone price a second time to $199 unlocked - 12:57 PM EST
  • Samsung plans $2B share buyback, sale of defense and chemical assets - 11:22 AM EST
  • Sony reportedly working on smartwatch with e-paper screen, band - 8:53 AM EST
  • Analysis: Sony's PlayStation Vita settlement could cost up to $28.7M - 7:25 AM EST
  • Samsung considering leadership change for declining mobile division - 1:13 AM EST
  • No comments posted on this story yet. Please post yours.
    Your Comments
    In order to post comments, you must be a registered member of the MacNN Forums and logged in. Please login with your MacNN Forums username and password.

    MacNN Forums Login:

    MacNN Forums Password:

    Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.