Security research firm says Apple can read your iMessages

By on October 18, 2013, 2:45 PM

Back in June, Apple said that iMessage is so secure that the company itself isn't even capable of decrypting communications sent on the service. But now, security research firm Quarklabs has released data saying that is not necessarily the case.

Apple said in the summer that "conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data." But based on the firm's recently published research, Quarklabs insists that Apple is indeed capable of decrypting communications sent over iMessage.

According to Quarklabs, the vulnerability is due to Apple having full control over the encryption keys used to secure messages between the sender and receiver. The firm points out that, theoretically this makes it possible for Apple to review messages without the intended users ever knowing its happening. This also means that Apple is capable of decrypting private messages if it were forced to do so by government agencies.

According to various reports, the data is being generally accepted by the security research sector as valid and independent cryptography experts are noted to have accepted the concepts the research is based on.

QuarkLabs prefaced its findings by saying that it has no evidence that Apple is or has already exploited this vulnerability. In a recent statement regarding the current situation, Apple doesn't outright deny Quarklabs' findings but still maintains its position from back in June, saying that 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.”




User Comments: 15

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2 people like this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

Apple lying? Noooooo....... they would never do that............. again...

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Is Techspot becoming another anti-Apple website? This news has already been updated.

[link]

JC713 JC713 said:

This may be an invasion of privacy, but it is necessary to keep people safe.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Is Techspot becoming another anti-Apple website? This news has already been updated.

[link]

Traffic man. Traffic = money.

Also, becoming? Maybe the news postings have been neutral (although that is questionable, esp in the past), the audience here is so anti-apple you would be hard pressed to find a site that hates Apple more than here.

4 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Is Techspot becoming another anti-Apple website? This news has already been updated.
By some chance you don't read the other articles, Apple is not the only one getting pounded. Take your Anti-Apple, Anti-Microsoft, Anti-Whoever somewhere else. Do you actually think they will fess up to doing what they are told to do, while being forced to keep their mouth shut about it? The only way out for them is to deny involvement, which is exactly what they did.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Is TechSpot becoming another anti-Apple website? This news has already been updated.

[link]

Traffic man. Traffic = money.

Also, becoming? Maybe the news postings have been neutral (although that is questionable, esp in the past), the audience here is so anti-apple you would be hard pressed to find a site that hates Apple more than here.

A few things I'd like to address here:

TechSpot is not anti-Apple. At some point in the late 90s/early 2000s I personally disliked the company due to their overpriced products, slow hardware and questionable advertising. Some of that personal distaste was likely permeated here, but it's been a long while since. For the past 5-6 years I've been using Macbooks and Windows PCs on a daily basis. Throughout the staff there are Windows, Linux and Mac users (as well as iPhone users), so again, no we are not anti-Apple.

As for readers, they are entitled to have an opinion and there seem to be a share of vocal users who obviously don't like the company.

Finally, "Traffic = money"? Seriously SNGX?

1 person liked this | R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

This may be an invasion of privacy, but it is necessary to keep people safe.

Totally agree! although it would be safer if we didn't have rights altogether. Its a pity I dont work for the NSA.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Totally agree! although it would be safer if we didn't have rights altogether. Its a pity I dont work for the NSA.

After that comment, I'm happy you don't.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Is Techspot becoming another anti-Apple website? This news has already been updated....[ ]....
What exactly do you mean by, "becoming"? I thought that news had already been updated as well....:p

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Nothing is safe anymore, seems the generation of high tech is also the generation that surrenders its privacy. The thing about this is Apple doesn't really care about your message enough to decrypt them. Unless you become a person of interest, which I mean c'mon, what have you done lately to make them think that? I'm not defending them by any means and don't support it one bit. The scariest part of this is when the companies decide they can use all our info and convo and start selling them, our pictures, etc...like facebook (probably) does.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I'm completely at ease with this revelation.

1: I've never owned an Apple product in the past.

2: I don't own one at the present time.

3: I never intend to buy one, and may God strike me dead if I do.

Problem solved, with all bases covered.

JC713 JC713 said:

A few things I'd like to address here:

TechSpot is not anti-Apple. At some point in the late 90s/early 2000s I personally disliked the company due to their overpriced products, slow hardware and questionable advertising. Some of that personal distaste was likely permeated here, but it's been a long while since. For the past 5-6 years I've been using Macbooks and Windows PCs on a daily basis. Throughout the staff there are Windows, Linux and Mac users (as well as iPhone users), so again, no we are not anti-Apple.

As for readers, they are entitled to have an opinion and there seem to be a share of vocal users who obviously don't like the company.

Finally, "Traffic = money"? Seriously SNGX?

Of course TS isnt anti-apple. The iPhone 5 and 5S got better ratings than most android phones xD.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Is Techspot becoming another anti-Apple website? This news has already been updated.

[link]

Lol are you new?

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Finally, "Traffic = money"? Seriously SNGX?

Absolutely man. Maybe it isn't the ultimate goal in posting Apple related news, but I'm sure on some level whether you want to admit it (and probably won't/can't publically) you like seeing the amount of discussion that ensues when you post an Apple related news story, traffic/interest that you don't get with a 'Microsoft releases something' story.

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