Mark Zuckerberg says iMessage is less secure than WhatsApp

Daniel Sims

Posts: 762   +30
Staff
Why it matters: The heads of WhatsApp and parent company Meta have opened another round of verbal jousting over who has the best and most secure messaging service. Like before, the main flashpoints are cloud backup security and cross-platform interoperability.

This week's new advertisement for WhatsApp is the latest jab at Apple for refusing to extend encrypted messaging and other features to non-Apple platforms. On social media, Mark Zuckerberg and WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart contrasted the app's latest features with iMessage.

An ad above the entrance to Pennsylvania Station shows three message bubbles in different colors. One is green to represent SMS or MMS messages appearing on iPhones, and one is blue to represent iMessage. A third is white and labeled "Private Bubble" to characterize WhatsApp and its privacy features. The ad implies that iMessage's restriction to iPhones makes it less secure than WhatsApp.

Apple's messaging service features end-to-end encryption when all users in a conversation use Apple devices. However, iPhones revert to unencrypted SMS or MMS texting with Android phones. On Instagram and Twitter, Zuckerberg and Cathcart mentioned WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption, which extends to cross-platform conversations.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck)

Google criticized Apple's policy earlier this year, encouraging the company to allow RCS messaging on iPhone. Google adopted RCS on Android last year, which also encrypts end-to-end. The company has since complained that Apple locks users into its ecosystem by only allowing encryption and other advanced features through iMessage.

During its court battle with Apple last year, Epic Games pointed out that Apple wouldn't bring iMessage to Android because it would simply encourage iPhone-owning parents to buy their kids Android phones. During a Vox panel last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook explicitly said he'd rather convert users to iPhones than allow RCS messages between iPhone and Android users.

Zuckerberg and Cathcart also highlighted WhatsApp's end-to-end encrypted cloud backups. The pair said Apple doesn't support this feature, but it's a bit more complicated.

Apple encrypts iCloud iMessage backups but also retains keys to those backups. That policy makes it easier for users to recover their messages if they lose their passwords but gives Apple an encryption key to their messages. Cathcart tweeted that Apple can't open encrypted WhatsApp backups on iCloud but didn't say whether WhatsApp or Meta can.

WhatsApp has also recently taken flak from a competitor over security concerns. Earlier this month, Telegram founder Pavel Durov used a WhatsApp security advisory from last month to call the service fundamentally insecure. He referred to WhatsApp's vulnerabilities as "planted backdoors" and called the app a surveillance tool.

Permalink to story.

 

Vanderlinde

Posts: 212   +132
End to end means really nothing knowing what's stored on the servers of facebook.

Tip: I have my phone disconnected and offline. I log into web.whatsapp.com and it manages to sync. Where is that data coming from?

Oh yes. FB servers. Any official with a warrant could technically access that.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 528   +999
End to end means really nothing knowing what's stored on the servers of facebook.

Tip: I have my phone disconnected and offline. I log into web.whatsapp.com and it manages to sync. Where is that data coming from?

Oh yes. FB servers. Any official with a warrant could technically access that.
Not to defend Meta as they are a horrible corporation but the mechanism is quite simple. When you register your mobile with a computer, the decryption keys are exchanged and stored locally on computer. Next time, as the keys are stored, the messages can be decrypted using them.

Edit : Not saying that Meta doesn't have decryption keys for 'security purposes'. But this is not it.
 

dangh

Posts: 856   +1,450
iMessage is total crap, but same for the WhatsApp. Tbh the latter is a bit better, but it is really low level competition.
Anyway, one crap company criticize other crap company. It's the crap fight.
 

Lozzy

Posts: 61   +104
Pfft, anyone who wants to read my inane chat with mates and see boob pics and questionable jokes is welcome to it. Apart from the odd giggle, you'll be bored as f...
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,363   +8,581
The world worked just fine, perhaps even better BEFORE the birth of social media. As impossible as it appears, I wouldn't mind one bit for us to return to that day and age ......
 

Vanderlinde

Posts: 212   +132
Not to defend Meta as they are a horrible corporation but the mechanism is quite simple. When you register your mobile with a computer, the decryption keys are exchanged and stored locally on computer. Next time, as the keys are stored, the messages can be decrypted using them.

Edit : Not saying that Meta doesn't have decryption keys for 'security purposes'. But this is not it.

If they truely would not store such things they coud'nt be active in US or EU for that matter. There are legislations or simply put backdoors in regards of information of their users. They are not jeopardising the market they are having right now due to privacy. They would sacrifice the few hunderd of users in regards of their privacy over millions of world wide users.

They do store data. And it's being obtained from somewhere. Even if my phone is disconnected. My computer manages to download quite recent messages still. So it has to come from somewhere.

I dont believe one bit or word Meta says in regards of privacy. Apple is the one who cut evasive apps such as Facebook, instagram and all that in regards of data hunger

I just live with the idea that, there could be another recipient reading my messages. And based on that I'm conservative with what I write or publish. Pictures of my nude **** I have no moral obligations with sending.