Apple Touts ‘Breakthrough’ iMessage Encryption to Thwart Quantum Hacking

H Hannan

Apple Touts 'Breakthrough' iMessage Encryption to Thwart Quantum Hacking
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Apple announced Tuesday what it calls a “groundbreaking” new encryption protocol for its iMessage and FaceTime platforms that the company says establishes a new high watermark for securing online communications.

The proprietary technology, called PQ3, introduces new cryptographic techniques that Apple claims provide enhanced protection for texts, photos, videos and calls sent through iMessage. Specifically, PQ3 aims to guard against speculative attacks leveraging future quantum computers to penetrate current encryption standards.

Quantum computers powerful enough to crack modern encryption are likely at least a decade away. However, Apple is getting out ahead of the risk by integrating defences now, before quantum hacking becomes a practical threat.

Quantum-Secure cryptography in messaging apps

“PQ3 is the first messaging protocol to reach what we call Level 3 security – providing protocol protections that surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps,” Apple’s security engineering team wrote in a blog post.

The company says PQ3 encryption will roll out to users automatically as part of iOS and macOS updates slated for later this year. Apple touts the technology as the culmination of a decade of advancement in strengthening iMessage safeguards.

Independent experts in cryptographic research broadly validate Apple’s security assertions while noting the secrecy around the technical specifications prevents transparent validation. As such, users must rely extensively on trust in Apple’s capabilities and track record in data protection.

The emphasis on improved encryption comes amid heightened concern over digital privacy and state-sponsored cyber espionage worldwide. Apple pitches strong security as a prime feature distinguishing its devices and services as it continues to compete fiercely against Android and Windows ecosystems.

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