Despite all of Apple’s ramblings last year about iMessage being the only “hack-proof” method of digital communication that was widely available to the public, it turns out their service is just as susceptible to the same issues that others have been having with applications like Microsoft’s Skype, and Google’s Gchat and G+ messenger.
The Cupertino-based tech giant came under fire recently as they were forced to defend themselves against allegations that they had been complicit in releasing SSL keys and had openly cooperated with federal authorities in the private sharing of their users data. On the subject of iMessages in particular, they were quoted as saying that users were “protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them.”
Unfortunately it looks like the onslaught of bad press they suffered the first time around was only a warm up, as the gadget manufacturer prepares to put themselves back foot once again in the wake of this year’s annual Hack in the Box Quarkslab conference. There, the internet research firm throwing the event showcased their ability to not only intercept all iMessage content in plaintext, but also change the message itself while in between the sender and receiver.
However, in a comment to AllThingsD, Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller said: “iMessage is not architected to allow Apple to read messages. 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.”
This rings in key with what we heard at the conference, as the researchers emphasized the unlikelihood that just anyone could start browsing all your deepest secrets right off the street. The crack they were using requires the attackers to gain physical access to your device in order to properly spoof new servers, along with a deep, advanced knowledge of iOS devices that most people out there simply don’t have.
The limited circumstances of the bug make it difficult to take seriously on a wide scale, but just in case you’re concerned about it Quarkslab has responded to the threat by offering a custom patched firmware update to the texting app, although it’s only available to iOS 6 and 7 users who have jailbroken their devices first.
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