Apple devices are already considered one of the most secure devices. To further strengthen the safety and security of users at high risk of state-sponsored cyber attacks, the tech giant has announced three new advanced security features for iMessage, Apple ID, and iCloud coming in 2023.
Apple’s new security features provide additional protection to journalists, diplomats, and others
The new iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys for Apple ID, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud are designed as an additional layer of protection for users like journalists, human right activist, and diplomats to save them from sophisticated and complex threats. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering said:
“At Apple, we are unwavering in our commitment to provide our users with the best data security in the world. We constantly identify and mitigate emerging threats to their personal data on device and in the cloud.
Our security teams work tirelessly to keep users’ data safe, and with iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, users will have three powerful new tools to further protect their most sensitive data and communications.”
Here is everything you need to know about the new opt-in security features:
- iMessage Contact Key Verification will allow users to verify the person who they are communicating with. When enabled, the feature will automatically send alerts to the user if a successful breach of cloud servers is detected to eavesdrop on encrypted communication. iMessage Contact Key Verification users can also compare a Contact Verification Code with the recipients for even high security.
Now with iMessage Contact Key Verification, users who face extraordinary digital threats — such as journalists, human rights activists, and members of government — can choose to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend.
- Security Keys for Apple ID will add support for third-party hardware or physical security keys. The feature strengthens Apple’s two-factor authentication to prevent advanced attacks which obtain users’ second factor via phishing scams.
This feature is designed for users who, often due to their public profile, face concerted threats to their online accounts, such as celebrities, journalists, and members of government.
- Advanced Data Protection for iCloud will expand end-to-end encryption to new data categories: iCloud Backup, Photos, Notes, and more. With the new feature, a total of 23 data categories will be protected by end-to-end encryption, only excluding Mail, contacts, and calendar.
Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture said:
“Advanced Data Protection is Apple’s highest level of cloud data security, giving users the choice to protect the vast majority of their most sensitive iCloud data with end-to-end encryption so that it can only be decrypted on their trusted devices.” For users who opt in, Advanced Data Protection keeps most iCloud data protected even in the case of a data breach in the cloud.
Support for end-to-end protection for iCloud Photos has come at a time when Apple confirmed that it has shelved the CSAM Detection for iCloud Photos. The safety feature was designed for children’s online safety but its mechanism was a great concern for security and privacy experts as it had the potential to turn iPhones into surveillance tools by authoritarian regimes.
Apple Senior Vice President of Software, Craig Federighi said that the new Advanced Data Protection for iCloud allows the company to protect users from attackers by placing the key to decrypt their personal and sensitive data in their hands, only.