Apple introduces new security features for users: All the details – Times of India
iMessage Contact Key Verification
End-to-end encryption isn’t a new feature as such but Apple has introduced iMessage Contact Key Verification, under which users can choose can choose to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend. Apple says that is meant for users who face extraordinary digital threats — such as journalists, human rights activists, and members of government. The company further said that the vast majority of users will never be targeted by highly sophisticated cyberattacks, “but the feature provides an important additional layer of security for those who might be.”
Conversations between users who have enabled iMessage Contact Key Verification receive automatic alerts if an exceptionally advanced adversary, such as a state-sponsored attacker, were ever to succeed breaching cloud servers and inserting their own device to eavesdrop on these encrypted communications. iMessage Contact Key Verification users can compare a Contact Verification Code in person, on FaceTime, or through another secure call.
Advanced Data Protection for iCloud
According to Apple, Advanced Data Protection is the “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.”
iCloud already has 14 data categories — passwords in iCloud Keychain for instance — that use end-to-end encryption by default. For users who enable Advanced Data Protection, the total number of data categories protected using end-to-end encryption rises to 23, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos. The only major iCloud data categories that are not covered are iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar because of the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts, and calendar systems.
Security keys for Apple ID
Security Keys will give users the choice to make use of third-party hardware security keys to enhance this protection. Apple says that this feature is meant for celebrities, journalists, and members of the government. For users who opt in, Security Keys strengthens Apple’s two-factor authentication by requiring a hardware security key as one of the two factors. “This takes our two-factor authentication even further, preventing even an advanced attacker from obtaining a user’s second factor in a phishing scam,” said Apple in a statement.
When will the features be made available?
Apple said that iMessage Contact Key Verification will be available globally in 2023 whereas Security Keys for Apple ID will be available globally in early 2023. Advanced Data Protection for iCloud is available in the US today for members of the Apple Beta Software Program, and will be available to US users by the end of the year. The feature will start rolling out to the rest of the world in early 2023.
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