Researchers Say iMessage’s Unbreakable Encryption is “Basically Lies”

Security researchers say users would have no way of knowing Apple or the government was reading their messages.

Researchers Say iMessage’s Unbreakable Encryption is “Basically Lies”
[Image: Flickr user William Hook]

Though Apple claims iMessage has end-to-end encryption, researchers at a security conference said the Cupertino, Calif. company still has the ability to intercept messages and hand them over to the government, Macworld reports.

The security researchers told attendees at the Hack in the Box conference in Kuala Lumpur that users would have no indication Apple or the government is reading their messages. Cyril Cattiaux, who has developed software to jailbreak iOS, said iMessage’s unbreakable encryption is “just basically lies,” elaborating that because Apple has an opaque system for managing public keys used in encryption, it’s possible that iMessages can be routed to another party undetected.

“They’ve [Apple] insisted to their customers that messages were encrypted ‘end to end’ and that they couldn’t read the messages,” Matthew Green, an assistant research professor in the Department of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, told Macworld. “This is all technically true, but at the same time they know perfectly well that this could change easily if they wanted to misbehave. They just chose to be misleading.”

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.