Apple seems to have joined Signal in future-proofing encryption

Now my messages are ready for the quantum leap

MajorLinux - Editor-in-chief

It seems like Apple may have been. a little busy lately and used the Sports app to cool down.

On Tuesday, Apple announced that they have implemented a newer type of method to encrypt iMessages. Called PQ3, it is a post-quantum cryptographic protocol that not only will protect users now, but should protect users when quantum computers becoming a widely used thing.

While Apple has beaten its chest in saying that they have the user’s security in mind, iMessages really wasn’t the most secure. That crown would belong to apps like Signal and, believe it or not, Whatsapp. However, Signal may not have had that crown for very long.

Just five months ago, Signal updated its open standard to protect against post-quantum computing. Both Signal and Apple have achieved this by using a new algorithm called Kyber which can’t be broken with quantum computers. Signal and Apple both took Kyber and augmented their existing algorithms. Now malicious actors have to crack both the existing algorithm and Kyber.

For those not familiar, quantum computers are computers that can do very complex calculations a lot faster than we’ve seen before. It would make cracking current cryptography algorithms mere child’s play. The wonderful thing is that, right now, nobody has access to a quantum machine to do any of this. We don’t even know when it will be a thing. And don’t worry, it won’t be tomorrow.

What we do know is that malicious actors are banking on the fact that they will someday be available. So, what they’ve been doing is stealing encrypted data. Right now, they can’t do anything with it because current technology isn’t fast enough to break the encryption. So, they sit on it. Then, when the time’s right, they’ll just use a quantum computer to break the lock and spill the secrets.

Now, I’m not entirely sure that most conversations people are having on iMessages would be that serious, but having that level of protection over the messages their and on Signal do make me feel a little bit better.

Safe bet, however, is to still not have those conversations on your phone anyway.

Sources: MacRumors, Ars Technica

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By MajorLinux Editor-in-chief
Marcus Summers is a Linux system administrator by trade. He has been working with Linux for nearly 15 years and has become a fan of open source ideals. He self identifies as a socialist and believes that the world's information should be free for all.
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