Can you trust Apple’s iMessage encryption with your life?

  • SpinRite v6.1 Release #3
    The 3rd release of SpinRite v6.1 is published and may be obtained by all SpinRite v6.0 owners at the SpinRite v6.1 Pre-Release page. (SpinRite will shortly be officially updated to v6.1 so this page will be renamed.) The primary new feature, and the reason for this release, was the discovery of memory problems in some systems that were affecting SpinRite's operation. So SpinRite now incorporates a built-in test of the system's memory. For the full story, please see this page in the "Pre-Release Announcements & Feedback" forum.
  • Be sure to checkout “Tips & Tricks”
    Dear Guest Visitor → Once you register and log-in please checkout the “Tips & Tricks” page for some very handy tips!

  • BootAble – FreeDOS boot testing freeware

    To obtain direct, low-level access to a system's mass storage drives, SpinRite runs under a GRC-customized version of FreeDOS which has been modified to add compatibility with all file systems. In order to run SpinRite it must first be possible to boot FreeDOS.

    GRC's “BootAble” freeware allows anyone to easily create BIOS-bootable media in order to workout and confirm the details of getting a machine to boot FreeDOS through a BIOS. Once the means of doing that has been determined, the media created by SpinRite can be booted and run in the same way.

    The participants here, who have taken the time to share their knowledge and experience, their successes and some frustrations with booting their computers into FreeDOS, have created a valuable knowledgebase which will benefit everyone who follows.

    You may click on the image to the right to obtain your own copy of BootAble. Then use the knowledge and experience documented here to boot your computer(s) into FreeDOS. And please do not hesitate to ask questions – nowhere else can better answers be found.

    (You may permanently close this reminder with the 'X' in the upper right.)

Recently, I was reading Apple Platform Security white paper regarding iMessage security. To cut the long story short, I don't like what I see. I've written an article about Apple's white-paper explanation of iMessage's encryption:

For those who are cryptography/math whiz, do you agree with me? Apple's white paper leaves me more questions than answers.
I frankly don't care. I will explain some reasons....
  • anything I submit onto any digital platform to share with someone else will potentially be copied somehow. Copy-paste, screenshot, photograph
  • if I want to protect something, I will ensure a secret protects it and the counterparty will be trustworthy enough to keep the secret and the something
  • my assumption is that all of these platforms have a capability to have an additional party in the conversation without my knowing - iMessage, WhatsApp, etc. Maybe I feel better when it's open source but, in the end, I am relying on someone else with whom I have no formal service contract to keep secrets
this is something I have mentioned in risk discussions for my job; we consider leveraging WhatsApp for Business to communicate with clients but from my point of view, with the insight available and the massively high levels of trust with Zuck and Facebook, I stated that we could never be sure that there is not an unseen 3rd party in all conversations and we should build a use case around that assumption. The outcome of this is that it is a viable channel but we only put so much trust in it - and we roll and host our own secure chat on-prem for privileged conversations and ensure our clients are moved over to that channel when necessary.
I've long wondered too how Telegram could be banned in a country whilst WhatsApp was not. I suppose best is to use e-mail that you encrypt with your own PGP key, but the challenge is very few (any?) of your broader recipients actually use their e-mail that way. But there is likely a level of communication between providers/telcos and governments that we don't see. Sometimes the license conditions can reveal what has to be complied with by the applicant to operate within a country.
If you're not managing your passwords/keys then someone else is. By all accounts Apple iMessage is simple and easy to use because Apple manages your security so you don't have to. This can only mean that Apple has the keys to your kingdom.