The company is moved to make a statement after a researcher presents a hack that could allow the company to read iMessages.
October 18, 2013 5:58 AM PDT
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)
Apple has said time and again in the wake of the NSA snooping scandal that it cannot read user iMessages. But new research has shown that it’s theoretically possible.
Security firm QuarksLab on Thursday issued a white paper describing a method by which a hacker or Apple itself could access iMessages.
The white paper states that Apple could intercept messages between sender and recipient and make them believe that their communication is secure. In order to do so, however, Apple would need to disrupt the encryption between communications and effectively change how iMessages works.
Back in June, Apple issued a statement on its site discussing its “commitment to customer privacy” in the wake of revelations about the National Security Agency.
The company said at the time that iMessages are kept entirely secure.
Apple can read your iMessages, security firm says
Apple promises iOS update to fix iMessage delivery issues
Unofficial Apple iMessage app removed from Google Play Store
Unofficial iMessage app for Android appears, likely unsafe
Apple iCloud services offline for a few million users
“Conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them,” Apple wrote in June. “Apple cannot decrypt that data.
Similarly, we do not store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.”
In a statement sent to All Things Digital in response to the new research, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said that Apple would have to jump through hoops to achieve access to iMessages and that it has no desire to do so.
“The research discussed theoretical vulnerabilities that would require Apple to re-engineer the iMessage system to exploit it, and Apple has no plans or intentions to do so,” Muller told All Things Digital.
CNET has contacted Apple for further comment and will update this story when we have more information.