In order to stand out from other brands that manufacture Android smartphones, Apple has made security and privacy its priority. After ending non-consented ad tracking on iOS, Apple recently announced that iCloud is secure.
Indeed, unlike messages exchanged on iMessage or FaceTime calls, some iCloud backups are not end-to-end encrypted. This means that when this data is stored in Apple’s cloud, it is readable.
But soon iCloud security will be improved. In a recent post, Apple announced a new iCloud feature called “Advanced Data Protection”.
Apple beefs up iCloud security
According to the firm’s explanations, iCloud already protects 14 categories of sensitive data with end-to-end encryption. This includes passwords on iCloud Keychain, as well as health data.
And when Advanced Data Protection becomes available, enabling it will protect a total of 23 types of sensitive data with end-to-end encryption. This will include backups, notes, as well as images.
According to Apple, certain categories of data, such as iCloud Mail, Contacts, or Calendar, are not supported because this data must interfere with other systems. When the data is end-to-end encrypted, it is unreadable, even by Apple, on the servers.
A decision hailed by the EFF, criticized by the FBI
The new measures announced by Apple to secure user data have been welcomed by the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), an organization that campaigns for the protection of the privacy of Internet users.
“Users who opt in to Apple’s new feature, which the company calls Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, will be protected even in the event of a cloud data breach, government request or internal breach. from Apple (like a dishonest employee)”explains the EFF.
On the other hand, on the side of the FBI, we are concerned. This concern is raised by the US government agency in a statement shared by The Washington Post (via 9to5Mac).
“It hampers our ability to protect the American people from criminal acts ranging from cyberattacks and child abuse to drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorism”says the FBI. “In this age of cybersecurity and ‘security by design’ requirements, the FBI and law enforcement partners need ‘lawful access by design’.
Apple can’t share info if it’s encrypted
Indeed, Apple cooperates with governments, including that of the United States, by providing information requested by these governments on users. “Our legal team reviews requests to ensure they have a valid legal basis. If so, we comply by providing data in response to the request”can we read on an information page of the firm.
But when information is end-to-end encrypted, Apple is not able to provide it to governments. Indeed, even when the legal basis of the request is solid, the information is simply unreadable, because it is encrypted on Apple’s servers.
Note that advanced data protection on iCloud is already available in beta in the United States. It will roll out to all US users before the end of the year. Then, it will be available in the rest of the world in early 2023.