Apple, a company whose CEO likes to call privacy a human right, has added several new privacy features to its devices. Adding end encryption. This means that almost everything you upload to Apple’s cloud, from backups to photos, is accessible only to you. That’s good for your privacy, and the FBI isn’t thrilled about it.
The update is part of Apple’s long-standing effort to be known as a big tech company that cares about customer privacy and does more than its competitors.And this need for privacy. They came at a time when it was more evident. Apple products should no longer be assumed to be safe from hackers, and phishing scams — tricked into giving account credentials to hackers — are becoming increasingly aggressive and persuasive. At the same time, most people store their personal and valuable information on cloud servers such as iCloud, which makes them attractive targets. The more options you have to lock down your data, the better.
The company announced the update on Wednesday, but the upgraded encryption won’t be available to users in the United States until the end of this year, or early next year for others. You must choose to
Even if you don’t know much about Internet security, you’ve probably heard at least something about encryption at this point, as the need for encryption has become generally recognized and more and more services offer it. prize. With end-to-end encryption, the data you send to iCloud can’t be read by anyone else as it travels to or from the cloud, nor can he see Apple when it’s stored on its servers. . This keeps your data safe from hackers (like the notorious people who broke into hundreds of his iCloud accounts, including Jennifer Lawrence’s in 2014) and law enforcement.
As such, law enforcement generally dislikes encryption as it doesn’t provide an easy way to retrieve data from the third party hosting the data. This is what law enforcement agencies often do. Governments around the world have repeatedly asked tech companies not to do what Apple did. Years ago, Reuters reported that after the FBI urged users not to encrypt their iCloud backups, Apple decided not to allow users to encrypt their iCloud backups (Apple denied this). doing). .
There has been much friction between Apple and the Justice Department over the years over Apple’s refusal to create backdoors in its devices for law enforcement. In 2016 and his 2020, DOJ tried to get Apple to help break into the phones of mass shooters suspected of having terrorist ties. In each case, Apple refused, and the FBI was able to (ultimately at great expense) hack into the phone without Apple’s help. In the 2020 incident, Apple provided the FBI with all the data it had from the shooter’s iCloud account, even though the FBI complained about not having access to the physical device. Now with Advanced Data Protection enabled, Apple won’t even be able to give most of its iCloud data to the FBI.
Needless to say, this agency is not a fan of advanced data protection. say in a statement It is “deeply concerned” about the “threat” posed by encryption, saying that “the FBI and law enforcement partners need ‘lawful access by design.'”
Apple already offers end-to-end encryption for several things within iCloud, including health data, Apple Card transactions, keychain passwords, and Safari. The update adds device and iMessage backups, iCloud Drive, Photos, and Notes to the list. Only mail, contacts, calendars, and certain types of metadata lack end-to-end encryption options, which Apple says is due to technical limitations.
Even if you don’t want to enable advanced data protection, it doesn’t mean your data is left on the internet for anyone to see. Apple already encrypts all this stuff in transit and on their servers, and they have the keys to some of it. This means that law enforcement also has access to it, as long as there is a proper court order compelling Apple to destroy it. Activating Advanced Data Protection takes away those keys. This has its drawbacks. If you lose your data for any reason, it can be difficult to regain access to it because Apple cannot access it.
Advanced data protection ensures data retrieval is never impossible. If someone has access to your device or account recovery key, they can see its contents. If you have enabled data access for your web browser, it grants your browser and her Apple temporary access to your encryption keys. If you’re very protective of your phone data, you can avoid uploading it to iCloud and store it all on your device. Again, it won’t help if someone gets their hands on the device itself.
Unlike some of Apple’s privacy services, which required users to pay extra, these will be available free of charge to all Apple customers (due to the fact that Apple devices are generally more expensive than their competitors). without considering ). This is obviously good for Apple users who care about cybersecurity and privacy, but it may also be good for those who don’t know much about it or how best to protect their accounts. It might also be good for people who don’t use Apple products. Because it puts more pressure on companies like Google to step up their security game and offer these services to their customers as well.
If you’re not an Apple user, or just don’t want all your data eggs in Apple’s basket, there are plenty of services that offer end-to-end encryption. As an alternative to Apple’s Keychain for passwords, you can use one of several password managers. Messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram’s Secret Chat feature end-to-end encryption of messages. Proton emails are end-to-end encrypted, just like our cloud storage service.
So Apple isn’t the only company expanding its crypto services, but it’s arguably the biggest. For many people, this might be the easiest because they don’t have to switch between different services to do different things. Add another layer of security to your life with a simple tap of the screen.