Apple is giving iMessage a massive security update


Apple is rolling out a major update to its iMessage service with iOS 17.4. First reported by Zak Doffman at Forbes, the update is considered a “significant” leap in terms of security for messaging.

With the new update, Apple is introducing “Level 3” security, which uses advanced cryptography to secure messages at two levels: when the conversation starts and while the conversation is happening. Other messaging apps like Meta-owned WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger use “Level 1” security and Signal uses “Level 2,” according to Dokman.

This means that before the update, if someone got their hands on an encryption key, they could unlock all the messages sent with it. Now, keys will change frequently enough that even if a bad actor compromised your phone, they’d only get a few messages.

For the cybersecurity buffs out there, this is a massive upgrade by Apple aimed, the company says, at proactively fighting against the threats posed by quantum computing. These futuristic computers in theory can crack our current security methods with ease. That’s not an immediate threat, but according to Dokman, Apple’s timeline for a “sufficiently powerful quantum computer” to pose such a threat is 10-15 years.

While iOS 17.4 isn’t going to change the way we text, it represents a new standard for how secure messaging apps should be. The update is rolling out imminently and extends to iPads and Mac devices.

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