New Apple Security Features: Advanced Data Protection, Key Verification and More

Apple iCloud Backups

Apple has recently announced new security features designed to protect the privacy of its users and their data. With these enhancements, Apple aims to shield the majority of iCloud data from cyberattacks and government scrutiny.

Expanded Advanced Data Protection

Apple has expanded the Advanced Data Protection feature, which is Apple’s highest level of cloud data security. The feature encrypts end-to-end and protects 23 sensitive categories of data, including iCloud backup, photos, and notes. Users can activate this option by selecting the Advanced Data Protection button, which is currently only available to users registered to the Apple Beta Software Program in the US. Apple plans to introduce it to all US users by the end of 2023 and in other countries at the beginning of next year.

iMessage Contact Key Verification

Apple has also updated its iMessage with a contact security feature that allows key verification. While iMessage already secures communication with end-to-end encryption, the new feature allows users to verify their contact before launching the chat. If advanced spyware breaks into cloud servers and listens in on encrypted messages, both sides will be alerted. This feature will benefit human rights and journalists who are often targeted by government spyware. Apple plans to release it worldwide in 2023.

Powerful New Tools for Users

Craig Federighi, senior vice head for Software Engineering at Apple, said, “Our security teams are working hard to ensure that users’ data is secure, and with iMessage contact key verification, Security Keys, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, users will be able to use three powerful new tools to safeguard their most sensitive data and communications.”

Google’s Encryption

Although Apple is not the only cloud storage service that allows users to secure their data, Google also claims to encrypt files stored in Drive or Docs with AES256-bit encryption during transit and storage. The need to protect cloud storage data with end-to-end encryption comes from the increasing cyberattacks targeting cloud platforms. According to a report from Surfshark, 108.9 million accounts were compromised globally in the September quarter. This was a 75% increase from the June quarter, exposing 14 accounts every second.

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