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Apple is giving iMessage a groundbreaking security update with ‘state of the art’ protocol

Apple is giving iMessage a groundbreaking security update with ‘state of the art’ protocol

Apple is putting security front and center with this major iMessage update.

Apple is taking its message encryption to the next level with a new iOS update, meaning iMessage could apparently rival government-level security.

It's just released a detailed blog post about what it's calling PQ3, a new high-water mark in end-to-end message encryption.

To break it down simply, there are currently roughly four levels of encrypted messaging widely available on the market, according to a scale Apple is using (so it's not exactly industry-wide). The first is 'Level 0' and involves no encryption at all.

Future Publishing / Contributor / Getty

Next, you have 'Level 1', which is end-to-end encrypted, but doesn't contain any protection against the power that quantum computing could theoretically level against that encryption once it starts to become more widespread.

That level encompasses many of the messaging apps that you're likely to have heard of or used, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

A few months ago Signal became the first mainstream app to achieve a so-called 'Level 2' mark, by adding support for a protocol called PQXDH, and beefing up its quantum protection massively.

Now, Apple claims that it's the first to hit 'Level 3', with PQ3 taking the cherry by changing how encryption keys work.

In less secure systems, if someone managed to obtain your encryption key, they'd be able to access a whole heap of your data. However, PQ3 seemingly brings in a system that will see your key change all the time.

This means that if a bad actor did manage to hack and obtain a key, they'd only get a small selection of your messages, the ones you sent or received while that key was active - instead of everything.

NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty

That sounds pretty smart, and for those who are interested, a way, way more detailed explanation the blog post goes right into the weeds on how this works.

Apple says that support for PQ3 will be rolling out in its latest operating system updates for iPhones, iPads and Macs.

We don't yet know whether the iPhone 15 Pro, for example, will actually start using PQ3, rather than just having the option in the backend ready for the some time down the line.

Regardless, the announcement and the transparency around its tech is a heartening one for anyone concerned about privacy, and suggests that Apple is continuing to put its money where its mouth is where our data is in question.

Featured Image Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor / Matt Cardy / Contributor / Getty