Apple confirms it blocked Beeper Mini citing security risks

Posted:
in iOS

Apple has officially responded to the Beeper Mini controversy, confirming it cut off the Android app's access to iMessage citing "significant risks to user security and privacy."




The shutdown of Beeper Mini's access to the iMessage network on Friday was sudden, and it was believed to have been instigated by Apple. Late on Saturday, Apple confirmed it to be the case.

In a statement provided to The Verge, Apple explains "We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage."

The iPhone maker added that the techniques used posed "significant risks to user security and privacy," with those risks including metadata exposure, unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks.

While Beeper says it is working to fix its app, Apple's statement indicates it will "continue to make updates in the future to protect our users," making it difficult for the app to exist on the platform.

In its response, Beeper posted to X that it stands behind the app, and insists Beeper Mini keeps messages private and boosts security when compared to unencrypted SMS.

"For anyone who claims otherwise, we'd be happy to give our entire source code to mutually agreed upon third party to evaluate the security of our app," it adds.

On Friday, Beeper founder Eric Migicovsky questioned Apple's decision, asking "If Apple truly cares about the privacy and security of their own iPhone users, why would they stop a service that enables their own users to now send encrypted messages to Android users, rather than using unsecure SMS?"

Apple's full statement follows:

At Apple, we build our products and services with industry-leading privacy and security technologies designed to give users control of their data and keep personal information safe. We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage. These techniques posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks. We will continue to make updates in the future to protect our users.
Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    I am assuming that one of the concerns is the spammer could hide behind the “blue bubble”. (?)

    Currently, if another iMessage user sends me a spam text, I can report it to Apple, and they could identify the spammer and take action against their spamming.

    If any user could use iMessage system like Google’s Gmail, then we could be pestered with spam text appearing to be from legitimate users. All the spam emails I have been receiving originated from Gmail, and Google can’t seem to keep up with closing down spammers hiding behind their Gmail services; and also the telephone companies can’t seem to keep up with the telephone number spoofers.

    I think it is wise to shut this down until they could figure out a manageably safe way to open up their servers.
    edited December 2023 watto_cobradarbus69aderutter
  • Reply 2 of 10
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,235member
    My response to Beeper is that I control who I want to message. When I see a SPAM message in green, it's my choice whether I want to block this caller or read the message. When I see a blue message, I can be assured that this message is being secured with proper security then determine whether I want to block or respond to the sender. In other words, it's my choice not the sender's whether I want to accept the message. I don't want any government agency forcing me to accept messages or email, that's my choice not their's. I buy Apple products and choose what other products I want to install on my Apple products. I refuse to be forced to install or accept products I don't want on my devices. 
    byronlAndy.Hardwakedanoxwatto_cobraGabydarbus69paisleydisco
  • Reply 3 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,275member
    rob53 said:
    My response to Beeper is that I control who I want to message. When I see a SPAM message in green, it's my choice whether I want to block this caller or read the message. When I see a blue message, I can be assured that this message is being secured with proper security then determine whether I want to block or respond to the sender. In other words, it's my choice not the sender's whether I want to accept the message. I don't want any government agency forcing me to accept messages or email, that's my choice not their's. I buy Apple products and choose what other products I want to install on my Apple products. I refuse to be forced to install or accept products I don't want on my devices. 
    Either I’m confused or my settings are different. When I get incoming messages from SMS or iMessage protocol in the Messages app, and whether they are safe or suspicious, they are always in a gray bubble (at least in dark mode). The only time I see green bubbles in my Messages app is when I respond to an SMS text. Is there a way to configure Messages to show colored bubbles on incoming texts?

    Regardless of bubbles, I’m very happy to see that Apple blocked what was obviously a previously undiscovered privacy & security exploit disguised as an app. It won’t be the last.
    edited December 2023 watto_cobragatorguy
  • Reply 4 of 10
    XedXed Posts: 2,475member
    dewme said:
    rob53 said:
    My response to Beeper is that I control who I want to message. When I see a SPAM message in green, it's my choice whether I want to block this caller or read the message. When I see a blue message, I can be assured that this message is being secured with proper security then determine whether I want to block or respond to the sender. In other words, it's my choice not the sender's whether I want to accept the message. I don't want any government agency forcing me to accept messages or email, that's my choice not their's. I buy Apple products and choose what other products I want to install on my Apple products. I refuse to be forced to install or accept products I don't want on my devices. 
    Either I’m confused or my settings are different. When I get incoming messages from SMS or iMessage protocol in the Messages app, and whether they are safe or suspicious, they are always in a gray bubble (at least in dark mode). The only time I see green bubbles in my Messages app is when I respond to an SMS text. Is there a way to configure Messages to show colored bubbles on incoming texts?

    Regardless of bubbles, I’m very happy to see that Apple blocked what was obviously a previously undiscovered privacy & security exploit disguised as an app. It won’t be the last.
    Sure. You, the sender, show a green or blue bubble to yourself, and all the received messages have a grey background. When people talk of green and blue bubbles it simply refers to the message protocol/type being used for the conversation.
    danielchowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 10
    dewme said:
    rob53 said:
    My response to Beeper is that I control who I want to message. When I see a SPAM message in green, it's my choice whether I want to block this caller or read the message. When I see a blue message, I can be assured that this message is being secured with proper security then determine whether I want to block or respond to the sender. In other words, it's my choice not the sender's whether I want to accept the message. I don't want any government agency forcing me to accept messages or email, that's my choice not their's. I buy Apple products and choose what other products I want to install on my Apple products. I refuse to be forced to install or accept products I don't want on my devices. 
    Either I’m confused or my settings are different. When I get incoming messages from SMS or iMessage protocol in the Messages app, and whether they are safe or suspicious, they are always in a gray bubble (at least in dark mode). The only time I see green bubbles in my Messages app is when I respond to an SMS text. Is there a way to configure Messages to show colored bubbles on incoming texts?

    Regardless of bubbles, I’m very happy to see that Apple blocked what was obviously a previously undiscovered privacy & security exploit disguised as an app. It won’t be the last.
    All incoming bubbles are grey regardless if the other party is an iPhone or Android user. The blue or green bubble only appears when you send an outgoing message to that party. So any claims that the incoming bubble color allows you to filter spam is inaccurate since you won’t know if the sender is an Apple or Android user by color until after you already responded.
    ctt_zhgatorguy
  • Reply 6 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,275member
    dewme said:
    rob53 said:
    My response to Beeper is that I control who I want to message. When I see a SPAM message in green, it's my choice whether I want to block this caller or read the message. When I see a blue message, I can be assured that this message is being secured with proper security then determine whether I want to block or respond to the sender. In other words, it's my choice not the sender's whether I want to accept the message. I don't want any government agency forcing me to accept messages or email, that's my choice not their's. I buy Apple products and choose what other products I want to install on my Apple products. I refuse to be forced to install or accept products I don't want on my devices. 
    Either I’m confused or my settings are different. When I get incoming messages from SMS or iMessage protocol in the Messages app, and whether they are safe or suspicious, they are always in a gray bubble (at least in dark mode). The only time I see green bubbles in my Messages app is when I respond to an SMS text. Is there a way to configure Messages to show colored bubbles on incoming texts?

    Regardless of bubbles, I’m very happy to see that Apple blocked what was obviously a previously undiscovered privacy & security exploit disguised as an app. It won’t be the last.
    All incoming bubbles are grey regardless if the other party is an iPhone or Android user. The blue or green bubble only appears when you send an outgoing message to that party. So any claims that the incoming bubble color allows you to filter spam is inaccurate since you won’t know if the sender is an Apple or Android user by color until after you already responded.
    Which is exactly what I thought, which is why I asked the question. I don’t know of any way for a user to screen incoming messages based on the sender’s protocol. But maybe someone knows something about this that I’ve never stumbled across. 

    Yeah I know bubble colors are a stand-in for saying which messaging system is being used for outgoing messages. 

    So it sounds like green bubble shaming is a discretionary behavior that some Apple users inflict upon people who text them with an Android phone. So it’s a douchy person problem, not a technical issue whatsoever. Being a people problem, it absolutely makes sense for Apple to resolve through technical means because Apple should be responsible for implementing a technical workaround to mask the bad manners of some of its users. Sure. 

    There is no shame in using or owning an Android phone. Have we sunk so low as a species to imply otherwise? Maybe Android phone users should look to Elon Musk to conjure up an appropriate response to those who engage in such behavior. He still has something to offer I suppose. 
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    XedXed Posts: 2,475member
    dewme said:
    dewme said:
    rob53 said:
    My response to Beeper is that I control who I want to message. When I see a uSPAM message in green, it's my choice whether I want to block this caller or read the message. When I see a blue message, I can be assured that this message is being secured with proper security then determine whether I want to block or respond to the sender. In other words, it's my choice not the sender's whether I want to accept the message. I don't want any government agency forcing me to accept messages or email, that's my choice not their's. I buy Apple products and choose what other products I want to install on my Apple products. I refuse to be forced to install or accept products I don't want on my devices. 
    Either I’m confused or my settings are different. When I get incoming messages from SMS or iMessage protocol in the Messages app, and whether they are safe or suspicious, they are always in a gray bubble (at least in dark mode). The only time I see green bubbles in my Messages app is when I respond to an SMS text. Is there a way to configure Messages to show colored bubbles on incoming texts?

    Regardless of bubbles, I’m very happy to see that Apple blocked what was obviously a previously undiscovered privacy & security exploit disguised as an app. It won’t be the last.
    All incoming bubbles are grey regardless if the other party is an iPhone or Android user. The blue or green bubble only appears when you send an outgoing message to that party. So any claims that the incoming bubble color allows you to filter spam is inaccurate since you won’t know if the sender is an Apple or Android user by color until after you already responded.
    Which is exactly what I thought, which is why I asked the question. I don’t know of any way for a user to screen incoming messages based on the sender’s protocol. But maybe someone knows something about this that I’ve never stumbled across. 

    Yeah I know bubble colors are a stand-in for saying which messaging system is being used for outgoing messages. 

    So it sounds like green bubble shaming is a discretionary behavior that some Apple users inflict upon people who text them with an Android phone. So it’s a douchy person problem, not a technical issue whatsoever. Being a people problem, it absolutely makes sense for Apple to resolve through technical means because Apple should be responsible for implementing a technical workaround to mask the bad manners of some of its users. Sure. 

    There is no shame in using or owning an Android phone. Have we sunk so low as a species to imply otherwise? Maybe Android phone users should look to Elon Musk to conjure up an appropriate response to those who engage in such behavior. He still has something to offer I suppose. 
    1) If the sender is using an email address it’s iMesssge. Phone numbers can be either.

    2) In the text box it says if it’s an iMessage or Text Message.

    3) The issue is more about SMS’s limitations than anything else, but Apple doesn’t help things by downconverting images and videos when they no longer need to be. There is an issue with SMS group chat consistency that affects all OSes. Hopefully RCS resolves all these issues.
    gatorguywatto_cobradewme
  • Reply 8 of 10
    I am assuming that one of the concerns is the spammer could hide behind the “blue bubble”. (?)

    Currently, if another iMessage user sends me a spam text, I can report it to Apple, and they could identify the spammer and take action against their spamming.

    If any user could use iMessage system like Google’s Gmail, then we could be pestered with spam text appearing to be from legitimate users. All the spam emails I have been receiving originated from Gmail, and Google can’t seem to keep up with closing down spammers hiding behind their Gmail services; and also the telephone companies can’t seem to keep up with the telephone number spoofers.

    I think it is wise to shut this down until they could figure out a manageably safe way to open up their servers.
    You can get spam from iMessage. Just check out how many people get the “wrong person” scam texts and when you reply they ask for forgiveness and then start chatting with you. There’s a whole subreddit of these scams and some are pretty funny when the one being scammed replies in Chinese. Sadly the people doing the scamming are held without their will by being conned into what they thought was an honest job and then they are stuck without their travel documents until they reach a certain amount of $$ scammed. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 10
    Thank you Apple. 
  • Reply 10 of 10
    dewme said:
    Apple blocked what was obviously a previously undiscovered privacy & security exploit disguised as an app.
    This right here.
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