Researchers, Apple collaborate to fix iMessage security hole with today's release of iOS 9.3

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in iPhone
A bug has been discovered in Apple's iMessage encryption by security researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who have collaborated with the company to help patch the issue in the upcoming iOS 9.3 software update, set to be released to the public today.




Johns Hopkins will withhold publishing the details of flaw until after iOS 9.3 is released to the public, according to The Washington Post. Researchers claim that the security hole could allow hackers to decrypt photos and videos sent via iMessage.

Apple issued a statement on the team's findings, saying the problem was partially fixed with iOS 9. Today's release of iOS 9.3, expected after the company's "iPhone SE" media event, will apparently fully resolve the issue.

"Apple works hard to make our software more secure with every release," the statement reads. "We appreciate the team of researchers that identified this bug and brought it to our attention so we could patch the vulnerability."

The head of the research team, Matthew D. Green, said the flaw likely wouldn't have helped the FBI in its investigation of the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5c. But the team also stands by Apple in its encryption battle with the U.S. government, saying the flaw only serves to highlight the fact that there are other ways the government could break into mobile devices without forcing Apple to make a backdoor.

"Even Apple, with all their skills -- and they have terrific cryptographers -- wasn't able to quite get this right," Green said. "So it scares me that we're having this conversation about adding back doors to encryption when we can't even get basic encryption right."

Security researchers have repeatedly praised Apple's iMessage protocol for being highly secure, sometimes to the ">chagrin of law enforcement. But the research by Johns Hopkins shows that even the most robust encryption can have serious flaws.

iMessages are encrypted messages that can be sent between Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and even Macs running the OS X platform. The service launched with iOS 5 back in 2011.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    Is the use of an iPhone 5S mockup meant to loop us in? ;) 
  • Reply 2 of 16
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,026member
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even every email app on every platform does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 3 of 16
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,449member
    Looking forward to this.
    edited March 2016 Soli
  • Reply 4 of 16
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,026member
    lkrupp said:
    wood1208 said:
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even email does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    Switch to Android then if iOS is so rudimentary and behind the times.
    Wov ! Is this your recommendation as apple fan ? Shame on you. My family might have more Apple gadgets than you and not recently but since the day of early Macs. And forgot to add. I guarantee, I have more Apple stocks than you do.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 5 of 16
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 785member
    wood1208 said:
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even every email app on every platform does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    A month ago my maid was just confused by her Android phone on this issue. She didn't understand what "draft" was.

    I say I prefer the way iMessage handle it. Send or not send. No draft. That's simpler.
    potatoleeksoupbrakkenmobiusjbdragonjony0
  • Reply 6 of 16
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    wood1208 said:
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even every email app on every platform does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    sounds unnecessary. iOS already keeps the "draft" of your text reply in an iMessage conversation thread until you hit send. with a new, blank message only one can be saved. which is fine. allow multiple new message drafts would open the door to confusion and required message management -- better suited to an email client than a simple texting platform. 
    razorpitmobiuscreek0512icoco3ration al
  • Reply 7 of 16
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member

    wood1208 said:
    lkrupp said:
    Switch to Android then if iOS is so rudimentary and behind the times.
    Wov ! Is this your recommendation as apple fan ? Shame on you. My family might have more Apple gadgets than you and not recently but since the day of early Macs. And forgot to add. I guarantee, I have more Apple stocks than you do.

    what possible relevance does the number of devices owned by your family have? or how many stocks you supposedly have? absolutely no relevance.

    this is not a missing feature of iOS. it's an unnecessary complication of android. 
    mike1razorpitmobiusxmhillxcreek0512jony0
  • Reply 8 of 16
    tenlytenly Posts: 709member
    wood1208 said:
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even every email app on every platform does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    I can't imagine a common use case that this feature would enable.  Already it saves multiple drafts - 1 per user.  Type it up now - and it will stay in the send buffer until you hit the send button.  If I want to create one for a user and then NOT send it immediately - but send that user other messages - I could temporarily copy the draft to the clipboard or to a note - and then paste it back in when I'm ready - but so far in 7 years, I've never had that need, nor have I heard anybody complain that they can't save a draft in iMessage.  For the number of people that might be able to use this feature - Notes is the best option.  Adding draft managent to the messages app would complicate and confuse more people than it would help.  I'm sure there's a messaging app in the App Store that would meet your needs.
    razorpitnolamacguyjony0
  • Reply 9 of 16
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,026member

    wood1208 said:
    Wov ! Is this your recommendation as apple fan ? Shame on you. My family might have more Apple gadgets than you and not recently but since the day of early Macs. And forgot to add. I guarantee, I have more Apple stocks than you do.

    what possible relevance does the number of devices owned by your family have? or how many stocks you supposedly have? absolutely no relevance.

    this is not a missing feature of iOS. it's an unnecessary complication of android. 
    It has all relevance because that proves where I belonged; Apple vs OTHERS. There is no issue or confusion allowing to save draft with number 1 or 2 or Draft 3 or whatever before satisfied with the text and replace with real contact later and press send. I see some but not much overhead having few drafts hanging before either deciding to delete or replace with the contact/s and send. Do you know having "Send" button right their on right side of message box and sometime instead of selecting "P" letter, mistakenly get "Send" selected and text go on it's way premature ? I am not saying iphone users will do suicide for not having such imessage feature but certainly good to have. Peace!!
  • Reply 10 of 16
    wood1208 said:
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even every email app on every platform does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    Could it be that Android has a patent pending on the 'Draft Message' design, thus preventing Apple from implementing it until they've figured out a simple, workable and patent resistant workaround?
  • Reply 11 of 16

    tenly said:
    wood1208 said:
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even every email app on every platform does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    I can't imagine a common use case that this feature would enable.  Already it saves multiple drafts - 1 per user.  Type it up now - and it will stay in the send buffer until you hit the send button.  If I want to create one for a user and then NOT send it immediately - but send that user other messages - I could temporarily copy the draft to the clipboard or to a note - and then paste it back in when I'm ready - but so far in 7 years, I've never had that need, nor have I heard anybody complain that they can't save a draft in iMessage.  For the number of people that might be able to use this feature - Notes is the best option.  Adding draft managent to the messages app would complicate and confuse more people than it would help.  I'm sure there's a messaging app in the App Store that would meet your needs.
    Plus I can imagine the security overhead for keeping a draft of an iMessage in memory.
    razorpit
  • Reply 12 of 16
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,718member
    wood1208 said:
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even every email app on every platform does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    Not a bug. I rarely if ever need to save drafts in iMessage. As tenly pointed out, it does save whatever you typed in last that you haven't sent yet. Besides, iMessage is not for long drawn out paragraphs  
    razorpitration al
  • Reply 13 of 16
    Maybe they should fix the problem with identification of messaging (SMS). i Message is propriateary Apple. People do prefer SMS (telecommunication standard across the world) over some propietary solution. Not everybody is on iMessage and not everybody wants to be on iMessage or iCloud. delivering iMessages should be to devices and not to random devices of a user in iCloud (gifted devices to family should not receive messages - mine should and it is identified by phone number not by Apple cloud ID). This problem has been for years now and people are really upset (especially those who left Apple device) See the difference? Next is fixing security fresh bug...
  • Reply 14 of 16
    maltzmaltz Posts: 149member
    Maybe they should fix the problem with identification of messaging (SMS). i Message is propriateary Apple. People do prefer SMS (telecommunication standard across the world) over some propietary solution. Not everybody is on iMessage and not everybody wants to be on iMessage or iCloud. delivering iMessages should be to devices and not to random devices of a user in iCloud (gifted devices to family should not receive messages - mine should and it is identified by phone number not by Apple cloud ID). This problem has been for years now and people are really upset (especially those who left Apple device) See the difference? Next is fixing security fresh bug...
    You know you can turn off iMessage and just use SMS, right?  Settings App -> Messages, right at the top, turn iMessage off.  You can also turn off Text Message Forwarding there, if you just don't want to receive SMS messages on your other iCloud devices.

    FWIW, though, I don't personally know a single iPhone user who prefers SMS over iMessage.  Delivery confirmation, optional read notification, the ability to read/send messages on devices other than your phone (iPads, Macs), conversations synced among devices, reliable end-to-end encryption, etc.  And the phone does automatically use SMS when sending to non-Apple devices.  But to each his own...
    nolamacguyjony0
  • Reply 15 of 16
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 264member
    Maybe they should fix the problem with identification of messaging (SMS). i Message is propriateary Apple. People do prefer SMS (telecommunication standard across the world) over some propietary solution. Not everybody is on iMessage and not everybody wants to be on iMessage or iCloud. delivering iMessages should be to devices and not to random devices of a user in iCloud (gifted devices to family should not receive messages - mine should and it is identified by phone number not by Apple cloud ID). This problem has been for years now and people are really upset (especially those who left Apple device) See the difference? Next is fixing security fresh bug...
    Go to settings and turn off iMessage. Problem solved. 
    waverboynolamacguy
  • Reply 16 of 16
    jony0jony0 Posts: 270member
    wood1208 said:
    While fixing this bug, Apple can also add able to create/save multiple draft text/message before send option in iMessage App. Missing since it’s inception against android stock message app. iPhone users say create multiple draft using Notes App and cut/paste into imessage when ready to send your text. I say why ? why not build into imessage/text app like android stock text app. Even every email app on every platform does it when you leave draft, it automatically saves.
    Interesting feature, I never would have thought of that, amazing sometimes what we don't know what we're missing. This must be a really popular feature for a whole group of people who can never get anything right the first time, so I can only imagine how popular it must be, as well as a highly praised feature for most Android users.
    As mentioned previously, if you need to think it over or work on it intermittently, an email would be preferable, along with draft capability, for longer memos or text. Hmmm, maybe that's why they're simply called Messages on iOS rather than Text Messages. In any case, there are always different use cases, and I agree that more functionality is usually a good thing, but not necessarily at the expense of simplicity and expediency.
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