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Apple iMessage will soon protect users for quantum attacks: Here's how

With the release of iOS 17.4, iMessage will be upgraded with a new encryption protocol called PQ3. PQ3 is designed to withstand highly sophisticated attacks, including those from future quantum computers.

Om Gupta Written By: Om Gupta New Delhi Updated on: February 22, 2024 22:27 IST
Image Source : IMESSAGE iMessage

Apple is a company which is known for the privacy and security of its users. Now the company is all set to further enhance the security of its popular messaging app, iMessage, from the future threats. With the roll out of the iOS 17.4 update, iMessage will get a new encryption protocol called PQ3. This protocol is designed to withstand highly sophisticated attacks including those from the future quantum computers. 

“Today we are announcing the most significant cryptographic security upgrade in iMessage history with the introduction of PQ3, a groundbreaking post-quantum cryptographic protocol that advances the state of the art of end-to-end secure messaging,” Apple said in a blog post.

Quantum computers currently do not pose a widespread threat, but they have the potential to break the current encryption standards which can put sensitive data at risk. In anticipation of this future threat, Apple is planning to implement PQ3, which the company claims achieves "Level 3 security," making it more secure than other widely used messaging apps. For instance, WhatsApp has Level 1 security, while Signal has Level 2.

“With compromise-resilient encryption and extensive defences against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks, PQ3 is the first messaging protocol to reach what we call Level 3 security — providing protocol protections that surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps. To our knowledge, PQ3 has the strongest security properties of any at-scale messaging protocol in the world,” Apple adds. 

The company said that the PQ3 is a new encryption protocol built from the ground up and it puts iMessage ahead of Signal, which recently enhanced its own security measures.  

According to Apple, they foresee a situation where attackers may store encrypted data today and wait for quantum computers to decrypt it in the future. To counter this, PQ3 offers "post-quantum" security, which means that it is designed to remain unbreakable even against these futuristic threats.

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