While the claim that your iMessages are safe from the NSA has recently been cast into doubt by researchers who claimed that Apple could, if the NSA asked, enable access to the messages. Apple has issued a statement refuting that claim.
The immunity of iMessages from government surveillance has been cast into doubt by security researchers presenting at the Hack in the Box conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Although a leaked DEA document had pointed to the impossibility of intercepting iMessages, even under a court order, the researchers found that Apple needed to hold the encryption keys on its servers, and that by simply changing the keys, it could allow access to the messages content, saying: “They can change a key anytime they want, thus read the content of our iMessages.”
The researchers did stress that they have no reason to believe that Apple has ever done this, merely that it has the capabilities to do so if the NSA or another government agency ordered it to do it. The only messages accessible would be those sent after Apple changed the keys.
Apple has since issued a statement to AllThingsD:
“iMessage is not architected to allow Apple to read messages,” said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said in a statement to AllThingsD. “The research discussed theoretical vulnerabilities that would require Apple to re-engineer the iMessage system to exploit it, and Apple has no plans or intentions to do so.”
So now Apple is saying that while it could read your iMessages if it really wanted to, it would take some work on its part, and they don’t really feel like it… At this point in time. Of course, if the NSA forced them to, well…