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Apple Promises Unbreakable Encryption for iPhone Messages, Even Against Quantum Computers

Apple has announced a significant upgrade to its messaging platform, iMessage, promising users that their conversations will soon be impervious to hacking attempts, even those perpetrated with quantum computers.
Although the era of quantum computing is still some years away, Apple claims that its messaging service will take a leap forward in the coming weeks, with the integration of the PQ3 protocol, effectively rendering it unhackable.

Since its launch in 2011, iMessage has undergone several enhancements to its encryption technology. However, the company asserts that this latest update is the "most significant" security improvement to date.

According to the tech giant, the new PQ3 protocol employs a level of cryptography that surpasses any similar solution on the market. Apple's security blog post highlights that PQ3 is characterized by "level 3 security," a benchmark previously unattained by other protocols.

In layman's terms, the update means that the encryption of messages exchanged on iMessage will become virtually unbreakable, even in the face of quantum computing - which, although not yet fully operational, could be a reality within a decade.

At this juncture, one might question the necessity of introducing quantum computer-proof encryption as early as 2024. Apple has addressed this concern by pointing out that attackers often "store away" intercepted encrypted messages to be cracked at a later date, when computational power might make the encryption vulnerable (though this is unlikely to apply to everyday conversations about the weather).

The idea is simple: as soon as malevolent parties gain access to a quantum computer, they will attempt to break the encryption once more. However, Apple is confident that the new PQ3 encryption will likely leave them floundering, even then.

The upcoming iOS/iPadOS 17.4 (along with macOS 14.4) update will introduce this new level of encryption to users, and it is already protecting conversations in its beta version, as noted by 9to5Mac. This new system update will bring several additional changes, particularly for EU users, which are discussed in more detail in a subsequent article.

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