Two days after evidence emerged of a phishing attack on iCloud, allegedly due to the Chinese government firewall redirecting traffic to a fake login page, the Chinese state news agency Xinhuanet is reporting a meeting in Beijing between Tim Cook and Chinese vice premier Ma Kai.

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday exchanged views on protection of users’ information during their meeting in Zhongnanhai, the central authority’s seat. They also exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in information and communication fields.

The Chinese government censors access to the Internet by deploying a country-wide firewall which blocks certain sites and which can redirect traffic from sites the government dislikes to officially-sanctioned ones …

While Apple did not specifically acknowledge claims that it was the government firewall which redirected icloud.com traffic to a fake website, the company posted a support document in which it said it was “aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information.”

The conversation between the two would doubtless have been couched in the most polite of diplomatic terms, but would still have made very interesting listening …

Cook last month reiterated the company’s commitment to user privacy and security following leaks of nude photos of celebrities, some of which appeared to have been obtained from iCloud. A combination of phishing emails and weak security questions were the attack methods used. Apple reintroduced two-factor authentication for iCloud.com in response, with app-specific passwords also required from the beginning of this month.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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