iMessages Stories May 11

AAPL: 153.95

1.32

An Apple patent published today describes using iMessages instead of voice to interact with Siri in environments when speaking wouldn’t be practical.

This could span both ends of the spectrum, from very noisy environments like construction sites, where your voice cannot be heard, to very quiet ones like libraries, where you would disturb people by speaking. It would also be useful for people who don’t feel comfortable talking to their phone in public …

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iMessages Stories March 21, 2016

AAPL: 105.91

-0.01

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found a vulnerability in iMessages that allowed them to decrypt both photos and videos sent via the service. Apple said that iOS 9 provided a partial fix – making the attack method more difficult – while it is fully fixed in iOS 9.3.

The Washington Post reports that the team advised Apple of the flaw, and will publish a paper as soon as iOS 9.3 has been officially released, expected for later today. The team has, however, explained in outline how their attack worked …

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iMessages Stories February 10, 2016

AAPL: 101.17

0.05

Attempts by states like California and New York to ban the sale of encrypted phones could be overruled by federal law. The Verge reports that a cross-party bill is being introduced today in Congress by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX).

The ENCRYPT Act of 2016, or by its longer name, the Ensuring National Constitutional Rights of Your Private Telecommunications Act, would preempt state and local government encryption laws. The two men said today they are “deeply concerned” that varying bills surrounding encryption would endanger the country as well as the competitiveness of American companies. The argument is that it wouldn’t be easy or even feasible to tailor phone encryption capabilities for specific states.

New York last month kicked off the attempt to ban the sale of encrypted phones in the state unless the manufacturer built in a back door, with a virtually identical bill proposed in California later the same month. The moves – which would effectively outlaw the sale of current iPhones in both states – followed similar proposals in the UK last year …

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iMessages Stories December 23, 2015

AAPL: 108.61

1.38

Back in August, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh threw out a class action lawsuit against Apple from former iPhone users complaining that text messages were no longer delivered when they ported their number to an Android phone. The lawsuit alleged that Apple was guilty of “interference” with their messages.

That wasn’t quite the end of it, however. Three of the plaintiffs persisted in individual claims against Apple, alleging that the company was in breach of the Federal Wire Tap Act by ‘intercepting’ their messages. The court has now dismissed these claims – with, it turns out, very good reason …

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iMessages Stories August 21, 2014

Security company Cloudmark claims that almost a third of mobile spam messages are now being sent via iMessage thanks to the ease with which they can be sent from a Mac, reports Wired.

Thanks to one particularly aggressive campaign from a junk mailer, [iMessage spam] accounts for more than 30 percent of all mobile spam messages […]

“It’s almost like a spammer’s dream,” says Cloudmark’s Tom Landesman. “With four lines of code, using Applescripts, you can tell your Mac to send message to whoever they want.”

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iMessages Stories April 4, 2013

Internal DEA document complains it’s impossible to intercept iMessages

The Drug Enforcement Administration has warned in a recent internal document that iMessage’s secure end-to-end encryption is preventing law enforcement from eavesdropping on suspects in criminal investigations. CNET got its hands on the document that warned “it’s ‘impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices’—even with a court order approved by a federal judge”:

The DEA’s “Intelligence Note” says that iMessage came to the attention of the agency’s San Jose, Calif., office as agents were drafting a request for a court order to perform real-time electronic surveillance under Title III of the Federal Wiretap Act. They discovered that records of text messages already obtained from Verizon Wireless were incomplete because the target of the investigation used iMessage: “It became apparent that not all text messages were being captured.”

Christopher Soghoian, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, said yesterday that “Apple’s service is not designed to be government-proof.” “It’s much much more difficult to intercept than a telephone call or a text message” that federal agents are used to, Soghoian says. “The government would need to perform an active man-in-the-middle attack… The real issue is why the phone companies in 2013 are still delivering an unencrypted audio and text service to users. It’s disgraceful.”

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