Apple introduces iMessage enhancement to resist decryption by quantum computers.

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The emblem of Apple Inc is displayed at the entrance of the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

WASHINGTON, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Apple (AAPL.O) is introducing an upgrade to its iMessage texting platform aimed at safeguarding against potential advancements in encryption-breaking technologies.
The new protocol, referred to as PQ3, underscores U.S. tech companies’ readiness for potential breakthroughs in quantum computing that could render current methods of safeguarding users’ communications obsolete.
“In addition to merely substituting an existing algorithm with a new one, we have reconstructed the iMessage cryptographic protocol from the ground up,” stated an Apple blog post released on Wednesday. “It will completely supplant the current protocol within all supported conversations this year.”
The Cupertino, California-based iPhone manufacturer asserts that its encryption algorithms are cutting-edge and claims to have detected no instances of successful attacks on them thus far. Nevertheless, government officials and scientists express concerns about the potential arrival of quantum computers—advanced machines that harness the properties of subatomic particles—which could potentially significantly weaken existing protections.
Late last year, a Reuters investigation delved into the United States and China’s efforts to prepare for that scenario, often referred to as “Q-Day,” through substantial investments in quantum research and the development of new encryption standards known as post-quantum cryptography. Accusations have been exchanged between Washington and Beijing regarding the interception of vast amounts of encrypted data in anticipation of Q-Day, a strategy sometimes dubbed “catch now, crack later.”
“Early planning is imperative,” stated the U.S. cyber watchdog agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in a 2022 advisory. “Cyber threat actors could be targeting data today that would still necessitate protection in the future.”
Apple’s blog highlights that PQ3 employs a new and overlapping set of technical safeguards designed to narrow that vulnerability window.
Michael Biercuk, founder and CEO of the quantum tech company Q-CTRL, remarked that Apple’s public reinforcement of its defenses signifies a “vote of confidence” in the notion that advanced computers could one day compromise existing protections. “They are indicating that they perceive this as a plausible threat and are actively preparing for it,” he stated.

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