Apple to Start Encrypting iCloud Backups and More
Apple has today introduced some advanced security features focused on protecting against threats to user data, including Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, which uses end-to-end encryption for backups and more.
“Our security teams work tirelessly to keep users’ data safe, and with iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, users will have three powerful new tools to further protect their most sensitive data and communications,” said Apple SVP Craig Federighi.
With the new iMessage Contact Key Verification, users can choose to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend. For even higher security, iMessage Contact Key Verification users can compare a Contact Verification Code in person, on FaceTime, or through another secure call.
Another new feature introduced by Apple is the Security Keys for Apple ID, which lets users make use of third-party hardware security keys to enhance this protection.
This feature is designed for users who, often due to their public profile, face concerted threats to their online accounts, such as celebrities, journalists, and members of government.
iCloud already protects 14 sensitive data categories using end-to-end encryption by default, including passwords in iCloud Keychain and Health data.
For users who enable Advanced Data Protection, the total number of data categories protected using end-to-end encryption rises to 23, including:
- iCloud Backups
- iCloud Drive
- Message Backups
- Voice Memos
- Safari Bookmarks
- Siri Shortcuts
Apple says the only major iCloud data categories that are not covered are iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar because of the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts, and calendar systems.
Advanced Data Protection for iCloud is available in the US today for members of the Apple Beta Software Program and will be available to all US users by the end of the year. The feature will start rolling out to the rest of the world in early 2023.
iMessage Contact Key Verification and Security Keys for Apple ID will be available globally in early 2023.