Apple has seemingly taken onboard feedback and criticism on iMessage security with the rollout of iOS 14 last year; a new BlastDoor feature has been discovered that’s been designed to parse untrusted data in the messaging app.
Whether you’re using an iPhone 12, or a new iPad, Apple’s iMessage service is available across its family of devices, and has been a thorn in the side of the tech giant when it comes to security, but BlastDoor is set to pull it out at last.
Samuel Groß, of Google’s Project Zero team, has delved into iOS 14 and found the new measures which should prevent exploits that we’ve seen in the past, that have allowed hackers to take over user devices just by sending a message.
In a nutshell, BlastDoor is a sandbox, meaning it does its thing separately to the main OS, purely for iMessage. Messages are scoured for harmful code in this bubble so that it can’t bleed through to the operating system, effectively nipping this issue in the bud.
Writing in a blog post about the discovery, Groß says that BlastDoor is one of the biggest changes in iOS 14, along with “resliding of the shared cache, and exponential throttling.” As he points out, Apple has implemented a structural overhaul to specifically counter security threats, and hasn’t just relied on fixing individual bugs.
“Overall, these changes are probably very close to the best that could’ve been done given the need for backwards compatibility, and they should have a significant impact on the security of iMessage and the platform as a whole.
“It’s great to see Apple putting aside the resources for these kinds of large refactorings to improve end users’ security. Furthermore, these changes also highlight the value of offensive security work: not just single bugs were fixed, but instead structural improvements were made based on insights gained from exploit development work.”
If you’re an Apple user, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your device has had a much-needed security boost. If you were thinking about transitioning over to the Apple ecosystem, BlastDoor should fill you with enough confidence to make the switch, and you can find out more about your options with our best phones and best tablets guides.
Source: Samuel Groß/ Project Zero
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