Apple has just added an iMessage Security Feature to the iPhone. Some of the most popular apps have become tempting targets for hackers due to the ubiquitous nature of messaging and their easy points of entry.
Messaging app companies do take steps to beef up security on their products, but Apple leads the way in making sure that their product is secure and protected. Apple has increased its measures with a new feature called BlastDoor. It is part of iOS 14. The feature places a digital shield around message streams, making it virtually impossible to break into them. Additionally, if the hacker has managed to get past, and into the stream, there is still nothing that they can do to get past the BlastDoor.
Analysts and industry experts believe that, with the release of BlastDoor for iOS 14, Apple has listened to feedback and is now taking proper measures to improve iMessage security.
The BlastDoor app addresses incoming iMessage traffic and passes on only those messages that are “safe” for the Apple device’s operating system. It operates invisibly in the background of the operating system. It may soon be implemented as part of Apple’s Mac computer line. BlastDoor is a sandbox mode that protects the Messages app from the rest of iOS. All iOS apps already work in sandbox mode (blocking unsafe expressions) as a default, so BlastDoor is an extra layer of protection for iMessage. Written in the safe Swift programming language, Apple’s BlastDoor is responsible for almost all parsing of untrusted data in iMessage.
The feature was revealed when an exploit called “Kismet” was neutralized after a year, by the release of iOS 14.
BlastDoor unpacks and processes incoming message content inside a secure and isolated environment, where malicious code, embedded in a message, is disallowed from interacting with the operating system or retrieving user data.
If this works as advertised, and is capable of preventing most or all attacks, other companies will endorse it by coming up with their own very similar feature. Field testing has proved to be the only way to know just exactly how effective this new protection is. Progress is ongoing.
This new measure by Apple was implemented in the face of criticism that iMessage was not sufficient enough to clean incoming user data. Hackers were therefore able to take over an iPhone by simply sending a text message or photo to your device.
Apple’s BlastDoor is an additional boon in cybersecurity for small businesses. Allowing secure exchange of data between remote staff and the company. Security researchers consider this to be the best possible development given the need for backwards compatibility. This app should have a significant impact on the security of iMessaging and messaging platforms as a whole.