Report: Feds can't break Apple's encrypted iMessages

Posted by Trent Nouveau

A recently penned intelligence memo indicates that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is experiencing some difficulty intercepting iMessages, which employs secure end-to-end encryption.

Indeed, according to official documents obtained by CNET, "it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices" even with a court order approved by a federal judge.

Although both Apple and the DEA declined to comment on iMessage and encryption, Christopher Soghoian, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, noted 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 explained.

"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."

It should be noted that Apple's privacy policy authorizes the company to divulge customers' information about customers to law enforcement when "reasonably necessary or appropriate" or to "comply with legal process."