Tuesday, 09 April 2013 22:04

Apple iMessage Outage Seems To Disprove DEA Note About Point to Point Communication

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Apple experienced one of those things that no service provider wants to have, a multi-hour outage that affects an unknown number of users. Unfortunately this is exactly what happened to Apple today and to both iMessage and Face Time. Now these all on their own are bad and make Apple look a little foolish, but there is more to it than just the loss of text and video messaging to iPhone and iPad owners. This outage and loss of transmission capabilities also makes a recent note that was “leaked” by the DEA to cnet look a little foolish.

You might remember that a story ran around the internet touting a note from the DEA that claimed iMessage was difficult to intercept in transit even with a search warrant. The note and a few articles that ran around tried to make it appear that iMessage was a point to point type of communication. The truth of this is that ALL messages route through Apple servers and can be captured in transit if the right warrants are used. Today’s outage shows this in more ways than one. With Apple’s service down messages were not able to flow; if this was a point to point encrypted form of messaging the servers would not be needed except to identify the phones on the network. For this you would not need 100% of the servers online, just enough to initiate the sessions to communication. This is that Skype used to actually be, a point to point system after the connection was brokered between the two clients, but that is not what you have with iMessage.

At the time of this writing Apple’s iMessage and Face Time services are back online and operational, but the damage has been done. If you look at this and compare it to what the DEA tried to do with their note (as the FBI and others are pushing for real-time monitoring tools) it is pretty clear that this particular effort can be put in the fail category. That does not mean they will not try again or that we won’t see someone try to resurrect this story in the coming months, it just means that for now one of the first attempts at swinging public opinion on the dangers of un-monitored communication on the internet has failed to do its job. Maybe if we can keep track of each of these attempts and expose them as they pop-up we can stop the effort to install any form of back-door monitoring on our internet connections.

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Read 2522 times Last modified on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 23:32

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