iOS 11 encrypted backup change reduces security, boosts data safety

TidBITS:

Digital forensics firm Elcomsoft revealed this week that Apple has changed how encrypted iOS backups are protected, reducing security to improve the overall user experience.

Elcomsoft’s discovery kicked off a vigorous debate on Hacker News and Twitter, but does this change represent a real risk to the average Apple user? The answer is yes, but that answer has to be understood in the proper context. In absolute terms, Apple’s change is a step backward for iOS security, but the nuances of real-world usage suggest that Apple sees it as a net improvement for protecting user data from loss.

While I wish that Apple hadn’t made this change, and I do consider it a hit to my personal security, I can see where Apple is coming from and how the company may see it as enhancing the safety of user data. Let me explain.

After some friendly nudging by Dave Mark and I (and others), Rich Mogull comes up with his usual great explanation and cuts through the FUD.



  • Dave

    Seems like much ado about nothing for most iOS users. Rich asks “What percentage of iOS users use encrypted iTunes backups?”

    To that I’d add, “What percentage of iOS users even know about iTunes backups let alone encrypted iTunes backups?”

    I’d imagine the number is rather small and getting vastly smaller every year. I’d bet that most iOS users either 1) backup via iCloud or 2) don’t backup at all. I bet that most iOS users don’t even know that you can sync an iOS device with iTunes let alone perform an encrypted backup.

    • Mary

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    • Vera

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