Apple has announced plans to prevent iCloud and iMessage hacks


Apple plans to let users lock down photos and notes stored on its iCloud service more tightly and require a physical security key when signing in from a new device, it said on Wednesday.

The upcoming options, along with another security measure for Apple’s iMessage chat program, are aimed specifically at celebrities, journalists, activists, politicians and other high-profile individuals who have been heavily targeted by hackers, the company said.

The iPhone maker said that while it is not aware of any breaches of iCloud servers or iMessage exchanges, hacking attempts are on the rise.

US users can activate free Advanced Data Protection for iCloud storage until the end of the year. When enabled, Apple can’t help users recover photos, notes, voice memos, and about 20 other types of data if they forget their passwords. It will expand globally next year.

An option to require a security fob to be attached to a new device to access an Apple account is expected to appear next year. Rival Alphabet’s Google already supports such hardware keys, which are certified by industry body FIDO and cost around $25.

In iMessage, conversations between users who turn on the new contact key verification next year will receive automated alerts about unknown devices that may have access to the exchange. Users can manually verify the security of their communication by customizing security codes. Secure chat services like Signal offer similar features.

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