Thu | Dec 8, 2022 | 3:47 PM PST

Apple has announced several new advanced security features that will provide users with important tools to protect their most sensitive data and communications. These features include iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys for Apple ID, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud.

One of the most exciting new security features is iMessage Contact Key Verification. This feature allows users to verify the identity of a contact before sharing sensitive information or engaging in secure communications.

Here's an example screenshot from an iMessage conversation of what it will look like:Apple_iMessage_Contact_Key_Verification

Apple notes that its iMessage Contact Key Verification is especially important for "users who face extraordinary digital threats," which can include public figures such as journalists, activists, and politicians.

Security Keys for Apple ID is another new feature which allows users to add an extra layer of security to their Apple ID by using a hardware security key. This is similar to the security keys that are used by many online services to provide multi-factor authentication (MFA).

This feature provides users with an additional level of protection against hackers and other online threats. By requiring users to provide a hardware security key in addition to their password, Apple is able to greatly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to their accounts.

The third feature that Apple introduced is Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, which provides users with additional control over their data and the ability to protect their most sensitive information. For users who enable this feature, there will be 23 data categories protected using end-to-end encryption, including passwords in iCloud Keychain, Health data, iCloud Backup, Notes, Photos, and many more.

Ivan Krstić, Apple's Head of Security Engineering and Architecture, discussed this feature in a recent blog post:

"Advanced Data Protection is Apple's highest level of cloud data security, giving users the choice to protect the vast majority of their most sensitive iCloud data with end-to-end encryption so that it can only be decrypted on their trusted devices."

Craig Lurey, CTO and Co-Founder of Keeper Security, shared his thoughts on Apple's security updates:

"Apple's new data protections—especially the integration of security keys—are a welcome addition to the platform for security-conscious users, especially those who already use a YubiKey device to encrypt their data on iOS devices or want to use a security key but need more incentive to make the investment. Hardware security keys provide one of the highest levels of security for MFA setups."

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