Monday, June 5, 2023

New Privacy And Security Innovations Coming From Apple

Apple unveiled its most recent privacy and security advancements today at its Worldwide Developers Conference, including significant revisions to Lockdown Mode, Communication Safety, and Private Browsing in Safari, as well as app privacy enhancements. 

Additionally, Apple unveiled brand-new features including Check In, NameDrop, and Live Voicemail, all of which were created with privacy and security in mind. According to Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, these new initiatives are the most recent manifestation of the company's steadfast belief that privacy is a fundamental human right and that effective privacy is built on a foundation of solid security. 


A big improvement to Safari Private Browsing offers customers even more defense against trackers as they browse the web and from anybody who could have access to their device, he continues. Further preventing websites from utilizing the most recent methods to track or identify a user's device are advanced tracking and fingerprinting measures. Now that Private Browsing is locked when not in use, a user can keep tabs open even after putting their device away.


Users can keep the rest of their library private by using a new integrated Photos selector to share only the desired photos with apps. When an app requests access to the user's whole photo collection, the user is given more information about what they'll be sharing as well as sporadic reminders of their choice.


For the purpose of following people to other websites, several websites add extra information to their URLs. Users will no longer be able to access these links in Messages and Mail, but they will continue to function as intended as this information has been removed. Furthermore, URLs in Safari Private Browsing will no longer contain this information.


With the use of new tools, developers may now provide even more precise Privacy Nutrition Labels by knowing more about the data practices of the third-party software development kits (SDKs) they employ in their apps. By allowing signatures for outside SDKs, these modifications further strengthen the integrity of the software supply chain and provide an additional line of defense against fraud.

Apple has also added measures that are intended to assist safeguard user safety. According to the business, they are as follows:


Video footage is now covered by Communication Safety, a program that alerts kids when they receive or transmit photos in messages that contain lewdness. Developers may now incorporate Communication Safety directly into their products thanks to a new API. Additionally, the functionality will now keep kids secure when they send and receive FaceTime video messages, AirDrop files, use the Phone app to access the Photos picker to select files to send, and send and receive Contact Posters. Communication Safety exclusively uses on-device picture and video processing, so neither Apple nor any other entity has access to the content. The parent has the option to turn off these alerts for the child accounts in their Family Sharing plan.


Using the same privacy-preserving technology at the heart of Communication Safety, Sensitive Content Warning assists adult users in avoiding viewing unwelcome nude photographs and videos when they get them in Messages, an AirDrop, a FaceTime video message, and the Phone app when receiving a Contact Poster. The user has the option to enable the feature under the Privacy & Security settings. Similar to Communication Safety, all picture and video processing for Sensitive Content Warning takes place on the device, preventing access to the content by Apple or any other party.


Users can form groups to share a set of passwords, and members of the group can add and change passwords to keep them current. This makes sharing passwords and passkeys easier and more safe. Sharing is end-to-end encrypted because it is done through iCloud Keychain. Additionally, one-time verification codes received in Mail will now instantly autofill in Safari, making it simple to securely log in without leaving the browser.


Lockdown Mode is enhanced to offer even more security for those who might be the target of mercenary spyware due to who they are or what they do. New safeguards include media handling, media sharing, media handling defaults, sandboxing, and network security improvements.

Lockdown Mode substantially reduces the attack surface for individuals who require additional security by further strengthening device defenses and rigidly limiting some features. Lockdown Mode will also be supported on watchOS.


Users can easily notify friends or family that they have arrived at their location safely by using Check In. Once enabled by the user, Check In will automatically determine when the user has arrived at their desired location and notify a select group of contacts via Messages. If an unforeseen circumstance arises while the user is traveling, Check In will detect that the user is not making headway toward their stated goal and will check in with them. In the event that they don't reply, the function will inform the chosen contacts of the user's precise position, battery life, cell service status, and the duration of their most recent active iPhone use. Making it simpler to get assistance if needed. Check In is built with privacy and security in mind, giving the user control by enabling them decide with whom they want to share information about their location and establish time limits. The Check In session can be ended at any moment by the user. In order to prevent Apple or anybody else from reading the information supplied with Check In, it is end-to-end encrypted.


A user can hold their iPhone close to another to share their contact information with only the people they want to via NameDrop, a new AirDrop feature. Additionally, users can decide which precise contact information they want to publish and, more significantly, which information they do not want to give.
The same method can be used by users to distribute material like photographs or links. Users of Apple Watch can also use NameDrop by tapping the Share button in the My Card section of the Contacts app or the My Card watch face complication, bringing their Apple Watch up close to another user's Apple Watch, and then tapping the My Card watch face complexity. These new features safely exchange content over an encrypted connection, just like all other AirDrop experiences.


Knowing when to pick up the phone is made simpler with live voicemail. Users will see a live transcription of the caller's message when they call and begin to leave one. The user can pick up the call whenever they want to speak with the caller. When Silence Unknown Callers is activated, calls from unknown numbers will go directly to Live Voicemail without ringing. Calls that are flagged by carriers as spam won't show up as Live Voicemail but will be rejected right away. With less worry about missing critical calls, the user can now ignore spam, frauds, or calls that can invade their privacy. Live Voicemail is performed fully on the device and no data is sent to Apple because of the Neural Engine's strength.

This fall, free software updates will include these features.

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