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Apple to Enhance Encryption Security for iCloud, Making Key for Data Inaccessible Even for Itself

March 17
7:12 AM 2016

Apple is believed to be considering tightening its cloud service iCloud's security. The tech giant aims to have the security system that even they can't access the information stored on the servers.

As for now, data stored in iCloud is already encrypted. Tightening the security could mean strengthening the encryption system, or even eliminating the possibility of access that anyone, even Apple itself, can decode the user data using any key.

However, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, strengthening iCloud encryption to that point could interfere with users' convenience. For example, if a user forgets a password, the user might lose access to the important data stored in iCloud, and even Apple can't retrieve it because it doesn't have the decoding keys. However, if Apple keeps a copy of the key, it can be compromised or the service can be compelled to turn it over, as with what is happening now with Apple's case against the FBI.

The company's determination to tighten its cloud security system emerged amid its dispute with FBI. The government agency has been demanding Apple to provide assistance in efforts to bypass an encryption in an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Arguing that doing so will compromise other users' safety and security, Apple denied the court order.

CNET noted that Apple already has a feature in which it doesn't have a key for. iCloud Keychain, used to store information such as passwords and credit card numbers, can't be accessed even by Apple. On the other hand, other kinds of data stored in the cloud service are accessible by Apple using a key which is also used to restore account information when the user needs it.

Apple declined to comment on the matter of enhancing security for its cloud service. However, CRN reported that Apple has moved some of its iCloud services to the Google Cloud. It proves that Apple is trying to shift and improve its cloud strategy, and that could include security measures. Previously, Apple relied on Amazon Web Services to run parts of its iCloud and other services. The company is also reportedly planning to open three data centers soon.

To ensure users security and making the encryption key inaccessible even to Apple itself, the company has to balance the enhanced security with users convenience. Making a un-decryptable system could cost users their important data if for any reason they can't access the account, for example, lose or forget a password.

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