Apple just hired the developer of Edward Snowden's favourite encrypted chat app

Apple has hired one of the key developers of Signal, the secure encrypted messaging service that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden uses.

Apple has indicated that it plans to upgrade the security on iPhones and its iCloud service so that even it can’t access the data it stores. 

It’s just an internship, according to Frederic Jacobs, but it’s a sign that Apple is very serious about locking down its products with encryption. Signal is widely seen in the information security world as the best encrypted messaging app. 

In an interview last year, Jacobs said that one of his goals when coding Signal was that he “wanted to bring these strong cryptography techniques to iPhone users.”

“Apple’s service is not perfect,” Jacobs told Technologist. “For example, its proprietary technology makes it impossible for the community to detect vulnerabilities and fix flaws. Signal is open, free, collaborative, and easy to use.”

The Core OS layer “contains the low-level features that most other technologies are built upon,” according to Apple

The increased emphasis on security is a response to the recent battle between Apple and the FBI, but it’s also good news for privacy-minded Apple users. 

Apple is also looking to fill several other security-oriented positions, according to its jobs page.

Just this week it posted a listing for a hardware security architect. Responsibilities include analysing software and hardware attack mechanisms, and Apple says the job requires knowledge of microprocessor architecture. 

If Apple eventually closes the issue that allows the FBI to request custom software to bypass an iPhone’s passcode lock screen, it sounds like this position will have a role. 

 

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