Amid all the hubbub about the NSA and PRISM, it’s important to take a deep breath, take a step back, and realize the government is not only not the only one trying to violate your privacy, they’re not even the best at it. Apple, for example, has claimed that everything on iMessage is encrypted end-to-end, and not even Apple can look at it! No points for guessing what a security firm has turned up!
Yep, Apple can totally read your iMessages. In fact, Apple can easily help other people, like, say, governmental authorities, read your iMessages. And it’ll even collect that handy-dandy password, since it’s transmitted in plain text.
How does it work? Basically it’s as simple as telling Apple that you’re like, totally, the right person and the phone should totally decrypt the messages for you. OK, so it’s a little bit more complex than that in the details; Quarks Lab put a lot of work into testing this. But that’s essentially what you can do. The communication itself is actually heavily encrypted, but it’s kind of like locking the door to your house and then mailing everybody in the phone book a key; technically your door is locked, but your house isn’t secure.
The good news is that, so far, there’s no evidence that Apple is actually reading your text messages and mocking your terrible grammar. The problem, though, is that it could easily do so if it wanted to… or if, say for example, it received a court order from a government agency. Hopefully Apple goes in and cleans up these problems, but until then, if you value your privacy, maybe you should talk to people directly.