‘BlastDoor’ Messages Security System introduced on iOS 14

iOS 14 introduces another brand new “BlastDoor” sandbox security system to iPhones and iPads to stop attacks distributed with the Messages app. Apple did not share info on the new security addition, however, it was absolutely explained these days by prophet Groß, a security research worker with Google’s Project Zero, and highlighted by ZDNet.
Groß describes BlastDoor as a tightly sandboxed service that is chargeable for parsing all of the untrusted knowledge in iMessages. A sandbox may be a MI that executes code severally from the OS, and this one operates at intervals in the Messages app.
BlastDoor takes a glance at the least bit of incoming messages and inspects their content during a secure setting, which prevents any malicious code within a message from interacting with iOS or accessing user knowledge.

As can be seen, the majority of the processing of complex, untrusted data has been moved into the new BlastDoor service. Furthermore, this design with its 7+ involved services allows fine-grained sandboxing rules to be applied, for example, only the IMTransferAgent and apsd processes are required to perform network operations. As such, all services in this pipeline are now properly sandboxed (with the BlastDoor service arguably being sandboxed the strongest).

The feature has been designed to threaten specific attack varieties, like those wherever hackers used shared cache or brute force attacks. As ZDNet points out, security researchers are finding iMessage remote code execution bugs over the past few years that would enable An iPhone to be infiltrated with simply a text, that BlastDoor ought to address.
Groß found the new ‌iOS 14‌ feature which works with Messages hacking campaign that targeted Al Jazeera journalists. The attack wasn’t operating in ‌iOS 14‌.
According to Groß, Apple’s BlastDoor changes are “close to the simplest that could’ve been done given the requirement for backwards compatibility,” and can create the iMessage platform considerably safer.

This blog post discussed three improvements in ‌iOS 14‌ affecting iMessage security: the BlastDoor service, resliding of the shared cache, and exponential throttling. Overall, these changes are probably very close to the best that could’ve been done given the need for backwards compatibility, and they should have a significant impact on the security of iMessage and the platform as a whole.

It’s great to see Apple putting aside the resources for these kinds of large refactorings to improve end users’ security. Furthermore, these changes also highlight the value of offensive security work: not just single bugs were fixed, but instead structural improvements were made based on insights gained from exploit development work.

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