Saturday

Mobile Device Encryption - What Does It Mean?

Apple's new version of it's mobile operating system, iOS 8, features device encryption by default. iOS 8 is for use on newer iPhones and iPad devices.
On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode," the company [Apple] wrote on its website Wednesday evening. "Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.

Google's mobile operating system, Android, is also going to have device encryption on by default in it's forthcoming release, currently known as Android L. The encryption means that the data on your device is hidden to casual access by anyone who does not use the correct passcode for that device.

Encryption is like a computer age version of the old "decoder ring", where unless you had access to the correct decoder ring (the device passcode), you could not make sense of a message created with it. This would make it pretty much impossible for a thief (or indeed a law enforcement officer) to take your device and hook it up to a computer to read the contents, without having access to your device password.

It's important to note that this encryption occurs on the mobile device storage itself, over and above any encryption used to secure Internet connections to bank web sites and so on.


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