16-year-old reverse-engineers iMessage for Android app — Report

Universal chat app company Beeper has launched an Android app that can send and receive iMessage texts with full support for the iPhone app’s features.

In a blog post detailing the release of “Beeper Mini” the company explained that the app did not require relaying messages through a cloud server like the original Beeper or Sunbird’s app.

These apps used servers comprising multiple Mac Minis logged into Apple accounts to allow Android users to send messages as if they were coming from an iPhone.

The problem with this implementation is that it could expose the users to additional security risks because they had no guarantee that the servers were secured correctly and could not be accessed by malicious parties.

Beeper said its new $1.99-per-month app connected to Apple’s servers directly and encrypted messages using Apple’s protocol.

It was able to achieve this thanks to a breakthrough by a 16-year-old security researcher who goes by jjtech.

The researcher reverse-engineered the iMessage protocol and its encryption by investigating the operating system code on jailbroken iPhones to figure out exactly how it worked.

In addition to having messages show up with a blue bubble, jjtech’s work also improves the current implementation of Android and iPhone text communication by making messages end-to-end encrypted.

Beeper said it would open-source the app’s code to ensure there were no security or privacy lapses.

It remains to be seen if Apple will take action against the development.

Beeper’s founder maintains the app and its development was completely legal, as the code in the Beeper Mini was not Apple’s but was custom-made and recreated.

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16-year-old reverse-engineers iMessage for Android app — Report