Published in Mobiles

Apple spends a fortune to defeat a teen

by on11 December 2023

Claimed Beeper Mini was serpent in walled garden

Apple has spent a week of its time and energy trying to undo the work of a 16-year-old high school student who reverse-engineered Apple's messaging protocol, launching an interoperable Android app called "Beeper Mini".

While his fellows were complaining that Apple was forbidding Android users from sending regular messages to iPhone users. So he reverse-engineered Jobs’ Mob software, because that is apparently easy to do, and created an Android App called Beeper Mini.

Jobs Mob was furious. Users had wanted the modifications to iMessenger for a long time, but Apple refused because it wanted to shame Android users into buying an iPhone. It was based on the logic that if Android users messages appeared on an iPhone user’s screen in terrible colour, the Apple users would beat up or mock those who sent them. Fortunately for the world, if an Apple fanboy mocked an Android user, they would get nine shades of colour beaten out of them, but it was clear that the hero of this story was working for a market and Apple was not.   

On Friday the Verge reported that "less than a week after its launch, the app started experiencing technical issues when users were suddenly unable to send and receive blue bubble messages."

Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky did not deny that Apple has successfully blocked Beeper Mini. "If it's Apple, then I think the biggest question is... if Apple truly cares about the privacy and security of their own iPhone users, why would they stop a service that enables their users to send encrypted messages to Android users now, rather than using unsecured SMS.

Beeper Mini is here today and works great. Why force iPhone users back to sending unencrypted SMS when they chat with friends on Android?"

Apple says it was unable to verify that end-to-end encryption is maintained when messages are sent through unauthorised channels:

"At Apple, we build our products and services with industry-leading privacy and security technologies designed to give users control of their data and keep personal information safe. We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage. These techniques posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks. We will continue to make updates in the future to protect our users."

Beeper responded on X: We stand behind what we've built. Beeper Mini keeps your messages private and boosts security compared to unencrypted SMS. For anyone who claims otherwise, we'd be happy to give our entire source code to a mutually agreed upon a third party to evaluate the security of our app.

It seems that the problem has since been fixed, or at least Beeper has worked a way around whatever Apple did. On Saturday Migicovsky notified Beeper Cloud (desktop) users that iMessage was working again for them after a long night of fixes. "

The Beeper Mini team has been working around the clock to resolve the outage affecting the new "iMessage on Android" app and says a fix is "very close." And once the fix rolls out, users' seven-day free trials will be reset so they can start over fresh.

Meanwhile, at around 9 pm, Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky posted on X, “For three blissful days this week, iPhone and Android users enjoyed high-quality encrypted chats. We're working hard to return to that state."

Last modified on 11 December 2023
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