(credit: Tim Ellis)

Cothority, a new software project designed to make secret backdoored software updates nearly impossible, is offering to help Apple ensure that any secret court orders to backdoor its software cannot escape public scrutiny.

Currently, when Apple or any software maker issues a software update, they sign the update with their encryption keys. But those keys can be stolen, and a government could coerce the company to sign a backdoored software update for a targeted subset of end users—and do so in secret.

Cothority decentralises the signing process, and scales to thousands of cosigners. For instance, in order to authenticate a software update, Apple might require 51 percent of 8,000 cosigners distributed around the world.

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Cothority to Apple: Let’s make secret backdoors impossible