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Apple's Lockdown Mode to provide extra security from sophisticated attacks

07 July 2022 2

Apple has announced Lockdown Mode as an "extreme, optional protection" against highly sophisticated attacks. It can be used by anyone but is specifically aimed at high-profile users including journalists, activists, and whistleblowers. It will release alongside iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura later this year.

Lockdown Mode is said to be an extra layer of security to protect users from state-sponsored mercenary spyware tools like NSO's Pegasus. The team has looked at the ways these tools are usually used to prey on their victims. It has stopped many of these commonly used methods in the new mode so that users do not fall for such attacks.

The mode will block all types of file attachments except images in Messages. It will disable a few other features including link previews. It will disable certain complex web technologies unless a particular website is excluded from the list by the user. All first-time incoming invitations and service requests including FaceTime calls are blocked.

It will further block all wired connections with a computer or accessory when the iPhone is locked. It will not let the installation of new configuration profiles or enrollment into mobile device management (MDM). Apple says it will continue to add more precautions and protections to the Lockdown Mode with time.

In an effort to improve and make the mode more secure, Apple has added a dedicated category within the Apple Security Bounty Program. It has even doubled the reward for qualified findings which now go as high as $2 million. It has also made a $10 million grant for organizations that investigate, expose, and prevent highly targeted cyberattacks.



Apple's Lockdown Mode to provide extra security from sophisticated attacks
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