Apple said on Wednesday that it plans to release a new feature called "Lockdown Mode" this fall, which aims to add a new layer of protection for users
Apple announced the launch of a new Lockdown mode for iPhone/iPad/MacOS Ventura, providing special additional protection for users who may be the target of highly targeted cyberattacks, which is already available in iOS/iPadOS 16 Developer Preview Beta 3.

Lockdown mode is off by default and can be enabled in the Privacy & Security section of settings. Once turned on, Lockdown mode can also be turned off at any time in the same setting. Enabling or disabling Lockdown mode requires restarting the device and entering the device passcode.

Apple says Lockdown Mode is a first-of-its-kind feature that will be released this fall with iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura. This feature is designed to provide optional extreme protection for very few users. These users face highly targeted and serious threats to their digital security. Apple also released details of a $10 million cybersecurity grant announced last November to support social organizations working on spyware threat research and advocacy.

Because of their identities or the nature of their jobs, these users may be targeted by highly advanced digital threats, such as those from private companies such as the NSO Group that develop spyware at the behest of the state.

Previously, a mobile phone spyware called "Pegasus" invaded more than 50 countries around the world and could be monitored as many as 50,000 people. Pegasus was developed by the Israeli software monitoring company NSO to monitor journalists, lawyers and political parties. family and other influential people.

Once "Pegasus" invades a mobile phone, it can extract text messages, photos, emails, record calls, and remotely turn on the phone's microphone and camera without the user's knowledge, posing a great threat to user privacy.

Enabling Lockdown mode in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura will further strengthen device protection, strictly limit some functions, and greatly reduce the attack surface, so as not to allow highly targeted spyware to take advantage.

Below protection features will be provided to users when Lockdown Mode is enabled:
  • Information:

    Most types of information attachments other than pictures will be blocked. Some features such as link preview will be disabled.
  • Web browsing:

    Some complex web technologies such as just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilers will be disabled unless the user sets a whitelist of trusted sites in Lockdown mode.
  • Apple Services:

    Invitations and service requests such as FaceTime calls made to the user will be blocked unless the user has previously made a call or request to the other party.
  • Disable Wired Connection:

    Wired connections to your computer or accessories will also be blocked when your iPhone is locked.
  • Disable Profile Installation:

    When Lockdown mode is on, profiles cannot be installed and devices cannot be joined to Mobile Device Management (MDM).

Apple will continue to strengthen the Lockdown mode and add new protection measures in the future. To encourage positive feedback and collaboration from the security research community, Apple will also create a new category in the Apple Security Bounty program to reward researchers who find vulnerabilities in Lockdown mode and help strengthen its protection.

Researchers who make a qualifying discovery in Lockdown mode will receive double the prize money, up to a maximum of $2 million — the highest capped prize in the industry.
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