Apple to block spyware on user’s devices via Lockdown Mode coming to its new software

Apple's Lockdown Mode on mobile device
Lockdown Mode will roll out to the upcoming iPhone and Mac software of Apple this fall – iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. It will disable different functions of the phone that could be exploited by spyware and offer some features that are aimed directly at preventing attacks.

In the past few years, different iPhone users have experienced attacks, leading to the planting of spyware on their devices. Apple has a new way to resolve this problem by introducing the “Lockdown Mode,” which can bring “extreme optional protection” by turning off some features in the device’s system.

“Apple makes the most secure mobile devices on the market. Lockdown Mode is a groundbreaking capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest, most sophisticated attacks,” said Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture, Ivan Krsti?. “While the vast majority of users will never be the victims of highly targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users who are.”

According to Apple, this can prevent the attempts of state-sponsored spyware on individuals commonly subject to such attacks, such as activists, journalists, and human rights defenders. It’ll be helpful for such individuals since spyware can be used to literally control anyone’s handheld device remotely and perform different functions, such as recording audio, taking pictures, tracking the phone’s location, and even accessing passwords.

Lockdown Mode will roll out to the upcoming iPhone and Mac software of Apple this fall – iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. It will disable different functions of the phone that could be exploited by spyware and offer some features that are aimed directly at preventing attacks. Apple highlights the five major characteristics of Lockdown Mode in a post:

  • Apart from images, the other message attachment types like links are disabled.
  • Specific complex web technologies are disabled.
  • Individuals who have been called or received a request by/from the user before will be allowed in the Apple services. Otherwise, the incoming invitations and service requests will be blocked. 
  • Wired connections will be refused to protect the phone data even if it is physically acquired by other people. 
  • Enrollment into mobile device management and installation of configuration profiles are not allowed.

While Lockdown Mode sounds promising, Apple is open to the possibilities of flaws in the feature. With this, it promises to improve continuously with the help of researchers, who could also benefit from discovering possible holes in the system of Lockdown Mode.

“Apple will continue to strengthen Lockdown Mode and add new protections to it over time,” says Apple. “To invite feedback and collaboration from the security research community, Apple has also established a new category within the Apple Security Bounty program to reward researchers who find Lockdown Mode bypasses and help improve its protections. Bounties are doubled for qualifying findings in Lockdown Mode, up to a maximum of $2,000,000 — the highest maximum bounty payout in the industry.”

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}