Apple says its new feature will protect users from spywares

Published on Sep 09, 2022 09:34 PM IST

Experts believe that the increase in privacy theft cases, some even from state sponsored spyware software, might have triggered Apple to build such extreme spyware defence systems.

iPhone 14 was launched with many new features embedded, lockdown mode for online safety was one of the significant features.(HT_PRINT)
iPhone 14 was launched with many new features embedded, lockdown mode for online safety was one of the significant features.(HT_PRINT)
By | Edited by Aryan Prakash

Technology giant Apple during the ‘Far Out’ event on September 7 announced a new feature to secure its devices from being infected by a spyware. The new feature called lockdown mode can be activated by just a push button to temporarily switch off some most ‘abused’ device features.

“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,” stated Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture.

Apple said that this Lockdown Mode is the first major capability of its kind to offer optional protection for the small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security. “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…,” the Apple official said.

It will come with the upcoming operating system - iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and MacOS Ventura.

To protect from Pegasus spyware attack !

Experts believe that the increase in privacy theft cases, some even from state sponsored spyware software, might have triggered Apple to build such extreme spyware defence systems.

Even in a statement, Apple said that the aim is to protect a small group of users who may be personally targeted by some of the most sophisticated digital threats, such as those from NSO Group and other private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware.

Apple is also making a $10 million grant to the Dignity and Justice Fund, instituted and advised by the Ford Foundation. “The global spyware trade targets human rights defenders, journalists, and dissidents; it facilitates violence, reinforces authoritarianism, and supports political repression,” said Lori McGlinchey, the Ford Foundation’s director of its Technology and Society program, stating the organisation support to resist mercenary spyware.

Apple has also challenged the researchers with a bounty program to find a flaw in the lockdown mode. The bounty amount is up to a maximum of $2,000,000, which the Cupertino tech giant claims to be the highest maximum bounty pay-out in the industry.

The lockdown will help protect iPhone from spyware attacks.(Apple)
The lockdown will help protect iPhone from spyware attacks.(Apple)

What will stop with the launch of lockdown mode?

Apple says that with the launch of Lockdown mode:

Most message attachment types, other than images, are blocked. Some features, like link previews, are disabled.

Certain complex web technologies, like just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless the user excludes a trusted site from Lockdown Mode.

Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not already sent the initiator a call or request.

Wired connections with a computer or accessory are cut off when the iPhone is locked.

Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enrol into mobile device management (MDM), while Lockdown Mode is switched on.

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