Apple is building a Lockdown Mode to fend off cyberattacks on high-profile users

features lockdown mode, an “extreme” level of security designed for a “very small number of users who are exposed to serious, targeted threats”. It will be available this fall when the company rolls out, and .

The company says it developed the lockdown mode to protect high-profile individuals who, because of their status or job, could be personally targeted by malware developed by the likes of those behind Pegasus or other government-backed groups. Turning on lockdown mode severely limits an iPhone, iPad, or Mac’s capabilities to limit possible entry points for spyware.

For example, in , most attachments except images are blocked. The same goes for link previews. Lockdown mode blocks incoming calls and other invitations unless they’re from someone you’ve previously called or shared an invitation with. Wired iPhone connections to computers and accessories are disabled when the device is locked.

Apple also blocks some web technologies, e.g. B. , unless you manually approve a site. It is also not possible to install a configuration profile or add a device to mobile device management when lockdown mode is enabled. A screenshot indicates that “some experiences” will be completely unavailable.

Lockdown mode prompt on an iPhone


The company says all of these protections will be available when lockdown mode kicks in. There are plans to add more over time. Apple will also expand its Security Bounty program. Researchers who find lockdown mode vulnerabilities and help Apple make it more secure are eligible for rewards of up to $2 million.

“Apple makes the most secure mobile devices on the market. Lockdown mode is a game-changing feature that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest and most sophisticated attacks,” said Ivan Krstić, Apple’s director of security engineering and architecture. “While the vast majority of users will never fall victim to targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users that are. This includes continuing to develop countermeasures specifically for these users, as well as supporting researchers and organizations around the world who are doing the vital work to uncover mercenary companies creating these digital attacks.”

Apple last year to “hold it accountable” for states that target and spy on its users. The company says it will donate $10 million and any damages it receives as a result of the lawsuit to organizations that “investigate, detect, and prevent targeted cyberattacks.” Grants are awarded through the Ford Foundation’s Dignity and Justice Fund.

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