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For those who are particularly vulnerable: Apple introduces lockdown mode

For those who are particularly vulnerable: Apple introduces lockdown mode

For those who are particularly at risk
Apple introduces lockdown mode

Lockdown mode is coming to iPhones, iPad tablets, and Mac computers in the fall. Its goal is to better protect users who are threatened by particularly sophisticated attacks on behalf of the state.

Secret services often attack politicians, journalists and activists who try to obtain data through vulnerabilities in the software of devices. There are also companies like Israel’s NSO, whose Pegasus monitoring software has also been used successfully against iPhones. In the future, Apple will allow these particularly vulnerable users to better protect their devices with Lockdown Mode (Lockdown Mode). The feature is not suitable for normal users because it comes with considerable restrictions.

The particularly high level of security comes at the expense of comfort.

(Photo: Apple)

The mode will be available for iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers in the fall. At first there will be the following protection functions:

  • Messages: Most types of message attachments, except images, are blocked. Some features, like link previews, are disabled.
  • Web browsing: Certain complex web technologies, such as just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless users opt out of block mode on a trusted website.
  • Apple Services: Incoming service requests and invitations, including FaceTime calls, will be blocked if users have not previously called or sent a request to the initiator.
  • Wired connections to a computer or accessory are blocked when iPhone is locked.
  • Configuration profiles cannot be installed and the device cannot be enrolled in Mobile Device Management (MDM) when lockdown mode is enabled.

Apple has filed a lawsuit against NSO for allowing iPhone users to be spied on. The company has always claimed that it only sells its technology to security agencies. According to the findings of IT experts, for example, from the Canadian Citizen Lab, Pegasus is also said to have been used against journalists and political activists from authoritarian governments.

Apple wants to transfer possible compensation payments from the NSO process to IT security researchers, and also supports them with ten million dollars (about 9.8 million euros). Citizen Lab founder Ron Deibert said he hopes to use the money to establish a broader network of experts.

In attacks, hackers prefer to use security holes that are not yet generally known. Apple and other companies offer rewards for finding such vulnerabilities so that they are not misused for such purposes. Apple is now doubling the maximum payout for particularly serious vulnerabilities to $2 million.