Tech juggernaut Apple has unveiled a “groundbreaking” and “extreme” new feature set to roll out in a few months.
Tech giant Apple has unveiled an “extreme” new measure designed to protect iPhone, iPad and Mac users from “advanced digital threats”.
In an announcement Thursday morning Australian time, Apple unveiled a new “lockdown mode” designed to help protect users who may be targets of hackers.
The lockdown mode, which will be launched in the coming months, is “an extreme, optional protection for the very small number of users who face serious, targeted threats to their digital security”.
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“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 Ivan Krstić, Apple’s chief of security engineering and architecture.
“While the vast majority of users will never fall victim to highly targeted cyber attacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users that do.
“That includes continuing to design defenses specifically for these users, as well as supporting researchers and organizations around the world who are doing critically important work unmasking mercenaries carrying out these digital attacks.”
Apple said the lockdown mode would help specific users — such as reporters, human rights lawyers or political dissidents — who may be “personally targeted” by companies that develop state-sponsored mercenary spyware, such as NSO Group, which uses the “Pegasus” — has made software that can bear. from digital attacks and has been linked to several major hacking scandals.
It comes after two Israeli companies exploited weaknesses in Apple’s software to hack into iPhones, prompting Apple to sue the NSO Group and blacklist the company.
According to Apple, enabling lock mode in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura “further hardens device defenses and severely restricts certain functionalities, significantly reducing the attack surface that could potentially be exploited by highly targeted rental spyware.”
It works by blocking most attachments sent to the iPhone’s Messages app, disabling certain complex web technologies, and blocking incoming invitations and service requests if the user has not previously sent the initiator a call or request.
The digital juggernaut has also announced a $2 million reward for researchers who find a way around the lockdown mode, to further strengthen the security measure.
Apple is also providing a $10 million grant to support organizations that investigate, uncover and prevent highly targeted cyber-attacks, including attacks by private companies that develop state-sponsored spyware for mercenaries.