Apple To Introduce Lockdown Mode To Curb Spyware

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Jul 07, 2022

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The company announced the new feature for iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers on Wednesday.

Lockdown Mode

Apple has announced a new privacy functionality for its mobile phones and computers. Dubbed Lockdown Mode, it will turn off several features on the products, making them less vulnerable to spyware. Apple says that the security feature is for a tiny number of users.

According to the tech giant, the Lockdown Mode “is an extreme, optional protection for the very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security”.

Head of Security Engineering and Architecture Ivan Krstic said in a statement that the “vast majority of users” will never need to use the feature. Specifically, it is for journalists, activists, politicians, and others who could potentially be targeted by spyware. 

Apple outlined what Lockdown Mode would do when turned on:

  • For iMessages, it will block attachment types other than images. It will also disable link previews.
  • It will block Javascript on the Safari web browser.
  • No FaceTime calls, invitations, or service requests, unless initiated by the user.
  • No installation of remote management software while in Lockdown Mode. 

The upcoming feature will be available in the iOS 16, iPad OS 16, and macOS Ventura updates coming this fall. 

Determined To Curb Spyware

Apple’s announcement follows the use of spyware to exploit loopholes in the iPhone’s security. In June, Google disclosed that hackers had used an Italian company’s software to spy on Apple and Android phones in Italy and Kazahkstan. 

In its statement, the company announced a $10 million grant to support research into the investigation, exposure, and prevention of cyberattacks. It also offered a $2 million bounty to cybersecurity researchers who can discover a security flaw in Lockdown Mode.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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