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APPLE Says Lockdown Mode in iOS 16 Can Help Block Spyware

Apple continues to innovate to increase the level of security for its devices. On Wednesday, July 6, 2022, the Apple company will enter a new “Lockdown Mode” to the iPhone and Mac operating systems.

Benefits and functions of the Lockdown Mode feature on iPhone and Mac operating systems

This security feature is intended to help users combat high levels of spyware activity.

Apppe said the new feature could provide strong protection for device owners who could be targeted by government tracking using powerful spyware. This activity has great potential for journalists, activists, and human rights defenders. However, that doesn't mean that ordinary citizens can't be affected as well.

Spyware is malicious software that is secretly installed onto a victim's device to monitor the victim's digital activities. The masterminds behind the proliferation of spyware such as NSO Group, Candiru, and Cytrox can penetrate device security protections to plant spyware at the behest of their government clients.

Apple is usually quick to release security updates for its devices. But efforts to increase the iPhone's security against this kind of activity don't always work.

Security researchers say it is not uncommon for government-grade spyware to read messages, call logs, download photos, secretly record device microphones and phone calls, take photos using the phone's camera, access victims' passwords, and track the phone's location in real time.

By launching “Lockdown Mode,” those who are the target of the hack can immediately disable a number of features. Like limiting what code can run in apps and on websites. This mode also limits important areas, such as iMessage and FaceTime.

Lockdown Mode will also prevent iPhones and Macs from installing configuration profiles. It is typically used for deployment of security settings and protections across a fleet of devices. But it can be misused by spyware to secretly monitor and download content on the victim's device. Wired connections are also blocked when this mode is enabled, preventing the hardware from retrieving data.

In an announcement, Apple said the new locking feature "further strengthens device defenses and strictly limits certain functions, sharply reducing attacks that could potentially be exploited by highly targeted spyware."

Apple says the feature will be available on iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura, which are slated for release later this year alongside Apple's new iPhones.

Photo: Apple

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