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Apple's upcoming operating systems will feature ultra-secure Lockdown Mode

The Apple logo on a black background surrounded by grey and red rings

Apple has announced that the upcoming iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, will feature Lockdown Mode, which is optional protection designed for those who face serious threats to their digital security. Luckily, most people will never need to use it, but for those who do, it will make Apple products must-have tools.

According to the company, Lockdown Mode has been created with certain people in mind who are targeted by advanced attacks created by the likes of NSO Group and other private firms working on state-sponsored malware. Once enabled, Lockdown Mode will offer the following protections:

  • Messages: Most message attachment types other than images are blocked. Some features, like link previews, are disabled.
  • Web browsing: Certain complex web technologies, like just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless the user excludes a trusted site from Lockdown Mode.
  • Apple services: Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not previously sent the initiator a call or request.
  • Wired connections with a computer or accessory are blocked when iPhone is locked.
  • Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enroll into mobile device management (MDM), while Lockdown Mode is turned on.

Over time, Apple will continue to strengthen Lockdown Mode and is actively soliciting feedback from the security community. The Apple Security Bounty programme has a new section now for researchers looking for flaws in Lockdown Mode and all the bounties are doubled – this means you can earn up to $2,000,000 for finding the most serious vulnerabilities.

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