“Lockdown Mode” – Coming to the iPhone, iPad and Mac this September!
In a newsroom post, Apple on July 6 announced the new feature which will be coming to iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura in autumn. The tech giant describes the new feature as “an extreme, optional protection for the very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security.”
Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture Ivan Krstić said, “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. While the vast majority of users will never be the victims of highly targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users who are. That includes continuing to design defenses specifically for these users, as well as supporting researchers and organizations around the world doing critically important work in exposing mercenary companies that create these digital attacks.”
Scheduled to launch around September, Lockdown Mode will offer these protections for users:
- Messages: Most message attachment types other than images are blocked. Some features, like link previews, are disabled.
- 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.
In an effort to strengthen Lockdown Mode over time, Apple has increased the reward amount a researcher can earn for bypassing the protection from $1 million to $2 million, as part of the Apple Security Bounty program. It is the biggest bounty payout ever in the industry.
Also, Apple is making a $10 million grant to the Dignity and Justice Fund to “support organizations that investigate, expose, and prevent highly targeted cyberattacks, including those created by private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware.”