What is Apple’s Lockdown Mode?

By Govind

As you might know that most features of Apple’s device software are typically revealed at the WWDC conference, which takes place in June every year, but this time Apple surprised all of us by this sudden release of the new feature. We all know Apple makes announcement at WWDC event every year, and this is an unlikely event of release of new features, but what can we say. It is Apple: Unpredictable! This new feature is called “Lockdown Mode” which is available for iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura.Let us see what this new feature of lockdown mode has in store for us.

What is Apple’s Lockdown Mode?

Lockdown mode is made in a way that protects users from highly targeted mercenary spyware. Apple has stated in a press release that this is not intended for every single user. However, it is intended for a very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security.

Lockdown Mode strengthens device defences and strictly limits certain functionalities, significantly reducing the attack surface that could potentially be exploited by highly targeted mercenary spyware.

Keep in mind that when Lockdown Mode is enabled, many common iPhone features will be disabled, causing more inconvenience to users. I think disabling some other feature is more convenient rather than exposing our self to unknown threat. When the Lockdown Mode is enabled:Apple will also block all incoming notifications, service requests, and FaceTime calls from strangers. According to the released statement, FaceTime calls will be blocked if the user has not previously sent the initiator a call or request. When the iPhone is locked, wired connections to a computer or accessory are disabled. Furthermore, no work or school configuration profiles can be installed. Most attachments in the Messages app will be blocked. Only images will be permitted. Link previews, for example, will also be disabled.

This is intended, however, for a very small number of people, including government officials, journalists, and others, who have valuable data that requires extra security. In other words, while the vast majority of people reading this will never need to use Lockdown Mode, you should be aware of it if you care about data security.

“Apple makes the most secure mobile devices on the market. Lockdown Mode is a ground breaking 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 defences 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.”

Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture quoted:

Released features of Lockdown Mode during the launch:

  • All message attachment types except images are prohibited. Link previews are also turned off.
  • Unless the user excludes a trusted site from Lockdown Mode, certain complex web technologies, such as just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled.
  • Incoming notifications and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not previously called or requested the initiator.
  • When iPhone is locked, other wired connections attached to a computer or accessory will be disabled.
  • When Lockdown Mode is enabled, configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot be enrolled in mobile device management (MDM).

Apple will leave no stones unturned to improve Lockdown Mode and keep adding new safeguards and protections to it over time for the benefit of the users.Apple isn’t just stopping here, Apple has also decided to donate $10 million to the Dignity and Justice Fund to help fund research into such threats. Moreover, there is a reward! Apple has established a new category within the Apple Security Bounty programme to reward researchers who discover Lockdown Mode bypasses and help improve its protections in order to solicit feedback and collaboration from the security research community. Bounties are doubled for qualifying discoveries in Lockdown Mode, up to a maximum of $2,000,000, the industry’s highest maximum bounty pay out. Who would have thought finding flaws would make you rich!

Until next time, with another topic. Till then, Toodles.

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By Govind
Being in love with the tech world, Govind joined the technology world in 2015 and started writing about tech stuff (mobile, PC, games, other gadgets). He loves playing games, travelling, photography and sharing the latest news & updates about every Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.).

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