Spyware campaigns combated by Apple’s new Lockdown Mode feature

Spyware Cyberattack Campaigns Apple Lockdown Mode Feature iOS MacOS Mac Apple Devices

As Apple’s updated operating system comes nearer to its rollout this year, the tech giant announced that the latest OS version would include a new security feature, Lockdown Mode, to protect high-risk people against targeted spyware campaigns.

The new security feature would be included in Apple’s iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura.

According to Apple, the Lockdown Mode feature would allow users to block spyware tools usually propagated by state-backed threat groups in spying on people’s devices after a malware infection. The new feature consists of messaging, web browsing, and connectivity defences.

 

The spyware campaigns against Apple devices would be automatically blocked once the new Lockdown Mode feature detected it.

 

These spyware tools aim to compromise Apple users by exploiting the device’s vulnerabilities to target most used messaging applications like WhatsApp and Viber and web browsers like Safari and Chrome. Apple added that the new feature would further strengthen Apple devices’ security and strictly limit risky functionalities, reducing potential compromises due to spyware.

Apple also laid down some of the new capabilities of the Lockdown Mode, including stronger security for messages, web browsers, in-app Apple services, wired connections, and configuration profiles.

The tech giant stated that they are also open to feedback and collaboration with security researchers, as they established a security bounty program that would reward researchers that could find bypasses on the new Apple feature, which could be useful in improving its functionalities. The maximum payout for an identified critical bypass could reach up to $2M.

It could be recalled that in November 2021, Apple sued the NSO Group, the maker of the Pegasus spyware, for spying on several high-risk individuals that use Apple devices. Several other spyware campaigns targeting Apple users were reported in the past years, pushing the tech giant to reinforce an upgraded security feature to further defend their users against such threats.

Apple’s representative also shared that the new Lockdown Mode feature reflects the company’s commitment to protecting its users against the most sophisticated cyberattacks.

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