Apple releases new lock mode to fight spyware, providing an extra layer of protection

Apple on Wednesday said it plans to release a new feature called Lockdown Mode this fall that aims to add a new layer of protection for human rights advocates, dissidents and activists. ​and other targets of sophisticated hacking attacks.

The move comes after at least two Israeli companies have exploited vulnerabilities in Applesoftware for remote hacking Iphone the target doesn’t need to click or tap anything. NSO Group, manufacturer Pegasus software that can carry out such attacks, has been sued by Apple and placed on a trade blacklist by US authorities.

Lockdown mode is coming to Apple’s iPhones, iPad and Mac this fall and turning it on will block most attachments from being sent to the iPhone’s Messages app. Security researchers believe that NSO The team exploited a flaw in the way Apple handles message attachments. The new mode will also block wired connections to iPhones when they’re locked. Israeli company Cellebrite used such manual connections to access iPhones.

Apple representatives said they believe the sophisticated attacks the new feature is designed to combat – known as “zero click” hacking techniques – are still relatively rare and most users won’t need to. must enable the new mode.

Spyware The companies have argued that they sell powerful technology to help governments thwart national security threats. But human rights groups and journalists have repeatedly documented the use of spyware to attack civil society, undermine political opposition and interfere in elections.

To help improve the new feature, Apple said it will pay up to $2 million (nearly Rs 15) for each vulnerability that security researchers can find in the new mode, which Apple representatives said. known as the highest “bug bounty” offered in the industry.

Apple also said it is donating $10 million (nearly 80 crore), plus any money that may be obtained from the lawsuit against NSO Group, to the teams that find, expose, and work to prevent it. block targeted attacks. Apple said the funding will go to the Dignity and Justice Foundation established by the Ford Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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