Over years, Apple has developed a reputation for manufacturing highly secure gadgets and devices. Its well-known product lines, including a variety of iPhone models, iPads and Mac laptops and personal computers, benefit from an exclusive software, which provides maximum privacy and unauthorised usage protection. Just recently, the tech giant brought forth a new feature designed to protect users from hackers and malware. Apple launched Lockdown Mode as a strong deterrent against hacking attempts, particularly those targetted towards human rights activists, lawyers, and individuals with political influence. The company also offered grant funding worth $10 million and a record-breaking bug bounty of up to $2 million to encourage more research and creative solutions.

lockdown mode apple

How the Lockdown Mode Works

The Lockdown Mode can perform several functions, but its main task is to provide extreme protections in case an iPhone is subject to hacking activities. We note down some of these protective measures:

  • Blocks potentially suspicious web browsers, attachments and link previews in spam messages, and calls from unknown numbers.
  • The device has to be unlocked first before it accepts any accessory connection. (Applies to all Apple devices.)
  • When you activate Lockdown Mode, you can neither install nor remotely access any management software.

Inspiration Behind this New Feature

The decision to develop an extreme protective mode for Apple products came in the heels of the Pegasus software fiasco. Created by the NSO Group, Pegasus is a software capable of breaking into an iPhone from a remote location. The alarming part about this hacking tool is that targets need not click links or tap buttons. In effect, Apple filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group while the United States government blacklisted the company, effectively banning its makers from conducting business in the U.S.

Importance of the Lockdown Mode

The Pegasus attacks targetted specific individuals and industries. It was used to monitor the activities of human rights advocates, legal professionals, politicians and media personnel from around the world. In the last eight months, similar attacks on people across more than a hundred countries were also detected. Intrusive software and spyware like Pegasus can penetrate different computer systems while cloaking hackers in anonymity. By launching the Lockdown Mode, Apple adds a stronger layer of protection for users, especially victims of targetted hacking attacks.

Target Launch Date

Lockdown Mode has yet to be officially launched. It is currently available as a test software and will not be released for public use until the fall. This feature will be part of the new Apple updates, which include the MacOS Ventura, iOS 16 and iPadOS 16. No fees required to obtain this feature. Users will get it for free along with the aforementioned OS updates.

Grant Funding and Bug Bounty

After giving the public a heads-up about the Lockdown Mode, Apple announced its support for human rights and social justice advocacies through a $10 million grant to the Dignity and Justice Fund. It reflects Apple's commitment towards protecting targetted users from mercenary spyware. The grant will hopefully increase research efforts to identify, expose and prevent these threats. A bug bounty of up to $2 million is also available for individuals or groups with the ability to test and detect program vulnerabilities. Terms and payout amount vary depending on the issue reported.

Global Significance

As state-sponsored cyberattacks and hacking grow more rampant, Apple's efforts to address security concerns have never been more timely. It is a leap forward for the tech industry, which often bears the brunt of these attacks. Spyware attacks like Pegasus are different from virus and malicious software in that they are deliberately designed to retrieve confidential information. They do not spread fast and indiscriminately, but are rather a concerted effort to invade the privacy of a specific target.

Update Your Apple Device

Once the new operating systems are available, be sure to upgrade your existing OS. You will automatically have access to the Lockdown Mode feature after you update your iPhone, iPad or Mac. Stay tuned for the Apple Lockdown Mode launch this September 2022. If you want to switch to a new smartphone, tablet or PC, explore our tech store today! Find the latest Apple products at reasonable rates only at Mobileciti. We deliver Australia wide.