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Apple iOS 16 to have ‘Lockdown Mode’ to avoid cyber attacks

According to various tech reports, US-based technology company Apple has released a new feature named Lockdown Mode, which will help users to evade cyber-attacks. The new feature is expected to be released with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura software.

The new feature will be most useful for users who are into human rights issues, journalists, and individuals who criticise authorities. This feature reportedly can stop spyware assaults and similar attacks against these individuals.

Once Lockdown Mode is activated, the system will take necessary technical measures to ensure that services such as messaging, browsing, and internet connection are safe from spyware attacks. This is a big development at a time when numerous governments are accused of using Pegasus software developed by NSO to infect devices with malware which then snoops data on the phone.

With new features running in the background, hackers and cyberattackers would find it very difficult to get access to services on iOS-run devices. Zero Click attacks which is one of the most used techniques to infect a device with malware would not work with lockdown mode in place.

Several features such as cookies, link previews etc would be disabled on browsers and applications like Instagram and WhatsApp, which would make it difficult for hackers to attack the device using malicious URLs and Malware links.

Most of the attachments which come as messages would be prohibited once the feature is activated. Only photos can be received as messages. This is to ensure that the malware connected with any attachments doesn’t come in contact with the user, as there are possibilities manual actions can endanger the security of the device.

JavaScript (just-in-time IT) compilation and similar web-based technologies would be prohibited on Safari and similar browsers.

Users would also find it difficult to receive incoming calls or messages  from people who have not contacted them before. Even services provided by Apple such as iMessage and FaceTime would have similar restrictions. This is to avoid anonymous calls and messages as much as possible.

Lockdown Mode could also completely prohibit users from installing or devising modifications in profiles, and enrolling the gadget to mobile device management would be entirely restricted.

In the case of internet connections, and such connectivity-related matters, lockdown mode prohibits any sorts of wired connections to any computer or devices.

Screenshots from a tweet by Apple Track @appltrack, suggest that before activating Lockdown Mode on an iPhone, the device put up a message regarding the feature. It Informs the users that tan he features is “an extreme optional protection” which should only be used by people who believe they are facing imminent threat of cyberattacks.  Since everyone is not facing such cyberattacks, only few people might actually need this.

The message also says the device would not behave normally once the feature is activated, as various services and actions would be strictly prohibited and restricted to an extent.

Apple said in a post that the new feature is part of making smartphone devices more safe and more secure. Apple also announced monetary benefits to security researchers who can find issues and loopholes with the new Lockdown Mode.

 

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