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Apple to release iPhone ‘Lockdown Mode’ amid hackers battle

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Apple on Wednesday said it plans to release a recent feature called “Lockdown Mode” this fall that goals so as to add a recent layer of protection for human rights advocates, political dissidents and other targets of sophisticated hacking attacks.

The move comes after at the least two Israeli firms have exploited flaws in Apple’s software to remotely break into iPhones without the goal needing to click or tap anything. NSO Group, the maker of the “Pegasus” software that may perform such attacks, has been sued by Apple and placed on a trade blacklist by US officials.

“Lockdown Mode” will come to Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Macs this fall and turning it on will block most attachments sent to the iPhone’s Messages app.

Security researchers imagine NSO Group exploited a flaw in how Apple handled message attachments. The brand new mode will even block wired connections to iPhones once they are locked. Israeli firm Cellebrite has used such manual connections to access iPhones.

Apple representatives said that they imagine sophisticated attacks the brand new feature is designed to fight — called “zero click” hacking techniques — are still relatively rare and that the majority users won’t must lively the brand new mode.

Spyware firms have argued they sell high-powered technology to assist governments thwart national security threats. But human rights groups and journalists have repeatedly documented the usage of spyware to attack civil society, undermine political opposition, and interfere with elections.

“Lockdown Mode” will come to Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Macs this fall.Apple

Lockdown message on iPhoneThe brand new mode will even block wired connections to iPhones once they are locked.Apple

To assist harden the brand new feature, Apple said it is going to pay as much as $2 million for every flaw that security researchers can find in the brand new mode, which Apple representatives said was the very best such “bug bounty” offered within the industry.

Apple also said it’s making a $10 million grant, plus any possible proceeds from its lawsuit against NSO Group, to groups that find, expose and work to forestall targeted hacking. Apple said the grant will go to the Dignity and Justice Fund established by the Ford Foundation, one among the most important private foundations in america.

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