Apple has announced (6th June 22) a new ‘Lockdown Mode’ for iPhones, iPads and Macs to protect against ‘Pegasus-style’ cyber-attacks. Lockdown Mode is an optional protection for users who face ‘grave, targeted threats to their digital security’, like journalists and activists. When a device is in Lockdown Mode, apps, websites and features are restricted for security reasons, and others are completely disabled.
Apple calls Lockdown Mode ‘the first major capability of its kind’. Lockdown Mode offers ‘an extreme, optional level of security,’ according to Apple. But while Lockdown Mode hardens device defences, it also strictly limits certain functionalities—the inevitable trade-off for such strong security. For example, using Lockdown Mode, most message attachment types other than images are blocked and features such as link previews are disabled. Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not previously sent the initiator a call or request. Wired connections with a computer or accessory are blocked when the iPhone is locked
Lockdown Mode clearly isn’t for everyone, the vast majority of iPhone users will never be a victim of highly targeted cyberattacks, such as the ‘zero click’ attack using the Pegasus spyware. However, it will provide an additional level of security for a small group that may be targeted.
Lockdown Mode will be released this autumn (likely sometime in Sept) with iOS 16.