Apple to release 'blocked mode' to protect iPhone and other devices from hackers

July 7, 2022

Core Tip: Apple Inc (AAPL.US) said on Wednesday local time that it will release a new feature called "Lockdown Mode" as part of the latest operating systems for iPhone, iPad and Mac computers to protect users from Attacked by some hackers.
Apple Inc (AAPL.US) said on Wednesday it will release a new feature called "Lockdown Mode" as part of its latest operating systems for iPhones, iPads and Macs to protect users from certain hacker attack.

The tech giant said in a statement on its website that the move was "an extreme, optional measure of protection for a very small number of users facing serious, targeted threats to digital security."

It is understood that Apple's iPhone devices have been repeatedly hacked by Israel's NSO Group, known primarily for its Pegasus spyware. Apple is currently suing NSO Group, which is currently blacklisted by the US government.

Apple said that once blockade mode is turned on, it will "further strengthen defenses" while severely restricting certain features. For example, with the exception of images, most email attachments are blocked and link previews are disabled. Some web browsing technologies such as just-in-time Javascript compilation are also disabled.

Incoming invitations and service requests (such as FaceTime calls) will be blocked if the iPhone user has not previously sent a call or request to the originator.

Finally, Apple says that when the iPhone is blocked, the wired connection to the computer or accessory is blocked. The tech giant also said that more features will go into lockdown mode over time.

In addition, Apple says it will pay $2 million for every bug found in lockdown mode, which is known as a "bug bounty." The company also said it will allocate $10 million and use all proceeds from the lawsuit against NSO Group to support groups that expose cyberattacks. The money will go to the Dignity and Justice Fund, set up and consulted by the Ford Foundation.

Separately, Apple recently slashed trade-in prices on some iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch versions, and the tech giant is now gearing up for a new product launch later this year.