Apple Fights Malware With “Lockdown Mode”

Apple has launched an extreme “Lockdown Mode” for iOS and MacOS that trades key features for greater security. It’s aimed mainly at people under serious risk of targeted spyware and other online threats.

According to Apple, the mode should only be necessary for people personally targeted, for example by “private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware.”

When it’s launched, Lockdown Mode will have at least five effects, though more may be added later:

  • Most attachments other than images blocked in Messages, with link previews disabled.
  • Some web technologies such as just-in-time JavaScript compilation are blocked unless the user has added the site to a trusted exception list.
  • Incoming “invitations and service requests” are blocked in most apps, including FaceTime calls, from contacts the user hasn’t previously called or sent a request to.
  • Wired connections to other devices are blocked when an iPhone is locked.
  • Mobile device management is blocked and configuration profiles can’t be installed.

Apple has also announced that payouts for its existing security bounty program will be doubled to a maximum of $2 million for researchers who find a way to bypass Lockdown Mode.