Lock your iPhone to protect against spyware and other targeted cyber attacks « iOS and iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

If you think that you might be a potential target of a black hat hacker, there is a new security feature for iOS that offers ultimate protection for your iPhone against spyware, phishing attempts and other very sophisticated cyber attacks.

While anyone can activate the advanced security measure iOS 16 Later, most of you won’t have to because cyber-attacks that are designed to protect against them are rare, primarily targeting politicians, journalists, military, investors, human rights defenders, dissidents, lawyers, activists, government workers, and other potential targets of state-sponsored mercenary spyware.

The new maximum security capability also works on iPadOS 16.1 for iPad and macOS 13 Ventura for Mac, which are Still in beta.

What does the insurance status affect?

When you turn on Apple’s new Lock Mode, you reduce potential attack surfaces and entry routes for highly targeted spyware attacks and exploits. A cybersecurity tool strengthens device defenses, restricts various functions on your iPhone, limits certain websites, apps, and features, and even makes some experiences unavailable.

  • Internet browsers: It blocks some complex web technologies, such as JavaScript just-in-time (JIT) compilation, which causes websites to slow down or load incorrectly. Images and web fonts may not display or render correctly. If you need the content to run normally for a particular website, you can exclude it from lock mode as trusted site. While excluded websites apply to Safari, everything else works as well with third-party browsers like Chrome (The left picture is below), Firefox, Edge, and Opera. In the examples below, you can see that the original web font used (Center) being replaced (truly).
  • confrontation time: It blocks incoming calls unless you have called the contact before. The caller will get a “FaceTime Unavailable” message after the connection fails, and you’ll get a notification telling you who tried to FaceTime. Beyond that, there is no record that someone has attempted FaceTime for you.
  • Apple services: It blocks new invitations to Apple services unless you’ve invited the contact before. For example, an invitation to manage a home in the Home app will be blocked unless you’ve invited them previously.
  • Shared albums: It blocks new invites and removes albums already shared with you from the Photos app. However, you can still view albums shared with you in the Photos app on other iCloud-connected devices that aren’t locked.
  • USB accessories: Wired connections to USB accessories or computers are prohibited unless you unlock your iPhone first.
  • Configuration profiles: block installation configuration profiles and sign up for Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Device Supervision. However, any configuration or management profiles already installed will continue to work as normal, and you can temporarily disable Lock mode to install profiles when needed.

Who Should Use Lock Mode?

As mentioned before, Lockdown Mode is for users who could be potential targets of malware or spyware attacks, where the hacked information on their device is of great importance. For example, politicians, journalists, the military, investors, human rights defenders, dissidents, lawyers, activists, government workers, and other potential targets of state-sponsored mercenary spyware.

According to Apple, “Lockdown Mode is a severely optional protection designed for the very small number of individuals who, because of who they are or what they do, may be personally targeted by some of the most complex digital threats. Most people are never targeted by attacks of this type.”

Unless you’re a potential vector for a highly sensitive data attack, you probably won’t be in a situation where you need to use lockout mode. However, you can follow the steps below to enable it.

How to enable lock mode?

Go to Settings -> Privacy and Security -> Lock mode. A new page will open where you can read a brief explanation of what Lock mode does. Tap “Turn on Lock Mode” to enable the feature.

After that, a new page will open that explains the functions of Lockdown Mode in more depth. After knowing what you’re about to activate, tap “Turn on Locked Mode” again, then “Turn on and Restart” when prompted. You will be asked for your passcode to continue, and the device will restart.

How do you exclude websites from lockout mode?

Open Safari and head to the website you want to exclude. Press the Page Settings (AA) button, then Website Settings, and turn off the new Lock Mode switch.

You can edit the excluded websites by going to the Lock Mode section of the Privacy and Security settings. Click Configure Web Browsing, then Exclude Safari Websites, and you’ll see a list of excluded websites. You can toggle lock mode on and off for each one.

How to disable lock mode?

Go to the Lock Mode section of Privacy and Security settings, and tap Turn Lock Mode off. A message will appear asking for confirmation; Click “Power off and restart”, and it will ask you for the passcode again before restarting your iPhone.

Will Apple continue to improve Lockdown Mode?

Like most features, of course. Apple may include more device protections for Lockdown mode in the future. It actively makes sure that it is one of the most powerful and reliable features that iOS offers with the Apple Security Bounty Program. A new category in the program is dedicated to receiving feedback, abuses, zero days, and other vulnerabilities from the security research community. To show its dedication to Lockdown Mode, Apple has also doubled the bug bounty rates in Lockdown Mode, and researchers can earn up to $2 million for eligible reports.

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Cover image and screenshots by Brenda Ramirez / Gadget Hacks

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