Over the years, technology has become less and less secure due to new developments in spyware. One of the biggest developers of this type of spyware is Israel's NSO Group, which has been known to hack phones belonging to high-profile political figures and activists, as well as investigative journalists. Apple sued NSO last fall, according to NBC News, and has created a $10 million grant to support organizations that investigate attacks of this kind.
"The grant will be made to the Dignity and Justice Fund established and advised by the Ford Foundation — a private foundation dedicated to advancing equity worldwide — and designed to pool philanthropic resources to advance social justice globally," said a statement from Apple.
Apple's new feature, "Lockdown Mode" will allow devices to perform precisely what the name projects: a lockdown of your device in case of an extreme cyberattack.
What is Lockdown Mode?
When this feature is enabled, your device "will not function as it typically does," according to Apple. "Apps, websites, and features will be strictly limited for security, and some experiences will be completely unavailable."
If your phone is switched to Lockdown Mode, the following capabilities will be inhibited:
Messages: Most message attachment types other than images will be blocked. Some features (link previews, for example) are disabled, says Apple.
Apple services: 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 iPhone is locked.
Apple also says they will continue to "strengthen" Lockdown Mode over time and add new protections to it.
Even though extreme cyber security threats and attacks are very scarce and the chance of one occurring on the average person's device is extremely rare, there's always a slight possibility for them to occur — hence this new contingency feature.
"Lockdown Mode is a groundbreaking capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest, most sophisticated attacks,” Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture," said in a statement.
“While the vast majority of users will never be the victims of highly targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users who are. That includes continuing to design defenses specifically for these users, as well as supporting researchers and organizations around the world doing critically important work in exposing mercenary companies that create these digital attacks.”
According to Apple, this new feature will be released with iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura in the fall of 2022.