Apple filed a lawsuit against ‘Pegasus’ spyware creator NSO Group last fall and announced it would be donating $10 million+ to organizations pursuing cyber-surveillance research and advocacy. Now taking the next step in combatting sophisticated spyware, Apple has announced a brand new “extreme” security feature called iPhone Lockdown Mode – coming to iPad and Mac as well – to help protect against targeted cyber attacks.
Apple detailed the brand-new iPhone Lockdown Mode that will be available to test in updated iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura betas, along with its $10 million+ grant for cybersecurity in a Newsroom post today.
This seems like a really good and welcome feature, so good on Apple for working on it. That being said – I wonder if it will be available in China.
And two days latter NSO Group selling lockdown mode exploits to your local government. I vaguely read the linked article and this is “extreme” mode. Well. It’s like one of those list on how to make your computer faster. And after following it step-by-step. Your computer isn’t faster. But you feel good. As you done something to make your computer faster. People enabling this mode will realize image previews and things like that don’t work anymore. And what will they do after? Enable them. To get a functional phone. People sticking to enabled mode will lack functionality but in regards to security they won’t gain much. Look. I manually enable image preview. I am now secure. Just no. Don’t sell false sense of security to people their life depends on it. It’s unethical to lie like that for a few bucks. Tell them the truth. Your government will always be able to exploit your iPhone and we can’t fix that.
It is a marketing gimmick. Apple is telling their users: look, there are attackers out there exploiting our openness, would you mind locking the device you are using down more? It is good for you.
The truth is, IOS is locked down already, it just has too many security vulnerabilities.
Maybe if they were proposing making these devices less “chatty” and more private. That does make security harder. But I am almost certain they would not budge on this front.