Apple Lockdown Mode: Last year, Apple introduced a new feature for iPhone users worried about being targeted by sophisticated spyware, such as journalists or human rights defenders.
Today, some researchers report that they have found evidence of a new feature called Lockdown Mode that helps block spyware created by the hacking company NSO Group (for example our well-known Predator in the upcoming years, while Pegasus).
On Tuesday, the cybersecurity and human rights research group Citizen Lab he published a report that analyzes three new zero-day exploits in iOS 15 and iOS 16. This means that Apple was unaware of the security holes that were used to target at least two human rights defenders in Mexico.
One of those exploits was blocked by Lockdown Mode, the researchers found. Lockdown Mode was designed to reduce the attack surface on the iPhone. This is the first documented case of Lockdown Mode successfully protecting someone from a targeted attack.
In the recent cases, Citizen Lab researchers reported that the targets' iPhones prevented hacking attempts and displayed a warning that said the Lockdown feature was preventing someone from accessing the phone's Home app. The researchers, however, state that it is very likely that at some point the NSO developers "will discover new ways that fix the notification problem."