Apple put forward its newest security feature a few days ago. They are now offering 2 million dollars to whoever can hack it.
Last month, Apple previewed iOS 16, the next version of its mobile operating system. To get ready for its launch this fall, they’ve been publishing developers betas every few weeks. They put out iOS 16 Beta 3 a few days ago. Developers and journalists discovered a new feature that which hadn’t been communicated before: Lockdown Mode.
The tech giant did not communicate about this feature at its public conference last week. This is because only a handful of users will be using it. As Apple puts it, it is “an extreme, optional level of security for the very few users who, because of who they are or what they do, maybe personally targeted by some of the most sophisticated digital threats, such as those from NSO Group and other private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware.”
The reason the masses will not adopt this feature (even though it is available to everyone) is because it limits many functionalities according to their website:
- Messages: Most message attachment types other than images are blocked. Some features, like link previews, are disabled.
- 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.
- Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enroll into mobile device management (MDM), while Lockdown Mode is turned on.
Testing this Feature
Now Apple both want to prove the success of its new technology but also wants to test it. They have now announced that they are offering up to USD $2,000,000 prizes to hackers that can exploit this new feature. While it isn’t unusual for big tech companies to offer rewards to hackers that can break their security systems, this amount has never been offered. Again, this is a way for Apple to show its commitment to security and privacy.
Apple software has always been leading the industry in terms of privacy protection and security. They have been using the argument more and more in their marketing campaigns. It is understandable why it is more important than ever for their image to avoid large attacks.
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