Apple Inc AAPL is previewing a measure to protect people who face sophisticated cyberattacks.
What Happened: The Tim Cook-led company said it is “previewing a groundbreaking security capability” for users targeted by cyberattacks from private companies that develop state-sponsored mercenary software, according to a statement on Wednesday.
“Lockdown Mode” is set to be released this fall along with iOS 16, iPadOS16, and macOS Ventura, according to Apple.
The optional feature is for the “very small number of users” who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security, according to the tech giant.
“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,” said Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture.
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Why It Matters: Apple said the lockdown mode will protect Messages, web browsing, and Apple services, among other things, and would “continue to strengthen” over time.
In December 2020, it was reported that an iPhone “Zero Click” vulnerability was exploited by the Israel-based NSO Group to target more than three dozen Al Jazeera journalists.
On Wednesday, Apple announced a $10 million grant, on top of any damages awarded from the lawsuit filed against NSO Group, to support organizations that investigate, expose and prevent highly-targeted cyberattacks.
The grant will be awarded to the "Dignity and Justice Fund," established by the Ford Foundation.
Benzinga's Take: Apple's move to protect users comes after it was questioned by lawmakers this year on its ability to detect NSO Group tools that target the iPhone. The NSO software poses a serious threat to human rights campaigners, journalists, and other vulnerable persons.
Price Action: On Wednesday, Apple shares closed 1% higher at $142.92 in the regular session and fell 0.1% in the after-hours trading, according to data from Benzinga Pro.
Photo via Alberto Garcia Guillen on Shutterstock
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