On its website, Apple announced it is devising a technology for specialized additional protection to users who may be at risk of highly targeted cyberattacks.
The company currently is working on two initiatives with the first being a so called "Lockdown Mode" which the company describes as "the first major capability of its kind". It will be introduced this autumn on iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. This is an extreme, optional protection for the very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security.
Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture provided more details on the new technology:
Lockdown Mode is a groundbreaking capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest, most sophisticated attacks. 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.
On its website, the company mentioned that the technology may be used to protect users from such programmes as those developed by the Israeli NSO Group, previously accused of selling its technology to governments all around the world which they used to target opposition journalists and human rights activists.
The Dignity and Justice Fund
The second initiative is Apple's new $10 million cybersecurity grant aimed at supporting civil society organizations that conduct mercenary spyware threat research and advocacy.
The Dignity and Justice Fund expects to make its first grants in late 2022 or early 2023, initially funding approaches to help expose mercenary spyware and protect potential targets.