Apple’s Lockdown Mode: The Latest Defense Against Government Spyware

Fact-checked

Bleeping Computer recently informed that Apple has announced a new security feature called Lockdown Mode, which is primarily intended to offer hacking and spyware protection to high-risk individuals, such as journalists and human rights defenders. The disclosure followed Apple’s suit against NSO Group in November 2021 for targeting and monitoring Apple users with NSO’s surveillance technology.

The Lockdown Mode is expected to roll out with iOS 16, iPad OS 16, and macOS Ventura, and as statistics show, it will affect more than 50% of US phone users. Once you enable the feature, you’ll receive messaging and online browsing security protections designed to block government-backed hackers’ mercenary spyware, which is used to monitor Apple devices after they’ve been infected with malware.

Although you already have an option to enhance your browsing security by connecting your iPhone to a VPN, Apple’s iOS operating system will be updated to further enhance your security. Lockdown Mode is expected to prevent attackers from exploiting Apple devices using zero-click vulnerabilities in messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facetime or internet browsers since it will disable vulnerable features like link previews. It will also affect Apple services, as incoming FaceTime calls and other invitations and requests will be blocked if the user hasn’t previously sent the initiator a call or service request.

How Do I Know if My Phone Is Hacked?

Although not a determining factor, here are the most common signs your phone has been hacked:

  • High Data Usage

When a phone is hacked, it consumes more data than a secure one, as hackers will install additional harmful apps or steal information from them. Look for indications of greater data usage than usual.

  • Fast Battery Draining

If your battery is depleting quicker than usual, it could be a sign of hacking. Phones that have been hacked drain their batteries very quickly.

  • Spam Pop-Ups

Although all phone users can experience pop-ups every now and then, if you’re getting them on a regular basis, it’s possible the phone has adware on it.

  • Slow Overall Performance

A hacked phone will be generally less efficient. If you discover your phone’s performance has suddenly slowed, it may be a concerning sign.

  • Suspicious Apps

If you see apps on your phone you don’t remember downloading, it can be a sign your phone has been hacked. These apps are usually malware that has been installed without your knowledge.

  • Unusual Activity

If you notice any unusual activity on your device, such as unexpected text messages, strange notifications, or redirected phone calls, it’s important to take action immediately. These could be signs your device has been hacked and someone is trying to communicate with you through it.

ABOUT AUTHOR

For me, keeping up with and sharing the latest news and events is crucial, since we live in a world that’s full of misleading information. Apart from being a full-time reader and writer, and a passionate music and caffeine addict, I love to spend my free time engaging in other creative activities, such as drawing and painting.

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