This story is part of, CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice around Apple’s most popular product.
Apple will be offering a new “Lockdown Mode” for its iPhones, iPads and Mac computers this fall. It’s designed to fight advanced hacking and targeted spyware like the NSO Group’s Pegasus.
Why it matters
The move is Apple acknowledging, in a way, that the threat is serious and growing. Pegasus was used by repressive governments to spy on human rights activists, lawyers, politicians and journalists.
Cybersecurity watchers believe Apple may push customers and competitors to take stronger security postures. Ultimately, the way we all use technology may have to change.
Three years ago, Apple put up an ad in Las Vegas, showing the backside of one of its devices, with the phrase “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” It was a bold, if cheeky, claim. But Apple is increasingly living up to it.
The tech giant has been ramping up its commitments to privacy and security with a string of new features that cybersecurity experts say are amounting to more than a bullet-point feature to differentiate its products from Samsung gadgets and other devices powered by Google’s Android OS. Instead, Apple’s moves have sent ripples through the advertising world and upset government officials — signs, tech watchers say, that Apple is following through on its promises.
That’s why many cybersecurity experts took notice of Apple’s Lockdown Mode when it was unveiled last Wednesday. The feature is. Among them, Apple’s Lockdown Mode blocks link previews in the messages app, turns off potentially hackable web browsing technologies, and halts any incoming FaceTime calls from unknown numbers. Apple’s devices also won’t accept accessory connections unless the device is unlocked. (Here’s .)
Of the people using its roughly 2 billion active devices around the world, Apple said few would actually need to turn the feature on. But cybersecurity experts say these types of extreme measures may need to become more commonplace as governments around the world broaden who they target while stepping up their frequency of attacks.
In just the last week, the FBI and Britain’s MI5 intelligence organization took the rare step of issuing a joint warning of the “immense” threat Chinese spies pose to “our economic and national security,” and that its hacking program is “bigger than that of every other major country combined.” Other government agencies have made similar warnings about hacking from other adversaries, including Russia, which the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in 2017 in addition to the government and political parties.
And unlike widespread ransomware or virus campaigns, which are often designed to spread as quickly as possible, targeted attacks are often designed for quiet intelligence gathering, which could lead to stolen technology, exposed state secrets and more.
Apple itself said last week that it’s tracked targeted hacking efforts toward people in nearly 150 countries over the past eight months. Apple has already begun a program of warning people when they may be targeted. When Lockdown Mode is released in the fall, cybersecurity experts say, it’ll represent an escalation on Apple’s part, particularly because the feature will be available to anyone who wants to turn it on.
“There were a number of attempts over the years to make highly secure devices, and it’s great to have those things and having them put out there, but we haven’t seen widespread adoption,” said Kurt Opsahl, deputy executive director and general counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for privacy and other civil liberties in the digital world. And though Opsahl believes an up-to-date phone is probably good enough for the average person, he said that any way Apple can raise the cost of hacking a phone helps protect the devices.
“Make no mistake about it, Lockdown Mode will be a major blow,” said Ron Deibert, a professor of political science and director of the Citizen Lab for cybersecurity researchers at the University of Toronto.
Much of Apple’s approach to cybersecurity can be traced back to 2010, when company co-founder Steve Jobs discussed his view of privacy on stage at D8 conference.
“Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English, and repeatedly,” Jobs said. “Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do.”
It was a departure from other internet giants, such as Facebook, whose co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was listening in the audience. Google, Facebook and Amazon largely make their money through targeted advertisements, which are often at odds with user privacy. After all, the more targeted the ad, more relevant and effective it likely is.
Apple, by comparison, makes little of its money from advertisements. Instead, the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers made up more than 70% of its sales last year, adding up to over $259 billion combined.
Accordingly, Apple offers security features by default across the board to all its users. When people download Facebook for the first time and start using it on their phone, they’re quickly greeted with popups asking whether they want to give the app access to their microphone or camera.
Last year, Apple took it a step further, asking if people wanted to stop companies from tracking them across websites and apps, a feature Apple calls. Research surveys suggest nearly all people answer that , a move that Facebook owner Meta said has , costing as much as $10 billion in lost sales this year. “It’s a substantial headwind to work our way through,” Meta CFO David Wehner said in February.
But offering effectively a new mode on iPhones altogether is an entirely new approach. When people activate Lockdown Mode on their device, by flipping a switch in the settings app, it then needs to restart — effectively loading a new set of code and rules under Apple’s “extreme” security measures.
“Apple is ultimately making it as easy as possible to make choices about security and privacy,” said Jeff Pollard, a Forrester analyst who focuses on cybersecurity and risk. Pollard said this approach offers an opportunity for Apple to test the waters between usability and security, while following through on its promise to continually improve on Lockdown Mode over time. “We have to make it easier to do, so our adversaries have to try harder.”
Lockdown Mode may be one of Apple’s most significant security moves to date, but the company still has more it needs to do. Craig Federighi, Apple SVP and head of software, testified to a courtroom last year that his company’s Mac computers face a “significantly larger malware problem” than its iPhones, iPads and other devices.
“Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable,” Federighi said during testimony defending Apple in. Each week, Apple identifies a couple of pieces of malware on its own or with the help of third parties, he said back then, and it uses built-in systems to automatically remove malicious software from customers’ computers. The nasty programs still proliferate, though. In the year ended last May, Federighi said, Apple had fought 130 types of Mac malware, and one program alone infected 300,000 systems.
Lockdown Mode doesn’t directly address widespread malware issues, but it could end up forcing hackers to put even more time and resources toward finding security flaws they can exploit.
“Something has to be done,” said Betsy Sigman, a distinguished teaching professor emeritus at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
An alarming problem to Sigman is that malware developers stand to makefrom targeted hacks like Pegasus. The groups that have sprung up to fight them, meanwhile, are much smaller and need funding both to fight the threat and to help protect and educate potential victims.
“It’s going to cost a lot of money,” Sigman said. Apple pledged a grant of at least $10 million to the Dignity and Justice Fund, which was established by the Ford Foundation, to help support human rights and fight social repression. Sigman said much more investment will be needed. “I hope Apple will get together with other high-tech companies and work together on this.”
Meanwhile, many cybersecurity experts, including Susan Landau, are looking forward to trying out Lockdown Mode when Apple releases it in the fall, along with its annual set of major software upgrades. A cybersecurity and policy professor at Tufts University, and a former employee at Google and , Landau is already careful about what websites she visits and what devices she uses. She keeps a separate Google Chromebook for handling her finances, and she refuses to download most apps to her phone unless she knows she can trust the company that made them.
“It’s convenience versus security,” she said. Landau follows these protocols out of principle, because she — like nearly all of us — doesn’t have the time or capability to validate every app or website’s safety. Apple and Google both havefor their respective app stores, but Landau said the new apps, capabilities and upgrades that arrive each year can make them more vulnerable. “Complexity is the bane of security.”
To her, Lockdown Mode may help us all begin to understand the balance between gee-whiz features and security, particularly as state-sponsored hackers step up their attacks. “People have gotten used to the convenience without understanding the problems,” Landau said. “The convenience we’ve all grown accustomed to has got to change.”
iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar – MacRumors
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and iPhone X.
Battery percent has not been present on iPhones that have Face ID because of the lack of space on either side of the notch that houses the TrueDepth camera hardware. The new design adds the specific battery level to the battery icon, providing a better idea of battery status at a glance.
In iOS 15 and earlier versions of iOS, the battery icon shows a visual of the battery level, but it does not provide a specific percent. To get that information, iPhone users need to swipe down into Control Center or swipe over to the Today center view to see the battery widget.
The battery icon changes colors based on the status of the battery, and the color of the iPhone’s wallpaper. When charging, for example, the battery icon is green and shows a charging indicator.
Battery percentage can be toggled on and off in the Settings app in the Battery section. The battery percentage feature appears to be available on most iPhones that have a notch, but it is not an option on the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 11, or iPhone XR perhaps due to space constraints and/or display quality.
iOS 16 beta 5 is available to developers at the current time, and Apple will be releasing a public beta in the near future.
Apple has “started to record” its virtual September event, where it’s expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new “rugged” Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying…
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup’s color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year.
Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro’s selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the …
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and…
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of iOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, introducing some small but notable changes to the iOS operating system.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We’ve rounded up everything new in the fifth beta below.
Battery Percentage in Status Bar
The battery icon in the status bar now displays the exact battery percent, a feature that …
The camera bump on the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to be the largest rear lens housing Apple has ever installed on its flagship smartphones, and a new photo offers a rare glimpse at just how prominent it is compared to Apple’s predecessor device.
iPhone 14 Pro Max dummy (left) vs iPhone 13 Pro Max All iPhone 14 models are expected to see upgrades to the Ultra Wide camera on the…
While the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 are expected to be announced in September as usual, there are several more Apple products rumored to launch later this year, including new iPad and Mac models and more.
Beyond the iPhone and Apple Watch, we’ve put together a list of five Apple products that are most likely to be unveiled by the end of 2022.
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How to watch Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2022 in Canada – MobileSyrup
Samsung will hold its next Galaxy Unpacked event today, August 10th, at 6am PT/9am ET.
As usual, we don’t know exactly what will be featured there, although it’s expected that we’ll see the Galaxy Fold 4, Galaxy Flip 4, new Galaxy Watches and more.
It’s also worth noting that to coincide with Unpacked 2022, Samsung is offering a $100 e-voucher to use towards your next purchase of any Samsung product. To claim this, you’ll need to register through this site and provide some information, including your name, phone number and current device.
What are you looking forward to seeing at Unpacked 2022? Let us know in the comments.
WhatsApp to bring screenshot blocking to THESE types of messages – HT Tech
WhatsApp to now bring the ability to block screenshots to View Once messages. Know when this feature is coming.
WhatsApp is constantly adding new features to enhance the texting experience and these are coming faster than we could get used to them. Lately, the developers have focused on enhancing the privacy for users with a couple of new features. The ability to leave WhatsApp groups silently has draw a lot of attention lately. One can also choose who can see your online status going forward, and who can’t. However, there is another new feature that will help those who want to share sensitive media and can’t risk someone taking a screenshot of the same.
A while ago, WhatsApp rolled out the ability to send messages that can only be viewed once. The View Once feature currently only allows the media to be shown once but someone can still take a screenshot of the media, thus denying the point of the feature. Now, WhatsApp is modifying the feature, wherein it prevents the ability to take a screenshot. The feature is under development and WhatsApp hasn’t revealed the date yet.
WhatsApp to block screenshot
“View Once is already an incredibly popular way to share photos or media that don’t need to have a permanent digital record. Now we’re enabling screenshot blocking for View Once messages for an added layer of protection. We’re testing this feature now and are excited to roll it out to users soon,” says WhatsApp in its official blog.
WhatsApp will also reveal more about this and several other features in the days to come via its own campaign. “To spread the word about these new layers of protection, we’re also kicking off a campaign to educate people about the new features and our continued commitment to protecting your private conversations on WhatsApp. We hope people enjoy getting to use these new features and benefit from several options that help you keep your messages secure. We look forward to your feedback on what to build next,” it says.
Prior to this WhatsApp, recently released the ability to transfer message backups from Android to iOS devices. The same can be done from iOS to Android as well.
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