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Apple releases "lockdown mode" for iPhone fighting hackers

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Apple's move occurs after at least two Israeli companies have exploited a software flaw. VCG via Getty Images

Apple will introduce a new feature called "Lockdown Mode" on Wednesday. He said he plans to release it. This fall is aimed at adding a new layer of protection against human rights advocates, political dissidents and other targets of advanced hacking attacks.

This move allows at least two Israeli companies to exploit a flaw in Apple's softwareremotely without the target clicking or tapping anything. Occurs after breaking into iPhone. NSO Group, the manufacturer of "Pegasus" software capable of carrying out such attacks, was sued by Apple and blacklisted by US authorities.

"Lockdown Mode" will be available on Apple's iPhones, iPads and Macs this fall, and when turned on it will block most attachments sent to the iPhone's messaging app.

Security researchers believe that NSO Group has exploited a flaw in the way Apple handles message attachments. The new mode also blocks wired connections to the iPhone when the iPhone is locked. The Israeli company Cellebrite uses such a manual connection to access the iPhone.

Apple representatives say that advanced attacks designed to fight new features (called"zero-click" hacking techniques) are still relatively rare. Said that most users don't think they need it. Activate the new mode.

Spyware companies claim that the government sells powerful technologies that help stop national security threats. However, human rights groups and journalists have repeatedly documented the use of spyware to attack civil society, undermine political opposition, and thwart elections.

To enhance the new features, Apple said security researchers will pay up to $ 2 million for each flaw they can find in the new mode. Apple said it was the best such "bug bounty" offered in the industry.

Apple also has a $ 10 million grant to find, publish, and prevent targeted hacking revenues from proceedings against NSO Group. He said he would provide it to the active group. Apple said the grant will go to a fund of dignity and justice established by the Ford Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States.