Apple will propose a data protection tool for journalists and activists in the fall, after the Pegasus case exposed the technical capabilities of some spyware.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Apple said that Lock mode is “the ultimate optional protection for a small number of users whose digital security is severely compromised.”
These are people who “can be targeted with highly sophisticated attacks, carried out thanks to the programs of the NSO Group and other mercenary companies, which develop computer spyware on behalf of governments,” the California conglomerate explained. In September, Apple had to urgently fix a vulnerability that Pegasus, from the Israeli company NSO Group, could exploit to infect iPhones, without requiring users to press held links or buttons, a process called a ‘zero-response’ click.
The new option allows users to fully secure various services and content on their devices, including attachments. It will also not be possible to connect a computer via a cable to the iPhone if it is locked.
Apple has also expanded its program for cybersecurity researchers and will give up to $2 million to hackers who identify flaws in “Lockdown.”
A year ago, an international media group revealed that Pegasus had allowed it to spy on a number of journalists, activists, businessmen and politicians from several countries, including French President Emmanuel Macron.
The NSO Group has repeatedly emphasized that its technologies enable countries to save lives by tracking down pedophiles and terrorists, for example.
But Apple, which has built its success on an excellent reputation for security and respect for privacy, filed a complaint against the Israeli company in November.
He accused it of being responsible for the “malicious activities” of some of its clients, such as governments.
The lawyers of the American group had indicated in the complaint that “these are unethical mercenaries of the twenty-first century, who have devised ultra-sophisticated electronic surveillance machines, inciting blatant and routine violations.”
Two weeks ago, Google denounced an Italian spyware that was used to hack smartphones, to spy on users in Italy and Kazakhstan.
“These communities facilitate the spread of dangerous hacking tools and the weaponization of governments that otherwise would not be able to develop these skills,” Apple advanced.
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