“Lockdown Mode” is coming for iPhones, iPad tablets and Mac computers in autumn. This is intended to increase protection against hacker attacks.

Apple allows users who could be targeted by hacker attacks to better protect their devices. The “Lockdown Mode” setting also significantly restricts the functions.

With the Messages chat service, for example, most attachments are blocked except for images and no link previews are displayed. Calls via Apple’s Facetime telephony service are only permitted if the user has previously contacted the caller himself.

The “Lockdown Mode” (German name: “Blocking Mode”) will be available for iPhones, iPad tablets and Mac computers in the fall, as Apple announced. Politicians, journalists and activists are often targeted by secret services trying to obtain data via vulnerabilities in the software of devices. There are also companies like the Israeli company NSO, whose monitoring software Pegasus has also been used successfully against iPhones. Previously known attacks with Pegasus would have been prevented by the “lockdown mode”.

Apple has filed a lawsuit against NSO for allowing iPhone users to be spied on. The company has always claimed that it only sells its technology to security agencies. According to the findings of IT experts, for example from the Canadian Citizen Lab, Pegasus is also said to have been used against journalists and political activists from authoritarian governments.

Apple wants to pass on possible compensation payments from the NSO process to IT security researchers – and is also supporting them with ten million dollars (around 9.8 million euros). Citizen Lab founder Ron Deibert said he hopes to use the money to set up a broader network of experts.

In the attacks, the hackers prefer to use security gaps that are not yet generally known. Companies like Apple offer rewards for finding such vulnerabilities so they are not misused for such purposes. Apple is now doubling the maximum payment for particularly serious vulnerabilities to two million dollars.