Ars Technica endorses Apple's lockdown mode

"Lockdown mode is a big deal for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that it comes from Apple."

From Dan Goodin's "Why Lockdown mode from Apple is one of the coolest security ideas ever" posted Wednesday:

Mercenary spyware is one of the hardest threats to combat. It targets an infinitesimally small percentage of the world, making it statistically unlikely for most of us to ever see. And yet, because the sophisticated malware only selects the most influential individuals (think diplomats, political dissidents, and lawyers), it has a devastating effect that’s far out of proportion to the small number of people infected.

This puts device and software makers in a bind. How do you build something to protect what’s likely well below 1 percent of your user base against malware built by companies like NSO Group, maker of clickless exploits that instantly convert fully updated iOS and Android devices into sophisticated bugging devices.

On Wednesday, Apple previewed an ingenious option it plans to add to its flagship OSes in the coming months to counter the mercenary spyware menace. The company is upfront—almost in your face—that Lockdown mode is an option that will degrade the user experience and is intended for only a small number of users...

Lockdown mode is a big deal for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that it comes from Apple, a company that’s hyper-sensitive about customer perception. Officially acknowledging that its customers are vulnerable to the scourge of mercenary spyware is a big step.

But the move is big because of its simplicity and concreteness. No security snake oil here. If you want better security, learn to do without the services that pose the biggest threat. John Scott-Railton, a Citizen Lab researcher who knows a thing or two about counseling victims of NSO spyware, said Lockdown mode provides one of the first effective courses for vulnerable individuals to follow short of turning off their devices altogether.

My take: In the cat-and-mouse game of mercenary spyware, the new cat has deeper pockets and better engineers.


  1. Steven Philips said:
    Plus, hopefully, those high profile leaders, diplomats, legislators etc. who are protected would be less likely to push for or vote for restrictions on Apple. (I know. I’m dreaming!)

    July 7, 2022
    • Fred Stein said:
      “But You’re not the only one
      I hope someday you’ll join us
      And the world will be as one”


      July 8, 2022
  2. Michael Goldfeder said:
    @Steven: All you need to know is that’s Vestager’s mouse in that picture. In real time they both display the same strange arm movements.

    July 7, 2022

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