New Lockdown Mode Can Be Detected By Multiple Apps

Several capabilities that can be used to hack iPhone users are disabled by Lockdown Mode. However, the absence of these functionalities also makes it simpler to identify Lockdown Mode (LM) users. Users will be able to activate a new privacy option that the firm terms “extreme” after Apple releases the new operating system for the iPhone and iPad early next month.

It is intended for journalists, activists, politicians, human rights advocates, and anybody else who may be concerned about being a target of skilled hackers who may be acting on behalf of governments and using spyware produced by firms like NSO Group. Its function is to disable some standard iPhone functionalities that have previously been used to hack users, and Apple refers to it as “Lockdown Mode.”

The Lockdown Mode Makes You Vulnerable To Hackers

However, if users activate LM, it will be simple to fingerprint and recognize them, claims a developer who built a proof-of-concept website that can tell whether LM is used or not. In other words, because Lockdown Mode is likely not very prevalent, users of it will be easy to spot and will stick out.

One of the capabilities that LM prevents, loading custom fonts, is detectable by any website or online advertisement, according to John Ozbay, the CEO of privacy-focused business Cryptee and a privacy campaigner. According to Ozbay, websites can detect a number of the capabilities that Lockdown Mode disables, but the absence of loading custom fonts is “the easiest thing to detect and exploit.”

Technically speaking, this problem—which is essentially a particular weakness in how Lockdown Mode is created, not a bug—could paint a huge bullseye on the back of users, who are probably Apple’s most vulnerable customers. Sadly, there may be no getting around it.