Last year Apple launched the Isolation Mode for iPhone, to block advanced spyware attacks, such as those that might target journalists or human rights activists. This feature has been shown to be effective in stop an intrusion attempt by hackers who used spyware produced by the well-known paid strategic hacking provider NSO Group.
Apple’s Isolation Mode blocked NSO’s spyware
A report published Tuesday by Citizen Lab, a research group that deals with information security and human rights, underlines that the “Lockdown” of the Apple works. The report examines three new, unknown vulnerabilities in iOS 15 e iOS 16. Which Apple did not know when they were used to target at least two human rights defenders in Mexico.
Nonetheless, Isolation Mode blocked one of these attacks. Isolation mode was created specifically to limit the parts of code or features of a system that may be vulnerable to hacker attacks. This is the first documented case where this feature saved someone from a targeted attack.
In recent cases, Citizen Lab researchers said the Victims’ iPhones repelled hacking attempts. Additionally, they showed a notification saying that isolation mode was preventing someone from accessing the phone’s Home app.
However, the researchers warn that it is possible that at a later stage the developers of NSO’s exploits “found a way to solve the notification problem, for example by recognizing the lock mode fingerprints”.
As other researchers have pointed out previously, it is easy to identify users to understand who has activated isolation mode. But that doesn’t mean its protections aren’t valid. You can find more information on the Apple site.