Assuming that your smartphone is safe is the easiest way to fall into the hackers’ trap.

New cyber threats roam the web every day, ready to challenge the latest security measures available on our smartphones. Even iPhone owners, who usually feel safer than those who use Android phones, should start to worry: a new virus tricks them and, without them even realizing it, locks them out of their device.

A new virus is threatening user security – Sjbeez

Apple is notoriously careful about keeping its users safe, and iPhones have many advanced features to thwart viruses of all types. The problem arises when these viruses are so well designed that they manage to exploit these security measures against the users themselves, a frustrating situation that could also compromise much of their personal data.

iPhone owners are at risk

Recent cybersecurity discoveries have highlighted a new threat to iPhone users: a virus that exploits Apple’s Lockdown Mode to trick users into feeling falsely safe. Lockdown Mode, introduced with iOS 16, is a security feature designed to protect iPhones from attacks by state-sponsored hackers and spyware. However, Jamf researchers have found that this mode can be manipulated by an attacker if they somehow manage to take control of the device.

A particularly deceptive and well-designed virus is roaming the web – Sjbeez

The underlying principle of the virus is to create an illusion of security. Once an iPhone is compromised, Lockdown Mode can seemingly be activated by the user, but in reality, control remains in the hands of the attacker. Jamf researchers demonstrated this phenomenon by creating a file called "/fakelockdownmode_on" on a compromised iPhone. Despite the apparent activation of Lockdown Mode, the phone would not reboot or actually activate the mode, instead allowing the malware to continue operating undisturbed.

Important to note is that, unlike the best antivirus software, Lockdown Mode is mainly effective before an attack takes place. Once a device is compromised, its security measures can be bypassed. Luckily, according to Jamf, there have yet to be any cases of hackers using this technique, and now that Apple has been notified, it is likely that measures will be taken to mitigate this vulnerability.

It is clear, therefore, that the protection of your iPhone depends not only on normal security measures, but also on awareness and constant updating of the software. Keeping your device updated with the latest security patches is essential to protect yourself from possible new threats. Although Apple imposes restrictions that prevent the existence of antivirus apps for iPhone similar to those available for Android, software solutions like Intego Mac Internet Security X9 offer an alternative way to scan iOS devices.