The Security Structure of Apple: Atlas VPN reports that the number of flaws in Apple’s products increased by 467% in 2021, which corresponds to the peak of COVID-19.
In spite of the fact that Apple products can still be hacked, it appeared for many years that they couldn’t be. macOS and iOS were not subjected to the same level of pressure as other vendors such as Microsoft, who were the target of the majority of sophisticated cyberattacks directed at the enterprise sector. This is because macOS and iOS are focused on the consumer market.
Having said that, it appears that this is changing. At the height of the COVID-19 epidemic in the second half of 2021, Atlas VPN found that the number of exploits targeting Apple products had increased by 467%, reaching 380 total vulnerabilities.
What kinds of adjustments are being made to Apple’s security settings?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a rise in vulnerabilities. This is interesting because it happened around the same time that Apple products started to be used more in business networks.
IDC discovered in the same year, 2021, that the average macOS device penetration in companies with 1,000 or more employees had grown to 23%, from 17% in 2019. This was an increase from 2019. This came about as a result of firms’ becoming more open to the concept of remote work and enabling employees to use their own devices while working from home.
It is important to note that this growth also occurred shortly after the release of the Apple M1 Chip in November 2020. The Apple M1 chip was the company’s first internally developed computer chip with high bandwidth and low latency. It set an all-time Mac revenue record of $9.1 billion in the second quarter of 2021. Security Structure of Apple
In any case, the rise in enterprise use has transformed Apple’s security environment and raised the visibility of the vendor to threat actors who perceive these devices as potential access points to protected data. This has increased the likelihood that Apple will be targeted by these threat actors.
The Risk: Security Structure of Apple
Although Apple products are now being abused at a higher rate than those of other software suppliers, this does not necessarily mean that the danger is greater. Even though the number has gone up, Apple still has a much smaller number of zero-day vulnerabilities than Microsoft.
According to the CISA known vulnerabilities catalogue, Microsoft has had 242 known exploited flaws since the beginning of 2022, whereas Apple only has 50 and Google only has 43. This is in comparison to the numbers for Apple and Google.
But this is to be expected, given that Microsoft has a long history of being the most important enterprise vendor in the industry and that threat actors often target and attack products that are part of the Microsoft ecosystem.
On the other hand, Apple has also been forced to cope with the repercussions of MIT researchers’ discovering the PACMAN vulnerability, which is a defect in the Apple M1 Chip that has not been patched. The exploit, which is a novel form of hardware attack, can be used to deactivate the pointer authentication technique of an Apple M1 chip. This prevents the chip from detecting attacks that are the result of software faults.
Even though there have been no reported attacks that make use of this vulnerability, the importance of the issue remains in question. Apple has said that the problem “does not pose an immediate risk to our customers and is not enough on its own to get around operating system protections.”
In general, research suggests that Macs do have some level of built-in resistance to security threats.
In 2019, after receiving a commission from Apple, Forrester conducted an online survey of 351 security executives working for companies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Australia. The purpose of the survey was to determine the overall financial impact of introducing Macs into the workplace. The results of the survey suggest that using Macs might actually make computers more secure.
The most important finding of this analysis was that the presence of each Mac reduced the risk of a data breach by fifty percent. The poll respondents who agreed to be interviewed said that built-in security features like automatic data encryption, antimalware capabilities, and an easy way to sign up for mobile device management (MDM) technologies helped them keep their security in check.
Reduction in danger for Apple’s portable electronic devices
Enabling automated updates and ensuring that devices are kept patched and up-to-date are two of the most effective ways for businesses to lessen the risks posed to their customers’ electronic devices. It can be challenging to ensure that staff members are properly implementing these fixes.
Because of this, companies need to set rules for how employees should use their own electronic devices.
It is impossible to completely ban the use of personal devices given the large number of employees who work from home. However, there should be clear restrictions on the types of data assets and resources to which employees are granted access.
Mobile device management (MDM) tools, such as Jamf and Microsoft Intune, can assist security teams in the management of multiple Apple devices from a single location for employees who use work devices from home. This helps to ensure that each system is kept up to date and does not leave the organisation vulnerable to compromise.
“Device management is actually the first step in the construction of a layered defence to secure mobile workers and the critical company data they access while on the road,” said Michael Covington, the vice president of portfolio strategy at Jamf. “The goal of this layered defence is to keep sensitive company information from getting into the wrong hands.”
MDM solutions can assist in ensuring that devices are configured correctly, are running the most recent version of their operating system, and have the most recent security updates installed. This is in addition to defining secure Wi-Fi settings and requirements for passwords.
Covington says that these technologies can also be used to install terminal security solutions on external devices and act as a policy enforcement hub for countermeasures like putting compromised devices in a quarantine area.