While 2020 won’t be remembered fondly in the history books, it has been quite good for Apple, which is ending its fiscal 2020 with record revenues for three of its four quarters. Apple device adoption was up around 40% compared to 2019 and although they won’t likely unseat the PC from it’s throne in the workplace this year, experts are predicting that Apple will become a dominant player in the workplace.
Unfortunately this also means cyberthreats targeting Apple users have increased over the past few months. For example:
- A zero-day flaw in Apple mobile phones that allows criminals to send a text message and without any user interaction, gain access to listen to the phone’s microphone or watch the phone’s camera at all times
- A huge influx of adware targeting Apple victims
- APT (advanced persistent threat) actors (a fancy name for hacker teams backed by organized crime or nation states) such as Lazarus have shifted their focus to exploiting vulnerabilities with Apple products
- Some apps on Big Sur (the latest version of Apple’s operating system) have found ways to bypass content filters and VPNs to further propagate malicious code
What you can do
We have been protecting Apple devices in the workplace for some time. It’s unfortunate, but we are seeing many of the problems that plagued PC and Android users for years make their way to Macs and iPhones.
First, it’s important that you allow Apple updates to be installed when you are notified of them. In the case of the iOS zero-day flaw, Apple released an update right away. Not installing it right away left millions of users vulnerable when they didn’t have to be.
Second, adware has been making its way to Mac desktops and laptops inadvertently since most users don’t use a web content filter. Web filters block accidental clicks made on malicious emails, websites with infected ad networks spreading malware and block inappropriate and time wasting websites from work machines. OpenDNS by Cisco is a great product for home users and for the workplace, our Total Security service already includes this feature.
And third, if your organization has a number of Macs deployed to employees, maintaining a restricted configuration is critical to keeping their privacy and security intact. Apple’s Business Manager is the first step in this process although it is limited in its ability to maintain profiles if users decide to tinker with them.
If you need help with setting up this any of these resources for your organization, feel free to reach out. We can help.
Stay safe out there.