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Apple Security Analysis: Critical Actions for Mac & iPhone Users to Thwart Cyber Threats

Disabling FileVault puts your data at risk, so keep it enabled. Enable the system firewall to prevent unauthorized connections. Lock screen protection is crucial for securing your data on mobile devices.

Researchers at Apple security and management specialists Jamf have recently published a new analysis that sheds light on why so many users are ill-equipped to combat the latest cyber threats impacting Macs and iPhones. By examining real-world user data, the Jamf researchers have analyzed the evolving Apple threat landscape and have issued a critical security warning involving three actions that are leaving users open to attack. Correcting these actions could make a critical difference to your security and privacy.

According to the analysis conducted by Jamf, cyber hygiene among Apple device users is abysmal, leaving them vulnerable to potential attacks. The researchers analyzed data from a total of 15 million desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones in 90 countries. The research, which covered a 12-month period ending in the last quarter of 2023, revealed that out of a total of 300 malware families on the macOS platform, 21 were new in 2023. Surprisingly, despite recent reports of Trojans on Apple devices, this type of malware threat accounted for only 17% of all instances. Jamf concluded that "organizations' cyber hygiene is abysmal and threat actors are ready to strike with the most sophisticated attacks yet."

"The data in our report shows that Mac and mobile fleets have fared reasonably well over the past 12 months," says Michael Covington, vice president of portfolio strategy at Jamf. "But that result is largely due to sheer luck. With a growing list of malicious tactics emerging and with organizations demonstrating poor security hygiene overall, the year ahead is likely to be bad for business if trends do not change." This is where the critical warning for Mac and iPhone users comes in, with Apple-specific security features being the center of attention.

The Jamf research found that users were disabling basic features that provide critical device security. The first action to avoid is disabling FileVault, a feature that encrypts data within a volume. Surprisingly, the research revealed that FileVault was disabled on 36% of devices in the research pool, despite its ease of deployment, configuration, and managing encryption keys.

The second action to avoid is disabling the system firewall. Despite the increasing number of mobile devices targeted by hackers using web-based threats, the research found that the system firewall feature was disabled on 55% of Macs. Enabling firewalls is considered an industry best practice that prevents devices from accepting incoming connections from unauthorized applications and services.

Lastly, users should enable lock screen protection. The Jamf researchers describe lock screen protection as a fundamental feature of mobile devices that secures data from unauthorized access and serves as the decryption key for all data stored locally on the device. However, the research revealed that 3% of iPhones and iPads still had the lock screen disabled in 2023, and 25% of organizations had at least one user with lock screen protection disabled.

  • Disabling FileVault puts your data at risk, so keep it enabled.

  • Enable the system firewall to prevent unauthorized connections.

  • Lock screen protection is crucial for securing your data on mobile devices.

Source: FORBES

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