MacOS Security Vulnerabilities and the Need for EDR, Patch Management, and RMM Tools
For years, there has been a common belief that Apple's MacOS is inherently secure and immune to malware attacks. This misconception can lead to a false sense of security for companies with Mac users. The truth is that MacOS, like any other operating system, has security vulnerabilities and can be targeted by cybercriminals. As more and more people use Macs in business environments, the types of malware targeting Apple products have become more advanced with year-over-year increases in criminal campaigns targeting Mac users. In this blog post, we will review why Macs require Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) software, proactive patch management, and a strong Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform to ensure robust security.
The MacOS Security Myth: Dispelling Misconceptions
Mac Malware is on the Rise:
- In 2022, Mac-specific malware threats have increased using advanced techniques.
- High-profile attacks, such as the Silver Sparrow and XCSSET malware campaigns, have successfully targeted MacOS, even on Apple's own Mx chipsets.
- Cybercriminals are actively developing Mac-specific malware to exploit the perceived security advantage.
MacOS Vulnerabilities are Common:
- In recent years, advanced malware specifically targeting Macs has been developed to steal iCloud keychain passwords, get backdoor access, and install software that can then drop other packages silently on systems.
- Though Apple has recently implemented Rapid Security Response to increase security patch frequency, ensuring that individual Macs in your organization have been patched can be challenging without the right tools.
- Apple's built-in security tools (Gatekeeper, XProtect, and MRT) while historically effective against viruses, can fall short against advanced threats.
MacOS does provide some security advantages over other operating systems, due to its underlying UNIX-based operating system, Apple's focus on security, and due to its complete control over the Mac hardware and software eco-system. Historically, the very low installed base of macOS clients in relation to Windows, especially in business and government organizations, meant that cybercriminals typically targeted Windows simply because there are more Windows computers to attack. Like any business, cybercriminals groups follow the least path of resistance to profit and Windows has been the main target. This trend began to change around 2020 as more users went remote and began using Macs for work. Mac adoption as a whole has increased, especially in the C-suite, over the past 3 years and cybercriminals are increasing their campaigns against Macs to address this change in market share.
Why Macs do Require EDR, Patch Management, and RMM?
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR):
- EDR provides real-time monitoring, detection, and response to advanced threats which MacOs often cannot detect natively via XProtect.
- Helps identify and remediate security incidents before they spread using threat detection, isolation, and OS rollback capabilities.
- Complements Apple's built-in security tools to provide comprehensive OS protection along with advanced process scanning to detect malware.
Proactive Patch Management:
- MacOS patch management differs from Windows, with updates managed through the App Store, System Preferences, or via advanced patch monitoring and management tools.
- Ensuring the timely installation of security updates is critical for protecting against known vulnerabilities.
- Automated patch management solutions can streamline the update process and reduce the risk of human error.
Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM):
- Secure remote control allows for rapid response to both security events and user support requests.
- MacOS Patch Management to managed devices becomes seamless.
- Provides detailed inventory management to know what Macs are deployed and what MacOS version is installed.
The belief that Macs are inherently secure is a dangerous misconception. MacOS, like any other operating system, has vulnerabilities and can be targeted by malware. To ensure robust security, Mac users should invest in service solutions that include advanced EDR software, proactive patch management, and use a strong MacOS-capable RMM platform. By taking these precautions, Mac users can enjoy the full potential of their devices while maintaining a secure computing environment.
Ballast Services offers comprehensive Workstation Security Management which will protect both your Mac and Windows endpoints using best-in-class tools, backed by experts 24/7.
Modernize, Optimize, Stabilize, and Secure your organization today. Contact us at (888) 450-4322, visit our website at https://ballastservices.com, or click on Get In Touch to speak with us today.