In the worlds of film, television and media, there is a rather fiery debate about the superiority of Apple Mac and Windows PCs. One key area where Macs are widely acknowledged to be better, is cyber security. However, this has also cultivated certain myths about how secure Macs are.
While Apple has done an impressive job of developing frameworks and tools that are relatively more cyber-resilient, managed service providers (MSPs) have had to make a point of clarifying that Macs are not a magical silver bullet that guarantees security. In this blog, we clarify some of the common myths about macOS security, do you recognise any of them?
Myth 1: Macs are immune to viruses and malware
This is one of the most pervasive myths surrounding Apple Macs. Historically, Macs have been less prone to succumbing to security threats compared to Windows PCs, but it’s not quite accurate to say they are immune. There are always emerging threats and ways for malware to exploit macOS devices, and Apple is continually updating Mac operating systems against emerging exploits as well.
Apple has incorporated a range of security features such as Gatekeeper and XProtect, to enhance the cyber security posture of devices that use macOS, which speaks to the point that although some systems can be more cyber secure than others, it’s important to stay vigilant, test assumptions, and triangulate a range of measures to remain cyber secure.
Myth 2: Macs don’t need additional security software
Apple’s built-in security tools are commendable. However, cyber threats are evolving on a day-to-day basis. Relying solely on default features will not be enough to guard against the full spectrum of cyber threats, nor will it be enough to win and keep the trust of clients, or gain TPN certification for those working in the film and television industry. We recommend combining Mac’s in-built security tools with specialised cyber security measures to create a robust cyber security posture that can truly protect your systems and sensitive data.
Myth 3: Mac security issues are less severe than those on PCs
Malware, ransomware and phishing attacks can be just as damaging on a Mac as they are on a PC! Make no mistake, if a malicious application is able to bypass the security features of your macOS system, then it will have a free hand to lock down and steal data and files, and cause havoc in your business.
Myth 4: Mac App Store apps are always safe
While Apple does an impressive job of vetting apps on its platform, no system is flawless. There have been instances of malicious apps slipping through. It’s crucial for your business and its users to remain cautious, read reviews, and avoid downloading unnecessary applications. One way to ensure that only safe applications are installed, is to use application whitelisting via the in-built Gatekeeper app to control the software that can be installed by users.
Myth 5: Mac users don’t need to worry about phishing attacks
Phishing is platform agnostic, and even if Apple’s Mail is used in your business, it does not always detect and prevent these emails from getting through to inboxes. Phishing coupled with a malicious software that can bypass macOS’s built in security features, will still be able to cause considerable damage. Given the high stakes in the media, television and film sectors, it’s important to take proactive technical and organisational measures to counteract phishing threats.
Myth 6: Transitioning to Mac means leaving all old security threats behind
While shifting to Mac may reduce exposure to some PC-specific threats, it doesn’t mean a clean slate. Cyber security is an evolving field and therefore an ongoing process for your business. Malicious actors are always looking for new ways to breach systems, and this applies universally, not just to a specific OS.
Myth 7: Mac updates aren’t as crucial as Windows updates
Both Apple and Microsoft issue important updates that enhance features and patch vulnerabilities that have been found, and these can include urgent security fixes that should be applied as soon as possible. It is best practice to implement updates as soon as possible, as this will secure your business from potential threats faster. No matter the OS, it’s best to install updates as soon as you practicably can.
Debunking these myths is just the beginning, it’s important to take proactive action to shore up your cyber security posture into a robust defence. Cyber security is not just about risk mitigation, it also empowers your business to seize new opportunities! This can include inspiring trust by meeting TPN or Cyber Essentials certification criteria, and offering assurance to existing and potential clients alike that your business takes cyber security seriously. MSPs can play a vital role in the macOS ecosystem, with some providers (such as Rubicon IT) offering specialist support for them. In any case, it’s worth questioning assumptions about how cyber secure Macs are, and taking those invaluable extra steps to keep your Mac environment secure in a digital world that is evolving rapidly.
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