Jun 29, 2012 (06:06 AM EDT)
6 Ways Apple Is Polishing Mac Security
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
In fact, that was Apple's security-related marketing message, but only until earlier this month, when the company refreshed its "Why you'll love a Mac" reasoning. The revision instead highlights how "built-in defenses in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac."
Malicious software on a Mac, can it be true? Indeed, fair Apple aficionados, and as the company previews OS X 10.8, a.k.a. "Mountain Lion"--due in July--here are six signs that Mac security continues to mature, as it must.
1. Flashback Previews Mac Malware Future
Why didn't Apple OS X devices previously see mountains of malware? That question has been argued to no end. Previous thinking often centered on network effects--namely, attackers were skilled at writing Windows malware, and the majority of people use Windows, hence why bother with Macs? In the wake of Flashback, however, Macs are facing more mature threats, and that's led Apple to get more forceful on the security front, for example by releasing OS X and Safari updates that disable old or unused versions of Flash and restrict how Java plug-ins launch.
2. "Malware," Says Apple In Crowded Room
[ Will Apple's planned upgrade treadmill annoy even ardent device fans? See Apple Obsolescence Debate: More Analysis Please, Fanboys. ]
3. Walled Gardens: OS X Cultivates iOS Restrictions
4. Enforce Background Checks For Apps
5. Receive Daily Apple Security Updates
While Apple isn't suddenly promising immediate full disclosure, it does at least appear to be refining its patching approach. According to Apple news site iClarified, for example, the OS X Mountain Lion Security Update Test 1.0, pushed Monday, includes daily checks for security updates, plus "the ability to install required security updates automatically or after restarting your Mac," meaning that Mac users can see much more timely--and automatic--security updates, which should help the company more quickly nuke any forthcoming Flashback spawn. Finally, the security update also touted having "a more secure connection to Apple's update servers," which is notable, given how the Flame malware was able to spoof a Microsoft certificate, allowing it to use Windows Update to automatically install the malware on targeted Windows PCs.
6. Full Disk Encryption For All
Contrast that "security for all" approach with Microsoft's offerings. Notably, Windows Vista and Windows 7 included BitLocker full disk encryption, although only with the Enterprise and Ultimate versions. Likewise, the feature is built into only the Pro and Enterprise versions of Windows 8.