The Apple security landscape: Moving into the world of enterprise risk

by | Sep 22, 2022 | Technology

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Apple’s devices aren’t immune to hacking, but for years, they seemed to be. While other vendors like Microsoft faced the brunt of complex exploits targeting the enterprise market, macOS and iOS didn’t face the same level of pressure as a consumer-focused vendor. 

Yet, this appears to be changing. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlas VPN reported that Apple’s product vulnerabilities increased by 467% in the second half of 2021 to 380 exploits. 

Likewise, this year alone, there have been 8 publicly disclosed zero-day vulnerabilities used in attacks on iPhone and Mac devices. The most recent, CVE-2022-32917, enables an attacker to run malicious code on a user’s device with kernel privileges. 

While no vendor is immune to vulnerabilities, Apple devices are becoming a bigger target for cybercriminals to exploit, particularly as they enter enterprise environments. 

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How the threat landscape is shifting for Apple 

The increase in vulnerabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic is notable because it took place around the same time that Apple devices began to see greater adoption in enterprise networks. 

That same year in 2021, IDC found that the average penetration of macOS devices in enterprises of 1,000 or more employees had increased to 23% compared to 17% in 2019. This came as organizations embraced remote working and enabled employees to use personal devices to work from home. 

It’s important to note that this increase also occurred shortly after the November 2020 release of the Apple M1 Chip — Apple’s first computer chip designed in-house that offers high-bandwidth and low latency — set an all-time Mac revenue record of $9.1 billion in Q2 2021. 

In any case, the increase in enterprise adoption has changed the threat landscape for Apple, and has made the vendor a bigger target for threat actors who see these devices as a potential entry point to gain access to protected information. 

“Attackers go to where their targets are, which will lead them to Apple,” said Jeff Pollard, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. “As mor …

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