How to combat rising macOS threats

Malwarebytes recently released a report indicating that in 2019, for the first time ever, macOS threats were more prevalent than Windows. See what this means for you and how to best stay protected.

February 14 2020 by

Matthias Wollnik

Security, malware, adware, breaches… all too common vernacular in any organization that leverages digital technology.

Malwarebytes recently released a report indicating that in 2019, for the first time ever, macOS threats were more prevalent than Windows. With the demand for Mac in the enterprise growing due to employee-choice programs, it’s not shocking that threats to Mac are growing, too.

What did the report find?

Threats on Mac are on the rise. But, not exactly malware in the traditional sense. The research found that on average during 2019 there were 11 threats per Mac computer, versus 5.8 threats on Windows PCs. The top threats identified for Mac are adware or PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) that require customer interaction to install, including Adware.NewTab, PUP.PCVARK, PUP.MacKeeper, PUP.JDI, and PUP.MacBooster. Only a very small percentage of the threats identified were more “traditional” malware. On the Windows side, devices had a much higher rate of “traditional” malware.

So, what can I do to protect my organization?

Security is of upmost priority to Apple, and they’ve been actively working on providing a strong security baseline in macOS. Recently, Apple announced that applications running on macOS Catalina must be “notarized.” Notarization means that the application was signed by the developer and Apple approved that signature. Apple has been actively denying notarization of various adware and PUPs, with one notable example being MacKeeper. As a result, organizations that are staying in lockstep with Apple with new versions or patches of macOS are released and push those out to their computers are performing a critical task in maintaining security on those devices.

Pick a vendor that offers same-day support for new OS releases. Organizations need to ensure they remove any barriers to macOS update adoption that they can. This may include choosing and relying on vendors that are closely aligned with Apple and offer same-day support for software releases to ensure that any management or security tools do not delay OS update adoption. The last thing you want is to accept more risk because the tools you deploy to manage your risks cannot support the latest macOS version for months.

Educate your end users – while still ensuring visibility using the right tools. Users will still be able to circumvent some of the security controls built into macOS, like forcing the launch of a shady “sendmefreemoney” app they just downloaded from the internet. Security organizations need to ensure that they have visibility into the behavior of applications running on their Mac devices in order to prevent users from endangering themselves.

Looking for an endpoint security solution that was built for Mac’s unique needs? Read about Jamf Protect here.

Or request a demo to see Jamf Protect in action.

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