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Apple computers have long touted enhanced security measures as compared to their PC counterparts. The truth? Macs can be just as vulnerable as PCs.

Apple’s closed system: once a strength, now a downfall

Though their closed system is an advantage over Microsoft, it has recently proven to be a massive downfall. The T2 equipped Macs, meant to be their most secure version yet, has proven vulnerable. Hackers have found that with physical access, security encryption can be compromised entirely.

Usually, Apple would issue a patch (an update) to fortify any openings, but this specific weak spot lives in the hardware of the machines, not the software of the operating system. Hackers can use what is called the Blackbird exploit to boot with root access to the SEP chip in your Mac which stores your most sensitive data: encryption, passcodes, ApplePay, biometric data, etc.

In simpler terms, all Macs with the T2 chip are seriously hackable, and Apple can’t fix it.

What about Macs that don’t have the T2 chip?

Even though this hardware vulnerability is a specific case, Macs have always been and will be susceptible to cybercrime. Though cybercriminals are typically focused on PCs since they are more widely adopted, the rising popularity of Macs is proving to draw their attention. We are seeing more system-agnostic attacks meaning they can be effective on both Macs and PCs.

Beyond the T2 chip vulnerability, all Macs are susceptible to viruses, malware, and web threats. Here are some busted myths:

1. Macs don’t get malware. Even though the system has certain safeguards, users are ultimately the vulnerability when it comes to malware. Actions like opening an unknown attachment, downloading software from malicious sites, or clicking on bad online ads can land you with malware that can sap your system's productivity or worse.

2. Macs don’t need security software. Again, the system is at the mercy of the user. Users can be fooled by phishing emails or prompted to download bad software. Security solutions will stop you before you do something detrimental.

3. My Information is safe on my Mac. Though many cybercriminal attacks are geared towards Pcs, device theft skews towards Mac computers and devices as they are easily identified and highly priced. Make sure that your devices have Find My Mac set up, are password protected, and go through regular data backups to an external storage space.

Should I stop using Macs? How do I protect my device?

We are not at all suggesting that Macs are not suitable for personal or business use. We see the discovery of the T2 chip vulnerability as a timely example to underscore that no matter what devices you are using, you need to take precautions to protect yourself or your business from cybercrime. Here are some basic steps to protect your device:

1. Install security software. Period. There are so many options, finding one with adequate strength and at a reasonable price point is fairly simple. If you run into any issues, we encourage you to give us a call (book a call link), and we would be happy to help you out.

2. Keep on top of software updates. The reason for updates is to improve your device. Though it can be a minor annoyance, keeping your devices up to date ensures you have the most recent security patches and big fixes.

3. Invest in education and training. Especially for businesses, training your employees on how to adhere to security policies and recognize cyberthreats will exponentially decrease their likelihood to put your information at risk.

4. Work with an IT professional. An IT provider can help ensure that you aren’t leaving any holes in your defences, advise you on which tools or software would work best for your organization, and help provide solutions to any IT problems you are facing. Here at Sensible we love giving our clients back their peace of mind, knowing that with all the potential threats out there, we can expertly protect their information and help craft solutions for any problems they encounter. If you need IT assistance, give us a call.

A glaring security mistake has been discovered in Apple’s most recent desktop operating system. It’s not the sort of vulnerability that requires complicated malware or IT knowledge; anyone can learn this exploit in a matter of minutes to steal your password. Here’s how to stop that from happening.

What is the bug?

The vulnerability pertains to sweeping changes in how macOS stores files. In the High Sierra update, the Apple File System (APFS) was introduced to make opening and saving files much faster. As an added bonus, APFS also added advanced features like drive encryption.

However, users who add a second encrypted APFS partition to their computer’s drive aren’t keeping their data safe from prying eyes.

Let’s imagine you want to create a separate storage partition for your work files. The data contains sensitive information so you encrypt the drive and add a password.

If in the course of setting the password you were to provide a password hint, High Sierra will display your password when anyone clicks Show Hint when accessing the drive. You can see how it’s done in this 45-second video.

When anyone can retrieve your password in a matter of seconds, encryption becomes completely pointless.

How to fix this vulnerability

Sadly, the update for encrypted APFS drives requires much more than installing a patch. As such, we do not recommend trying to fix this issue without professional help if your encrypted partition has irreplaceable data. It is a complicated process and could result in data loss.

Apple procedures for fixing the issue if you’ve already encrypted a drive include:

  1. Installing the most recent macOS update
  2. Backing up the encrypted drive
  3. “Unmounting” and erasing the original drive
  4. Creating a new encrypted APFS drive
  5. Entering a new password and password hint
  6. Restoring the backup from Step 2 to the updated partition

Apple’s macOS is a great operating system. It is reliable, secure, and user friendly -- but like any piece of software, it’s not perfect. Don’t make the mistake of assuming macOS is safe enough to protect your data without outside help. For help encrypting your drives or securing your Macs, call us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

As you may be aware, Apple launched iOS 11 last Tuesday, 19th September, 2017

However, there is a bug in the latest iOS which affects the native Apple Mail app (Mail.app) on your iPhone or iPad which will prevent you from sending or replying to emails.

You might see an error message that says "Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server."

This will affect you if your email account is hosted by Microsoft on Outlook.com or Office 365, or an Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016 you will have this issue.

Although, Apple and Microsoft are trying to resolve this issue - there has been nothing released yet.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

You have these immediate options:

  1. Delay upgrading to iOS 11
  2. Too Late ?
    1. Install the Microsoft Outlook app from the app store (it doesn't have this issue)

OR

B. Rollback to a previous version of iOS

Call us if you are stuck and still having any issues on 1300-SENSIBLE (736-742)

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