The Migration of Businesses to Apple Platforms – Security Concerns Loom for Apple Device Integration

By IAITAM

For years, Microsoft and the PC have been the stable products for the business IT environment. Through BYOD initiatives and specialized software needs, Apple devices are now integrated into the business ecosystem. Apple has increased their market share in comparison to Microsoft and has a commanding lead in all mobile and tablet technologies. This success supports the idea that Apple desktop integration is in the near future.

Apple’s adoption into the work environment has been slowed by Apple’s focus on consumer products and the subsequent lack of familiarity with their products as business tools. However, the gates have opened and IT Asset Managers now have experience with BYOD integrations for the iPad and iPhone. The migration from PC to Apple is likely to be a similar integration. The core issue is security for the environment as well as data.

Recently, a Flashback Trojan virus infiltrated the Mac OS X operating system and infected close to 150,000 Apple computers and devices. While this malware infiltration is common in the PC world, it is a new threat that Apple hasn’t had to face as of yet. Apple has maintained high quality standards for the code of their operating systems, allowing enhanced hardware performance and security from the tightness of the code. Hackers and malicious malware creators were unable to crack the code. As of 2012, that code has finally been broken.

Even though Apple’s response to the malware outbreak was swift, it wasn’t fast enough to stop the threat. The malware spread through Mac computers worldwide quickly and efficiently. During the Security Europe 2012 conference Eugene Kaspersky, one of the leading authorities on computer security, made the following remark about Apple’s handling of the malware outbreak:

“I think they are ten years behind Microsoft in terms of security,” Kaspersky told CBR. “For many years I’ve been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows. It’s always been possible to develop Mac malware, but this one was a bit different. For example it was asking questions about being installed on the system and, using vulnerabilities, it was able to get to the user mode without any alarms….”

While the idea that Apple is 10 years behind Microsoft can be debated, their patching and fixing measures are not as quick as Microsoft’s, most likely due to a lack of experience with such issues. Prevention measures have been discussed widely between experts and end users. Some of the blame was placed on the end users for visiting suspicious areas of the web because that sort of traffic provokes attacks. Unfortunately, the situation is not that simple. The malware was found imbedded on WordPress websites which are Mac-trusted websites. In some cases, downloading a file was not even required to become infected.

The worst part of this story is that it is probably just the tip of the iceberg. It is common knowledge that malware and virus creators copy from each other and learn from successful break-ins into a system. This was the first major “success” on an Apple platform.

There will be more to come.

About the Author

The International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM) is the largest organization providing education, certification and thought leadership to the management of IT as a business. IT Asset Management is the management of hardware, software, mobile and other technology to maximize the value to the organization.