The growing popularity of Apple devices is related to the general perception of them as being more secure, among other things. As many as 77% of organizations believe that Macs are more secure compared to other platforms. However, iOS and macOS devices are becoming the top choice of not only users as a whole, but also cybercriminals. According to a study conducted by Atlas VPN in 2020, 674,273 new threats were detected!
Fortunately, a year later there were 2474 fewer attacks recorded, albeit this does not mean that the problem should be ignored. Malwarebytes reports that in 2020, 111 million malware attacks were detected on the Windows platform, while on Macs there were just over 1.1 million incidents of this type. Although there is comparatively less malware that attacks Apple devices than the Windows platform, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Mac and iPhone users can also become the victims of cyberattacks.
Does a Mac need an antivirus application?
In terms of device protection, Apple has equipped each of its Macs with XProtect, Gatekeeper, and MRT, among others.
- XProtect – built-in malware protection. After opening the downloaded application, it checks to see if it matches any of the malware definitions in the database. If so, you’ll see a warning message that running the file will damage your computer and information about which malware definition it fits into.
- Gatekeeper – a security feature that verifies whether the app you’re running comes from a trusted source – whether it’s been verified and downloaded from the AppStore or is Mac approved. If the application is found to be untrusted, an alert will be displayed (however, this does not necessarily mean the software is malicious).
- Malware Removal Tool (MRT) – a tool for detecting and removing malware based on an automatically updated Apple database.
The above tools are a solid basis for building a safe work environment. However, as the above data regarding attacks on Apple devices shows, they may be insufficient to protect users’ privacy and the company’s network data.
What is ransomware and what other types of malware can you find on Macs?
Ransomware attacks are one type of cyber-attack that has been a common topic of discussion in recent years. Their goal is to extort large amounts of money. In 2021, an attempt was made to extort $50 million from Apple in exchange for the stolen schematics of new devices.
Ransomware is a type of malware that gradually encrypts data on your computer, cutting off access to files. To decrypt the data, you need a code that can be purchased from hackers.
The purpose of Spyware is to obtain sensitive data. Various information is collected, such as daily computer activity, browsing history, saved data and passwords, or even webcam images. This group of malware also includes Keyloggers software that monitors key sequences and sends them to the attacker’s server.
With malware of this type, the attacker gains access to computer resources such as the memory and processor, which he then uses to perform complex calculations and solve mathematical problems, colloquially called “cryptocurrency mining”. A great deal of electricity is used, exerting a heavy load on the devices, which in turn generates huge costs for the owner.
This is a kind of malicious code hidden in the installation file of a seemingly legit application. Trojan programs are used by hackers for all kinds of activities, from copying files to DDOS attacks.
The botnet software turns the devices into remotely controlled machines for sending spam. With the help of botnets, disinformation campaigns are carried out, and even attempts to influence politics are made. Botnet devices can create millions of networks that remain dormant until activation.
A worm is a type of malware that uses a device’s resources to replicate and spread across the network. For some time, this process is invisible to the user, but it becomes visible when the replication processes consume a significant part of the system’s resources and affect the speed of operation. In addition to replication, worms can also destroy files, distribute spam, or act as a backdoor or a Trojan.
A rootkit is a collection of tools designed to give unauthorized access to a computer’s root account. Accessing the root of the system requires sophisticated techniques, but once accessed, hackers are able to install any software, manage operating system files, or gain access to selected data.
A backdoor is a vulnerability in a piece of code that allows unauthorized access to a system. It is not a type of malware, but it is dangerous. Backdoors are often used by hackers to access data or put files on a computer or mobile device. In spite of appearances, these are common, even in iOS or macOS. Backdoor information is often spread by ethical “white hat” hackers, who warn the software provider and give them time to repair errors before they make information about the error public.
What is the best antivirus application for Macs?
Protecting users is a basic requirement for any organization. Unfortunately, choosing the right tool, especially on a Mac, is quite a challenge, because apart from safety-related aspects, it is also necessary to pay attention to user convenience.
The most important features that good antivirus applications have are:
- scanning and monitoring functions,
- minimal impact on the functioning of the system, imperceptible to the user,
- additional protection of identity and confidential data,
- frequent and automatic updates.
Mac antivirus designed for Apple device users
The Apple platform is considered one of the safest environments to work in. However, it is not 100% indefectible, and cybercriminals are constantly developing new and increasingly sneaky ways to break through macOS security. In response, Jamf Protect software was created to preserve the Apple User Experience.
Jamf Protect protects the macOS platform from malware. It detects and helps remove Mac-specific threats, controls applications across your organization, and monitors endpoints for policy compliance.
Jamf Protect is based on the Endpoint Security Framework, Apple’s core approach to macOS security, and enhances it with better prevention, control, and monitoring tools. By aligning with the solution, the software supports the newest devices and OS releases, including Monterey Macs with the M1 family of processors.
Here are the most important capabilities that Jamf Protect offers administrators:
- Monitoring and alerts on any undesirable activities,
- Event export to SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) systems,
- Proactive blocking of known malicious applications and other programs from unknown sources,
- Cutting off the device from the company’s critical sources,
- Reporting on malicious files deleted from the device (MRT),
- Scanning files downloaded from the Internet.
Jamf Protect – the most important advantages
- Easy and quick implementation,
- Zero-day support for new operating systems,
- Integration with the Jamf Pro system,
- Solid lite software that does not burden the operating system and takes care of battery life,
- Minimal end-user involvement,
- The option to use it with various MDM-class solutions.
Who is Jamf Protect for?
The market share of Mac devices is growing, and so is the demand for dedicated solutions that will provide companies with the highest security standards, including the CIS Benchmark certification. CIS sets best practices for organizations and device configuration standards, and Jamf Protect ensures them and verifies whether the device meets them.
Jamf Protect will work in any company in which infrastructure security is key. Efficiency of implementation and security are particularly important in the case of banks, Fin-Tech organizations or startups. For the financial sector, cybersecurity is a strategic area, which is why companies in the industry are increasingly investing in the development of solutions ensuring continuity and network security. Companies from the financial industry that use Mac devices should consider using dedicated solutions such as Jamf Protect.
Device security monitoring can also be based on defined CIS Benchmarks, and any difference from the basic configuration will be immediately reported to the administrator.
Ensure the security of your remote employees’ corporate Macs
For many people, the home office means comfort and security. Employees feel safe at home and can access Internet resources that they would not have access to on company Wi-Fi networks. This means that all that is needed for malware or adware to appear on your machine is for you to check your private email or let your child play on a website. For IT administrators, remote work is not synonymous with security – quite the opposite. For security teams, it is an additional challenge to detect the threat as soon as possible.
The most important protection functions of Jamf Protect
Jamf Protect security software has an extensive database that includes comprehensive know-how on malware. Based on this, the software acts as an antivirus program for Mac computers by preventing the launch of applications of unknown origin, known malware, Trojans, adware, ransomware, as well as potentially unwanted programs (PUP). Jamf Protect can block unwanted software and restrict its functioning by configuring restrictions based on various factors. A threat that has been detected can also be quarantined for later analysis.
Jamf’s application provides access to information about the status and activity of the Mac fleet with minimal impact on the end user. Alerts inform the administrator when the device settings differ from the configuration securing the operating system. The system allows the administrator to define its own analytics, which allows them to detect environment-specific threats. For example, a Jamf Protect administrator can create analytics that will detect the use of the “sudo” command (it is used to run applications reserved for an administrator called “a root”).
Detecting known malware is one thing. However, when it comes to finding new attacks, identifying malicious users or suspicious processes, the issue becomes more difficult. Jamf Protect uses specially designed behavioral analysis to identify malicious and suspicious behavior on Mac devices. It makes it easier to understand the context which the device found itself in at the time of the alarm and the logic leading to it. Thanks to this, the administrator can solve problems quickly and confidently.
MITRE ATT&CK for Mac
Analytical mechanisms designed for Jamf Protect are based on MITRE ATT&CK®, a globally available database of knowledge pertaining to cybercriminals’ tactics and techniques, based on real observations. Thanks to the use of information collected in the database, threat models dedicated to the Apple environment have been developed.
Standardized transmission of logs
Many industries are subject to additional legal regulations, including in the area of IT infrastructure. Examples are requirements to carry out compliance checks, audits of the processing of personal data and the storage of confidential information. Non-compliance can result in lawsuits, disciplinary actions and hefty fines. In order to comply with the regulations, it is necessary to ensure full supervision of Mac activities from a single central system. Jamf Protect transmits all Unified Log data from macOS captured by Compliance Reporter in real time, to a security information and event management solution (SIEM) or another data analysis tool.
Thanks to the use of a modern application programming interface (API), Jamf Protect allows you to manage using a terminal, which makes it easier to work with very complex scripts. API access also enables revolutionary integration with many third-party security solutions, further enhancing the protection available for macOS computers.
Apple security and device management platform
Apple administrators eagerly use Jamf Pro to manage IT infrastructure.
Jamf products work together, combining the strengths of each program into a larger platform, known as Apple Enterprise Management (AEM). With AEM, Jamf Protect analysis can be configured to scan devices running obsolete applications and programs, providing an additional layer of protection. Thanks to the smooth integration with Jamf Pro, it is possible to track devices that do not have key updates. Then, thanks to the Jamf Pro policies, automatic device updates are enforced, which restores compliance with the defined standards.
What else is worth knowing about Jamf Protect? Frequently asked questions
Why is Jamf Protect the right choice for Macs?
Close integration between macOS and Jamf Protect ensures that users have the same seamless experience they’re used to with Apple. At the same time, the performance of the devices will still be optimal.
How long does it take to adapt Jamf Protect to newer versions of macOS?
In accordance with the philosophy that Jamf follows when creating all products, the provider is obliged to ensure support on the day when the new system version is released. Jamf Protect does not rely on KEXT (Kernel Extensions) which need to be recompiled or redeveloped every time macOS is updated. It is based on a modern solution recommended by Apple, the so-called System Extensions. This allows you to carry out updates in accordance with the schedule.
Jamf Protect detects known Mac malware. Can it also detect 0-day and other unknown threats?
With a team of security specialists and partners, Jamf is dedicated to detecting and testing issues related to the macOS operating system. This also includes working directly with Apple to remove unknown threats. Additionally, Jamf Protect has a behavioral analysis feature that evaluates the behavior of the application and alerts the IT department when something seems not to be working. Thanks to this, the team of administrators can immediately take action to investigate the case.
Does Jamf Protect secure devices stored in other third-party MDMs?
Of course. You can expect the same level of Jamf Protect performance, regardless of the MDM system used to manage your devices. However, by integrating with other Jamf products such as Jamf Pro, you can create extended workflows to quickly detect infections. In addition, thanks to cooperation between Apple and Jamf, it is possible to automatically remove the consequences of the infection.
Is Jamf Protect supported?
Yes, the support includes a dedicated team of customer service representatives, engineers and security staff focused on one goal: to help you get the most out of your Apple products.
How do I check if my Mac is infected?
When a security alert is raised, the first questions are often the same. What happened, to whom, when and where? All these basic information can be found in the Jamf Protect alert. When you start investigating whether a given alarm should really be a concern, you often start by getting more data from the device. Whether you need files, configuration settings or logs from your device, Jamf Protect and Jamf Pro can help you get the information you need, no matter where in the world your device is currently located.
How to remove the virus from a Mac?
Removing the effects of security incidents is the area where most interactions and sometimes even conflicts between security and IT departments occur. Security teams need information about the incident; they need to investigate the machine and even manipulate the files and settings on the computer. IT professionals often have to respond to end-user complaints when “weird things” start happening on their devices as a result of fixes being in progress. Jamf Protect and Jamf Pro allow you to respond to incidents manually or automatically using the tools IT professionals already use to manage Macs. End users, in turn, are no longer surprised by what happens on their devices, because the way of responding to incidents is adapted to the organizational standards they are already familiar with.
Which systems support the security of Apple devices in a company?
Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important, and trends related to remote work only intensify the challenge. This is particularly important in the case of industries for which data and infrastructure security are crucial, such as banking, finance and health care.
Our Apple administrators offer security management services, supporting clients in the implementation of suitable security policies and proven tools, such as Jamf Pro, Jamf Protect and Jamf Connect.
How to choose a dedicated solution for endpoint security?
Apple pays special attention to hardware security, which is why macOS and iOS devices have been regarded as the most resistant to cyber-attacks on the market for years now. Nonetheless, to start using these devices in mixed infrastructure, you need to apply additional security solutions to maintain control over the devices, especially in the context of increasingly important remote work.
In response, Jamf, the producer of the Jamf Pro system for Apple management, has broadened its offer to include additional solutions for comprehensive security management.
Jamf Protect: an application built for Mac device security
Jamf Protect is a system which allows you to improve the security of Apple devices used for business purposes. Jamf Protect prevents the system from installing macOS malware, detects and eliminate Mac-specific threats, and monitors endpoints for compatibility with Jamf Protect.
Jamf Connect Endpoint protection built for Mac to protect devices
Jamf Connect is a new approach to identity and security management.
Active Directory authentication is becoming increasingly challenging in the era of remote work and distributed teams. Jamf Connect addresses this challenge by providing flexibility in the central and remote management of users, groups, passwords, and access to corporate applications and cloud resources.
Jamf Protect and Jamf Connect – who is it for?
Jamf Protect and Jamf Connect respond to the growing demand for solutions supporting remote work and mobile employee access to company infrastructure, especially in key industries such as:
- Health care
as well as for every company where data and infrastructure security are crucial to business functioning.
The key information necessary to secure Mac computers is data about the state of devices and operating systems. Knowing what is running on a given device (and to what extent) is crucial. Thanks to this, the IT department is able to make quick decisions to administer remediation actions and mitigating workflows, thus ensuring compliance with corporate policies and/or regulations.
No matter how much risk is minimized, sometimes a breach occurs and an untrusted device or even an untrusted user gets access to the environment. Blocking such a user or restoring the device to a trusted state can be difficult even for the most advanced security teams. However, many activities related to such incidents can be automated. In Jamf, there are plenty of opportunities to automate common remediation actions such as locking the device, deleting files, resetting settings, and even remotely redeploying macOS in a way that aligns with Apple’s existing fleet management.
Education of end-users
No top antivirus program will protect your device 100% from all threats, such as phishing – an attack that means the theft of one’s digital identity. User education is often considered to be the first and most important line of defense against cyber-attacks. After removing the threat, instead of information that the malware has been blocked on the device, you can schedule a series of actions that require user involvement. One option is to call up a dialog box with an instructional video, from which the user will learn how to use the device safely and what actions to avoid.
The infrastructure, including the devices, software and users, is unique to each organization. In the era of accelerated digital transformation, the key data for the functioning of the company are located in the infrastructure. Regardless of the platform used, it is necessary to take any countermeasures that will ensure smooth operation and high availability of resources. In the case of iOS and macOS devices, it is important to find tools that will allow you to get the most out of your devices, but also provide the right experience and meet user expectations. In this regard, Jamf Protect certainly extends the protection of Mac computers, making the infrastructure much more secure and fully controlled.