With the rise of cyber threats in the digital world, macOS is facing new challenges. Despite being considered highly secure, many Mac users have already fallen victim to attacks. In fact, more than 50% have personally experienced malware, hacking, or fraud related to their Mac usage. Apple's Unix-based architecture and strict security measures may not be enough to protect sensitive information from growing vulnerabilities. To combat this, implementing advanced Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies is crucial in safeguarding against the ever-evolving tactics of cybercriminals.
In our discussion with Aatish, founder of Strac, we explore security protocols to prevent data breaches and maintain compliance within MacOS systems.
In a world where macOS is worshiped for its robust security, what do you think are its pitfalls?
Drawbacks of MacOS With Sensitive Data Security
Even though macOS is known for its security, it is not immune to cyber threats. In fact, several vulnerabilities have been discovered in recent times, which have shaken the belief that it is invulnerable.
Did you know that arbitrary code execution poses a major security threat by allowing unauthorized individuals to take control of the system through code execution? This vulnerability can arise from flaws in the macOS operating system or software applications.
Memory vulnerabilities, like buffer overflows, can be used to execute harmful code or even crash the system. These vulnerabilities often result from programming mistakes and can be exploited by attackers to compromise system security.
Then there are the Bluetooth security flaws; weaknesses in Bluetooth connections could let hackers intercept data or remotely control devices, putting both users and developers at risk of attacks.
Ever heard of zero-day flaws? They're undisclosed vulnerabilities that hackers exploit before developers can fix them. These attacks are particularly dangerous because they catch users and developers off guard, often leading to breaches before a solution is available.
Even with SSL protection, Macs are vulnerable to security breaches. This can be caused by misconfigurations or advanced cyber-attacks, potentially leading to data leaks. The lack of strict protocols for data transfer on Macs can put information at risk during transit, posing a security threat.
Offline data stored on Macs is also vulnerable to theft or unauthorized access, especially if the device is lost or stolen. Poorly configured local area networks can unintentionally expose data from connected Macs to potential leaks.
Printing sensitive documents from Macs can expose data if the printed material is left unattended or intercepted. Even minor security oversights can gradually and unnoticed lead to data leaks over time, compromising the integrity of data.
The fact is vulnerabilities often stem from user behaviors. Many users unintentionally put their security at risk by practicing poor digital habits, such as downloading unverified software, using weak passwords, or ignoring software updates. In addition, vulnerabilities can be introduced by third-party applications. Although the App Store maintains rigorous security standards, not all macOS applications come from this secure environment. Apps from other sources might have malware or other security issues. Also, macOS devices often have sensitive data and financial information, which makes them a target for cybercriminals. The risks increase when these devices are lost or stolen, data is exposed through phishing attacks, or when sensitive information is sent over unsecured networks.
However, a whole class of problems around sensitive data sitting on company laptops like Macbooks has not been solved. We have employee laptops that have customer PII data, company financial statements, confidential data, PHI data, etc. - all on that laptop. Now, if that laptop is stolen, an exploit happens, a phishing attack happens, OR data gets leaked through an unsecured network, that sensitive data is at risk for the company. Protecting customer data is the single most important function of the company.
MacOS doesn't provide the ability to tell that this file or data is sensitive. It can't differentiate whether this customer is sensitive or confidential to the company. Because of that, MacOS can't block alerts or encrypt sensitive data flowing on websites that are not approved for use. Similarly, it can't prevent the exfiltration of sensitive data on USB or via other networks. In short, MacOS can't prevent data leaks.
Why do You Need a Third Party DLP for MacOS Endpoints?
As I have already mentioned before, macOS is known for its strong security features, but it's not bulletproof against data breaches and leaks. Third-party Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions offer a more thorough and layered approach to data protection to fill in any potential weaknesses in macOS's capabilities.
Benefits of Third-Party DLP Solutions
- Encryption weaknesses: Third-party DLP solutions are particularly useful in addressing vulnerabilities in Mac OS encryption systems. While FileVault provides basic encryption, third-party DLP solutions offer more advanced protocols to keep sensitive data secure even during access or transfer.
- Real-time monitoring: macOS systems may lack comprehensive real-time monitoring for data movement, but third-party DLP providers can bridge this gap with continuous monitoring services. This involves tracking data access and transfer within the network and alerting administrators to unauthorized or suspicious activity.
- Handling sensitive data: macOS may not be fully equipped to identify and handle sensitive information like personal data or intellectual property. Third-party DLP solutions can help classify and secure this data, preventing accidental sharing or exposure.
- Customized data handling protocols: Third-party DLP tools can offer tailored data handling and classification systems, which are particularly beneficial for organizations dealing with a variety of sensitive information. They can automatically classify data based on predefined criteria and ensure each type is handled according to its sensitivity level.
- Layered security approach: Third-party DLP solutions often adopt a multi-layered security strategy. This approach layers different security measures on top of each other, creating a more robust defense against various cyber threats. It covers everything from perimeter defenses to in-depth content inspection and anomaly detection.
- Context-aware protection: These solutions are often equipped with context-aware protection mechanisms. They can understand the context in which data is used and accessed, enabling nuanced and effective security measures.
- Policy enforcement and compliance management: Many third-party DLP solutions offer advanced policy enforcement tools, allowing organizations to easily set and manage data handling policies.
- Integration with other security tools: Unlike macOS's native tools, third-party DLP solutions can often be integrated with a wider range of other security tools and systems. This brings about a unified and coordinated security posture across different platforms and environments.
Not only this, the integration of AI and ML helps DLP
- Predict potential breaches using pattern analysis in data access and usage.
- Adapt security protocols based on evolving data usage patterns within an organization for dynamic and responsive data protection.
- Automate the detection of threats and anomalies in data handling to reduce manual monitoring.
- Effectively prevent data leaks by making sense of the context and classification of data to make sure that only authorized people access sensitive information.
Now that we understand how DLPs can strengthen Mac's security posture, can you talk about the offerings of Strac Mac DLP? What special features does it offer?
How Strac Secures Sensitive Data in MacOS Endpoints ?
Strac Mac DLP prevents data leaks and ensures compliance with regulatory standards.
- Data privacy check: Strac thoroughly checks the storage systems on Mac devices and network-attached storage for any sensitive data at risk. This in-depth scan helps to strengthen your defenses against potential data breaches.
- SSL encryption monitoring: Strac has the ability to monitor SSL communications and analyze data flow in real-time. This helps prevent unauthorized transmission of sensitive files, which is crucial for enforcing strict data governance policies.
- Regulation watchdog: Using its knowledge of regulations, Strac can identify and protect data from potential violations of important regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI. Its advanced pattern recognition ensures that your organization stays compliant.
- Smart data tracking: Thanks to its advanced algorithms, Strac can detect and block disguised attempts at stealing or leaking data, providing a strong defense for your digital assets and sensitive information.
- Proactive data cleanup: When policy violations are detected, Strac takes action to clean up the compromised data and replace it with secure placeholders, reducing the impact of any potential data breaches.
- USB data security: With Strac, you can either encrypt or block data on removable media, aligning with corporate security requirements to enhance data security.
- Spotting unusual behavior: Strac is great at recognizing and addressing risks related to unusual user actions, making security measures more predictive.
- Checking file types: Strac's system ensures that your data remains intact by identifying and stopping the transfer of altered file types, keeping your data safe from compromise.
- Web traffic oversight: Strac controls the flow of HTTP/HTTPS data, preventing unauthorized file transfers and enhancing your cybersecurity defenses.
- Drip protection: Strac's ongoing monitoring stops gradual data leaks, providing a systematic way to stop widespread data breaches.
- App control: Strac limits risky actions within software systems to prevent data leaks at the application level.
- Data tracking: Strac offers detailed management and reporting tools so admins can see exactly what's happening with their data security and make smart choices.
Key Benefits of Strac Mac DLP
- Preventing data breaches: Strac takes proactive steps to prevent leaks and protect your reputation and financial stability by safeguarding against any breaches, no matter how small.
- Ensuring regulatory compliance: Strac ensures compliance with GDPR and other regulatory standards by closely monitoring and controlling data transfers.
- Securing remote access: Strac provides secure remote access to corporate networks, ensuring data safety regardless of the user's location.
- Improving SSL security: Strac enhances SSL security measures to ensure encrypted channels do not become pathways for data leakage.
- Protecting offline data: Strac offers strong data protection for Mac systems, defending against copying or sharing threats even in offline environments.
- Mitigating office LAN risks: Strac reduces risks in office LANs by preventing unintended sensitive data exchanges and enhancing internal network security.
- Monitoring document printing: Strac monitors document printing activities to prevent data leaks from printed materials and strengthen overall data protection strategies.
- Customization: Businesses have the freedom to tailor their remediation policies to suit their needs. They can choose to allow all files except for specified websites, block access for certain users, or set up different rules. Strac offers extensive customization options to configure a wide range of data elements such as social security numbers in the US, Aadhar Card numbers in India, and driver's licenses/passport information globally, as well as various types of sensitive personal and financial data.
Protecting your Mac's sensitive data is a must, and with Strac Mac DLP, it's easier than ever before. Our comprehensive data defense solution is specifically designed for the Mac ecosystem and offers advanced detection to keep your information safe.
Don't wait – fortify your defenses against modern data threats with Strac. Book a demo today.