MacOS 12.4, the new update to Apple’s MacOS Monterey desktop and laptop operating system, seems like a slightly underwhelming update, particularly given its huge size (on my M1 MacBook Air it comes in at a hefty 4.39Gb!). Aside from a few parent and child-friendly features (not trivial, but tightly focused on a subset of users) you could be forgiven for wondering why you’d bother downloading it.
If you have children using a Mac, particularly at school as part of a One-to-One device program the most immediately useful new feature is that parents can now receive an alert if their child sends or receives pictures containing nudity. This feature will also display helpful resources for children when they attempt to send or receive images containing nudity. Apple has invested significant resources over the last few years into detecting child exploitation material transmitted across its services, and now the technology they have developed to do that is being deployed in a way that directly helps parents keep their kids safe.
Now, what’s in it for the rest of us? Apple innocuously directs those curious about the security component of this update to https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222, and most people will never look there. If you do happen to click you will be greeted by a long list of security holes identified by researchers that Apple have plugged. This is a big deal. Cyber-crime and cyber security, whether you’re conscious of it or not, is now a routine part of our daily lives. Beyond just social media, we live our lives connected to the world via the internet, in our shopping, banking, telehealth and work. Our devices are our portal to our online lives, and for us to be safe, those devices need to be secure. Keeping those devices up to date with security patches is no longer optional.
Many people still say things like “I don’t care if hackers break in. They’ll find out that I’m really boring.” If this is you, you’re far more interesting than you give yourself credit for. Your savings are interesting, as are your credit cards. Your contacts are even more interesting, and your identity is the most interesting and valuable thing you own. Your computer likely contains most, or all of the information required to access your online accounts, and probably holds enough information to make up the 100 points of ID that are required in Australia open bank accounts, deal with utilities and service providers, and interact with the government. Many people have found themselves locked out of their bank accounts, their lives and their businesses by identity thieves. This is a massive worldwide problem and exits largely because of lax attitudes to personal and business security.
This update is all about safety. Safety for children using these devices, and safety for the rest of us. We can no longer assume that we’re not a target for cyber criminals just because we’re not famous, or our business isn’t one of the Big Four banks. Please update your Mac today. If you’re still running MacOS Catalina or Big Sur Apple have released updates for your computers too. If you need a hand or would like to have a discussion about securing your business please give us a call on 1300 37 11 37 or email us at hello@NewGaugeDigital.com.au, or just check out what we have to offer at www.newgaugedigital.com.au .