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Apple's biggest ever Platform Security guide stresses commitment to user privacy

As Apple CEO Tim Cook keeps mentioning during events, "Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right," and the document reiterates commitment to user data privacy.

twitter-logoKetan Pratap | February 19, 2021 | Updated 08:07 IST
Apple says that the Platform Security guide covers its entire product range.
Apple says that the Platform Security guide covers its entire product range.

Highlights

  • Apple has outlined its latest Platform Security update with iOS 14, macOS Big Sur, and Apple Silicon.
  • The almost 200-page document is the company's biggest ever update.
  • Notably, most of the things document covers has been announced previously, with some exceptions.

Apple published its 2021 update to Platform Security guide on Friday with its biggest ever document with deep-dive across iOS 14.3, iPadOS 14.3, macOS Big Sur 11.1, tvOS 14.3, and watchOS 7.2. The 200-page document provides a comprehensive overview of the latest security advancements across different devices.

As always, Apple reiterates its commitment to user privacy with this document and says that the security has been built across its product line since the beginning. "Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right and has numerous built-in controls and options that allow users to decide how and when apps use their information, as well as what information is being used," the company highlights in the document.

It's worth mentioning that Apple releases the Platform Security guide every year, however, this year's update is one of the biggest ever. The company confirms that it added new topics this year, including Memory safe iBoot implementation, Boot process for a Mac with Apple silicon, Boot modes for a Mac with Apple silicon, Startup Disk security policy control for a Mac with Apple silicon, LocalPolicy signing-key creation and management, Contents of a LocalPolicy file for a Mac with Apple silicon, Signed system volume security in macOS, Apple Security Research Device, Password Monitoring, IPv6 security, and Car keys security in iOS.

"This documentation provides details about how security technology and features are implemented within Apple platforms. It also helps organisations combine Apple platform security technology and features with their own policies and procedures to meet their specific security needs," Apple says in the new document.

Apple talked about different aspects like unlocking a device using Touch ID or Face ID. According to Apple, before Touch ID or Face ID were introduced, iPhone users were reluctant to use the passcode feature. In a data shared, the company claimed that only 49 per cent of users prefer using the passcode when it was the only biometric solution offered by Apple. This meant that despite Apple offering a security protocol on its devices, it was not used by the majority of users. Apple then launched Touch ID, and the number of users drastically changed after that because it was more convenient.

"The probability that a random person in the population could unlock a user's iPhone, iPad or Mac is 1 in 50,000 with Touch ID and 1 in 1,000,000 with Face ID. This probability increases with multiple enrolled fingerprints (up to 1 in 10,000 with five fingerprints) or appearances (up to 1 in 500,000 with two appearances). For additional protection, both Touch ID and Face ID allow only five unsuccessful match attempts before a passcode or password is required to obtain access to the user's device or account," explains the document.

Apart from new topics added, Apple says that some topics have been updated as well. These topics are Secure Enclave, Hardware microphone disconnect, recoveryOS and diagnostics environments for an Intel-based Mac, Direct memory access protections for Mac computers, Kernel extensions in macOS, System Integrity Protection, System security for watchOS, Managing FileVault in macOS, App access to saved passwords, Password security recommendations, Apple Cash security in iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS, Secure Business Chat using the Messages app, Wi-Fi privacy, Activation Lock security, and Apple Configurator 2 security. Apple has also launched a new Security Certifications and Compliance Center.

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