Like most people, he assumed that the applications from Apple’s App Store were safe, the consequence was losing $600,000.
The repercussions of poor cybersecurity is now expanding drastically into people’s private lives. This is a paradigm shift from the typical commercial enterprise and IT professional victims. When a large, trusted corporation like Apple drops the ball, the fall out can be severe, and the article below shows just that.
Apple’s Technology Grasp on the Consumer
Before diving in further, take a moment to think of the top two beliefs that you likely have regarding Apple’s products. My guess is that the following two items came to mind: Ease-of-use and secure all around.
Truth to be told, this wasn’t a guess, but merely the common assumptions that I have been hearing from people over the years, which has led me to write about this. As the saying goes: “What you don’t know can kill you,” and in this case, financially.
The ease-of-use belief is absolutely justified, and at the core of Apple’s products. Creating and selling technology that nearly feels instinctive to its users was one of the values that Steve Jobs and the other founders based much of their model on.
As for being secure all around from outside hackers, viruses and protecting personal customer information, the effort hasn’t been nearly the same. In the past, Apple’s share of the personal computer market just wasn’t big enough for cyber criminals to spend time and resources pursuing. Apple simply took advantage of this lack of threats to convince consumers that its products were safe. It would be like a police chief in a town with nothing but gated communities, bragging about the safety records of the city under his leadership. On the surface it would be easy to give that person credit, but after further evaluation you shouldn’t give too much. Unlike the physical world where you can use guards and gates to keep threats away, the cyberworld has us all exposed and is a tad more complex. Apple has essentially been able to use “The Emperor has no clothes” theme to promote their security conception.
Awareness is the key factor in avoiding danger and mitigating risks. So here are the underlying factors you SHOULD be aware of:
While Apple’s significant gains in market share get a lot of attention, it’s not necessarily all good attention. Even Apple can make mistakes, and you as a consumer need to be aware of that, especially when referring to data security.
Every crime has the following main four components: The motive, the means, the opportunity, and the victim(s). Understanding these components can provide a solid baseline for understanding cyber criminals and ultimately mitigate your cyber risk.
The Motive: Though it feels like captain obvious here saying that a lot of individuals wish to have more money, it’s important to provide more context. Financially motivated cybercrime makes up the highest causing factor and can utilize multiple outlets for making money. Network extortion or ransomware is one way, as well as stealing credit card information to make purchases, and selling personal information on the black market. Another thing to note, is that there are a number of nation states who are looking for free dollars to either help ease their financial struggles, or larger ones looking to hurt the U.S. economy by using our money against us. Other common motivations include espionage, competitive spirits, or some type of revenge. But financial gain and espionage make up the motivation for an estimated 93% of all cyber attacks.
The Means: The efficiencies and conveniences afforded to us by the various digital devices has led everyone to store sensitive information on their computers and phones, which are internet connected devices. That being said, the internet (along with the applications and devices connected to it) is also considered the most optimal means to get to us.
No thanks to their new ill-gotten fortunes, scammers have been able to afford Apple’s premium and high quality products. Unfortunately, unlike most people who marvel at the good things in Apple devices, scammers’ brains are hardwired to look for vulnerabilities in everything. Naturally, they start getting ideas as soon as they become more familiar with their new toys. Let’s clarify something here though, the brains of cybersecurity professionals work exactly the same way. They too, are always looking for vulnerabilities in everything, except that they have the good intentions of patching or communicating those same vulnerabilities as opposed to exploiting them for user harm.
The Opportunity: After watching people install just about any application on their devices in just a few clicks, it’s clear that there is a blind trust that is a result of millions of dollars pumped into marketing campaigns to convince everyone that Apple’s devices and the applications are safe and essential. No doubt there are some extremely useful applications, but users are just as guilty for both not questioning and buying the idea of guaranteed safety at face value. This creates tremendous opportunity for those seeking to take advantage.
Apple does bear some responsibility since they have stated that they have knowledge that the apps can be manipulated after going through security checks. Therefore, additional controls should be utilized to limit these crime opportunities. Perhaps a good start would be some type warning message that informs users about the need to do their own due diligence in order to create an additional “human firewall” layer.
Buyer beware! It is all about the “What’s in it for us.” Apple makes billions of dollars annually from app purchases that its users make from the Apple App store, and Google’s does the same from its Play store. Though not quite as much as Apple, it is still enough for the industry players to promote the use of Apps without any concern for security. The main difference is that Apple has made people feel safe by claiming its verification of every single app to ensure non-maliciousness before publishing it, while Google has not made any such claims.
The Victim: Aside from the average consumer who stands to lose money or valuable information to scammers, there are other potential victims as well. Apple iPhones happen to be popular among business executives (both for small businesses and large corporations). The one thing that all these business execs have in common is their access to large sums of money and information under their control. This makes them, their employees and the business as a whole perfect targets (and potentially victims if they aren’t careful).