Apple Releases its 2021 Platform Security Guide

Friday, February 19th, 2021 | , ,

On Thursday, Apple released its 2021 Platform Security guide, outlining its current and year-ahead agenda for its device hardware, software, and silicon security. Substantially larger than previous versions, this year’s 192-page report contains many insights into how Apple is tackling security and privacy within its mobile, desktop, and cloud ecosystem.

Rich Mogull, CEO and analyst of Securosis, an information security research and advisory firm, writes that previous Apple Previous Platform Security updates have taken a “piecemeal approach” to address the company’s security universe.

“This is the most comprehensive platform security update we have ever seen from Apple,” he claimed in an interview with Threatpost.

Top 2021 Apple Platform Security report themes include what Apple’s M1 silicon means for Mac security; the latest developments around its Blast Door security technology used in iMessage; and transparency around Secure Enclave – a dedicated secure subsystem integrated into Apple systems-on-a-chip (SoC).

Most of what is included in the report has been previously announced or leaked – apart from details around Apple’s Security Research Device.

The Apple Security Research Device is a specially fused iPhone that allows security researchers to perform research on iOS without having to defeat or disable the platform security features of iPhone, according to Apple. “With this device, a researcher can side-load content that runs with platform-equivalent permissions and thus perform research on a platform that more closely models that of production devices,” wrote Apple.

Like Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Initiative, the Apple Platform Security report is designed to give partners, security researchers and consumers a holistic state-of-union picture of its security posture.

2021 Apple Platform Security Highlights Include:

  • 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
  • Local Policy signing-key creation and management
  • Password Monitoring
  • IPv6 security
  • Car keys security in iOS

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