Mac computers on chips developed by Apple itself, no matter how hard they try to challenge their success, are more economical and more productive than Macs on Intel. A fact confirmed by practice. How will this transition affect user safety? The answer seems obvious – a Mac with Apple Silicon is essentially the same iPhone or iPad, which is considered one of the best in security. But the Mac isn’t iPhone or iPad, after all. And with them, too, everything is not easy. Vulnerabilities in their protection are revealed every year, and nothing can be done about it. iPhones and iPads are too complex and non-trivial to be invulnerable, and Macs are even more complicated.
Like its little brothers, the M1 Mac is the safest of all computers in our time. Because of its design features and the fact that a lot of time and effort is devoted to security and data protection in developing an operating system, the best specialists on these issues are engaged in this. Security measures make the system more and more closed – this is inevitable.
Attackers, sooner or later, find loopholes (they can be found everywhere) – they know where they need to penetrate, and they have a significant advantage: they can concentrate their forces on one task. And those who oppose them do not have this advantage. A closed system is more difficult to control—feelings of false security lulls alertness. Macs on ARM are easy to make even more closed – and the temptation to go this route has never been stronger. But this is not the case yet. Still, M1 computers were safer than their Intel predecessors.
Mac on M1 vs. Mac on Intel security comparison
According to the vulnerability hunters, the security and protection of the M1 Mac are more or less well. Compared to a Mac on Intel, for example. Even compared to the Apple T2 operating system security and integrity chip in the Intel Mac.
To use it, you need physical access to the computer, a special USB cable used only at Apple and its service centers – which, however, can be obtained. On the M1 Mac, this vulnerability is not present. Plus, there are hardware-level mechanisms that ensure security in M1 Macs is an order of magnitude more effective than Intel. For example, pointers’ authentication is much more difficult for an attacker to change the values of pointers in the computer memory, which increases protection against exploits related to buffer overflows.
In the field of security, the computer architecture on Apple Silicon has essentially outperformed Intel architecture.
So when you buy a Mac with an M1, you get one of the most secure computers ever.
iPhone and iPad security
The iPhone and iPad also have adequate protection against electronic scum. A comprehensive set of security measures for Apple mobile devices effectively protects them from malicious software. But there have already been cases of such software appearing on App Store shelves. In response, they modernized the procedures for checking software for malicious intent, providing for situations that no one had thought of before – something had to be rewritten from scratch.
Nobody got fired—work moment. There are no guarantees and can not be – M1 Macs are almost as safe. Now they are safer – because the attackers have not yet fully mastered. But the enemy is already working on it.
Mac problems on M1
The first thing that comes to mind when you understand how persistently attackers are looking for weak points in defense M1 Mac – information about them needs to be closed. Restrict access to it. Everyone who reads the detailed documentation takes a nondisclosure agreement and monitors them within 24 hours, 7 days a week. That is, to do something similar to what Apple did, for example, with information about the iPhone SDK, until Steve put an end to it. Because the closure of technical information about a mass-produced device and sold without restrictions has never led to anything good.
Besides these pictures, we know nothing about M1.
Vulnerability hunters consider the lack, if not the absence of documentation, describing the features of M1 Macs and their operating system as a risk factor. There is no M1 system-on-chip documentation detailing all of its components. Attackers will surely get to all this information and get an advantage that cannot be overestimated. The more popular Macs with Apple Silicon become, and the more circulations they sell, hackers will be more attractive. We need to prepare for this.