Apple Privacy Changes Threaten Cybersecurity

Editor's note: this is written by our guest writer Max. He is knowledgeable in the topics of cybersecurity and economics.



It has been a fall to remember for Apple: They introduced the iPhone 12, one of the first 5G enabled smartphones at a shockingly cheap price. Their new line of iPads boasts impressive battery life, along with next-gen clock speeds. They have just launched over the ear AirPods, and are even experimenting with self-driving car technology. But most impressive of all is their new super-efficient Apple Silicon M1 ARM chip, combined with the gorgeous new Big Sur update. Tech fanatics will revel in the transition away from aging intel processors, marking a milestone advancement in the architecture of Mac Notebooks. The new Mac’s Wi-Fi 6 capabilities afford its users an ultra-fast and secure Wi-Fi experience, taking advantage of the growing feature in mesh network products such as Orbi and Google Nest.

However, the technology comes with a catch: a near-complete abandonment of your privacy. The minute you turn on your computer, Apple begins recording exactly what programs you are using and for how long you are using them. Apple stores not only what programs are using, but also a rough estimate of your location. They know when you are at home, when you are at work, when you are at a friend’s house. Not only does Apple fail to encrypt this data, but they store it in a third-party provider. This means that your ISP and anyone who has access to your ISP, (like the government, hackers, etc.) knows exactly what you are doing on your computer and when. Apple has partnered with the US government in the PRISM spying program, meaning that the military and law enforcement has access to this data at any time, without needing a warrant. The government took advantage of this feature over 35,000 times in 2019. Additionally, Apple has just disabled a system daemon (task) called “trustd” that allowed VPNs and privacy providers such as Little Snitch to block OS-level communication tasks. This means that not only will there be no way to block these invasive trackers that Apple has implemented, but apps in your computer will be able to completely bypass any of your VPN connections. Not surprisingly, the only way to access these new ultra-fast mac laptops is to install Big Sur, the main culprit in these privacy invasions. Consumers must now choose between a fast laptop and a private one, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to change anytime soon.


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