Security

Apple's macOS 10.14 Mojave has big security and privacy updates: Here's the list

Apple is beefing up efforts to protect their users from being tracked and hacked. Here's how.

Security is a constant topic of conversation in the tech world and Apple made sure to address it at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2018 Monday, where company leaders announced a bevy of new protections for the latest version of their macOS operating system, 10.14 Mojave.

Mojave's new security bonafides were on display during the WWDC keynote as they were described by Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering.

"There can be a lot of sensitive data on your devices and we think you should be in control of who sees it. We are adding greater protections on how apps can access that info," Federighi said. "Today, Apple devices check in with you before granting access to information. In Mojave, we're extending these protections to include your camera and your microphone as well as sensitive parts of your file system like your mail database, message history, and your backups—and all of this is protected by default on Mojave."

SEE: Information security policy (Tech Pro Research)

Mojave comes equipped with a bunch of updates to Safari that attempt to curb tracking or "fingerprinting" that allows websites to create a fingerprint of your computer and track you across the web, Federighi said. With this Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature, the browser will also stop advertisements from having "like" or "share" buttons that Apple says tracks users without permission.

Safari will also take a bigger role in your password creation, creating and storing your strongest passwords at your request while stopping you from reusing poor ones.

"One of the reasons people choose Apple products is because of our commitment to security and privacy. We believe that your private data should remain private," Federighi added.

Apple also announced that their much-publicized group FaceTime feature, which will now be able to handle a conversation among 32 different devices, will come with end-to-end encryption, as is currently standard for audio and video calls on Apple devices.

Mojave will also make sure to let you know when your microphone or camera is being accessed, Federighi said, and this protection will extend to most of the data on your computer.

Analysts and news outlets have highlighted Apple's pointed use of Facebook during the conference and say some of the new security measures are aimed squarely at them. Facebook continues to accrue bad headlines for their security practices and failure to adequately notify their users about how their data is taken and used.

Apple CEO Tim Cook pulled no punches in a recent interview with CNN, repeating his criticism of websites that do not take privacy seriously and reminding customers of Apple's duty to protect the information stored on devices they make.

"I think that the privacy thing has gotten totally out of control and I think most people are not aware of who is tracking them, how much they're being tracked and the large amounts of detailed data that are out there about them...We think privacy is a fundamental human right," Cook said in the CNN interview.

The new OS will launch this fall, with a beta version likely to open soon.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • Apple's new macOS Mojave operating system prioritizes security and tries to stop websites from tracking you.
  • The macOS Mojave system restricts apps from accessing information on your device or controlling your camera and microphone.

Also see

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Image: Lynn La/CNET

About Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig is a freelance journalist based in New York City. He recently returned to the United States after reporting from South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia since 2013.

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