Monterey security features

Jamal Issouquaein

Jamal Issouquaein

Systems Engineer - DARE Technology

A host of new Security and Privacy features will be coming to a Mac near you with the release of macOS 12 Monterey.

Below are some of the most anticipated features, furthering macOS’s lead as the most secure operating system available.

1 – On Device AI Processing

For all Apple Silicon powered Macs live text processing, and keyboard dictation, will now happen on your Mac locally with no data being sent to the cloud. This ensures the potentially sensitive data created by these processing tasks never leaves your Mac, and hence reduces the risk of any serious data leaks from a compromised data centre.

The Neural Engine, and Secure Enclave, on M1 chips is capable of carrying out these machine learning tasks faster than any previous Intel chip. Users will see a significant improvement in dictation speed, as well as the ability to dictate without breaks as no data needs to be sent back and forth over the internet.

2- macOS Guest VM Compatibility

macOS Monterey introduces a range of new virtualisation technologies which allows M1 Macs to host macOS virtual machines for the first time since release. By running macOS VMs on your Apple Silicon Mac you’ll be able to create sand box environments for testing software before deploying to your Mac estate.

Parallels have announced day one support, after a successful public beta, which allowed macOS 12 beta users to test out their latest version of Parallels for M1. This can significantly improve the speed at which you verify applications are safe for deployment, while reducing the number of test devices necessary as VM snapshots allow you to quickly restore to a base image.

3 – Safari Now Forces HTTPS

In the latest version of Safari, included in macOS 12, users are automatically re-directed to the HTTPS version of a website, even if they entered the HTTP version of a URL, and the website itself did not re-direct them to HTTPS. This ensures Safari users are never browsing the insecure version of a website while an HTTPS version was available.

Using HTTPS and SSL significantly reduces the chances of personal information being exposed as it’s being sent to the intended web server. An example is sending your credit card details while online shopping, on the HTTP version of a website these details would be unencrypted, with Safari you’re guaranteed to be on the HTTPS version of the site (if available) and securely encrypting these details before they’re sent.

4 – Apple Password Manager

The Passwords section of System Preferences expands on the features built into previous versions of Safari on macOS and iOS, launching a fully-fledged password manager right on all your Apple devices.

The new feature allows you to store passwords for all the sites you visit, as well as the apps you login to. Apple will then notify you if a compromised password, or website, is detected by comparing your secure credentials to publicly available lists of stolen passwords.

5 – iCloud Private Relay

iCloud Private Relay has been available on iOS devices since the launch of iOS 15 last month, and it’s now coming to macOS devices too. The service sends your web traffic through two separate relays, hiding your IP address, location, and browsing history from your ISP, and the websites you visit. This stops companies from tracking your data and creating targeted advertising based on your browsing habits.

Jamf have also announced support for split routing using iCloud Private Relay. With the correct MDM configuration Profiles in place users will have their personal traffic sent over iCloud Private Relay, while corporate traffic is routed normally through the network you’re connected to.

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