Open Letter to Apple – Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Dear Apple,

Your new MacBook Pro’s rock… the screen alone is just like moving from black and white to colour, and with the Air-like instant on, solid state disk and all round grooviness I nearly sold a kidney there and then (thank goodness the market in kidneys crashed; this could have been a very different letter).

And then, I saw it. Or more accurately I didn’t. The lozenge shaped hole of hope, that sliver of sanity, the goddam lock lead hole… It wasn’t there; in fact I looked again and it still isn’t there!

WTF Apple? What kind of insane douchebaggery is this?

You have strived and toiled and driven to be accepted into the enterprise. You have integrated with Microsoft Exchange, AD and even licensed ActiveSync for the iPhone. You have built in full disk encryption into your OS(X), allowed corporate Microsoft into your walled garden and introduced Employee Purchase Programs. In fact, you sounded like my hip godfather; all grown up and wise and everything, and yet still somewhat cool and groovy.

I even use a MacBook Pro at work for goodness sake! You make ME look cool and hipster like, and THAT is hard work I can tell you…

I tell people about how much more stable OSX is, how much more consistent the hardware is and how much more intuitive the interface is. Sure, your enterprise hardware support isn’t as good as say HP’s and Lenovo, but it is good enough, and at a pinch I just wander up to Oxford Street and chat to a Genius and they fix it anyway.
And then you announce the retina display, and all the other coolness that goes along with the new MacBooks; everyone in the office is talking about how they need one, my work and productivity depend on it, and you know what?… I ignored them because I needed one and my productivity suddenly depended on one as well…

And when I didn’t see that hole of hope, I think I died a little inside, and not just because I couldn’t lock my laptop up now, but because I will never be able to lock it in the future. This is obviously a design decision, one that was actually thought out, not just forgotten.

I have fought and fought to get my people to understand the importance of basic DLP, that is, lock your frickin laptop up, and your data will not literally walk out of the door. And in one fell swoop, you have told all of my MacBook users that it’s OK not to have a laptop lock. “If Apple don’t think it is important, why should I listen to you?”.

Godammit.

I now have to fight for extra budget for a case that screws into the chassis of the laptop that I can lock a lead to (ugly) or pieces of metal to slip between the hinge for the lock lead to attach to (screen crunchingly efficient) to get a basic security control in place. And I bet the answer will be “no” – these new Macs are expensive enough, we have encryption, why bother? Ummm, downtime, productivity, overhead of security incident reporting, cost of hardware replacement and just generally lax security practises (or “risk homeostasis” – a topic of a forthcoming presentation).

You have two choices; either reintroduce said hole, or introduce the most amazingly designed and fabulous looking security device for these laptops that I will spill £50 of my own money to buy one.

Do you dare to “think different” in this regard…

Yours sincerely,

Thom “lockless” Langford

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About Thom Langford

An information security professional, award winning security blogger and industry commentator. Available as a speaking head and presenter on topics relating to information security, risk management and compliance.

6 responses to “Open Letter to Apple – Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

  1. brandy69 says :

    I’m completely with you but may be Apple figured out again what a Mac user needs or better does not need. Mac users do not need this little hole as they simply will not use the lovely locks.

  2. Darryl Godfrey says :

    Even more to the point, Mac users are so in love with their Pro, that they would never leave it alone, vulnerable to passing bandits and other Windoze users. So, you see, it’s just not necessary 🙂

    • tandtsec says :

      Oh that this was true! In my humble experience Macs are either targeted or left unsecured more often, as they are the ones that get stolen more than your average PC. This is partly because Macs are more desirable machines, but I am sure other factors are at play here. Thanks for the comment though!

  3. Tim Harney says :

    This is Apple’s modus operandi – much like how their own KB article used to expound on the frivolous pursuit that was installing anti-virus (since taken down due to the increase in malware for OS X, and the realization that they too are vulnerable) they exhibit the same hubris by clearly saying, as you put it, you don’t need a laptop lock.

    That being said, I can count on one-hand the number of friends, relatives and random coffee shop goers or university students who diligently lock up their laptop in my observation (not saying all are mac, but this is just not the common sense task in daily life that it is in the corporate world). Apple is just further demonstrating their consumer focus and little regard for enterprise. I hope that as they continue to churn out great products that enterprise and the inroads (and profits!) they can make there start driving decisions.

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  1. An open letter to Apple – a change of heart | Thom Langford - October 30, 2014

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