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Grow Your Business Security

Mac Security Flaw 'Rootpipe' Puts Business Data at Risk

Mac Security Flaw 'Rootpipe' Puts Business Data at Risk
Credit: kentoh/Shutterstock

All Mac business users, listen up. Details of a vulnerability in Macs have just been released, and you won't like the risks it poses for your company.

Called "Rootpipe," this security flaw makes your business information, private customer data and anything else you keep in your systems accessible to those who want to exploit it — and they won't even need to know your login credentials to access it.

Discovered by Emil Kvarnhammar, a consultant at the Swedish IT security firm TrueSec, Rootpipe affects Macs running OS X Yosemite, Mavericks and Mountain Lion. Here's what we know about Rootpipe so far and how you can protect your systems. [10 Security Solutions for Small Business]

What is Rootpipe?

Rootpipe is a vulnerability that gives hackers root access to Mac computers without a password. This means that attackers can circumvent existing security measures and gain administrative-level privileges to your systems. If exploited, intruders can do such things as change system settings, delete files and steal sensitive data such as passwords, financial accounts and your business's and customers' private information.

The security flaw is nothing new, however. Kvarnhammar confirms in his findings that the vulnerability has been around since 2012, but may be "much older."

Is there a fix?

Kvarnhammar has reported the vulnerability to Apple. Though the company has yet to issue a public statement, a patch is expected in January 2015. In the meantime, Apple has asked Kvarnhammar to withhold details regarding the security flaw.

What you can do

To protect your Mac devices — and your business — security experts recommend the following:

  • Don't use an admin account on your Mac by default. Instead, create a separate user account for daily use.
  • Use Apple's FileVault, a security tool that keeps your data encrypted.
  • Make sure your system is always protected by Apple's latest security updates.
  • Be cautious of documents, links and other data you receive from untrusted sources.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.