It should come as no surprise that cyber crooks are always after your money. If you do business valuations, then you are a most desirable target for the criminals. Think about it – business valuation is about money, lots of it.
In fact, businesses are usually the most valuable possessions people hold. Yes, business values even trump the real estate, often by a long margin. Getting a hold of the information on business values, along with who owns what in the company, is priceless for those that seek to exploit it illegally.
Business valuation is a serious financial analysis exercise. These days, business valuation software is ubiquitous, both in the hands of professional business appraisers and their clients. Often the clients and their advisors exchange mission critical data that is needed in order to determine what a business is worth. Things like the total business enterprise value, partner shares, names and addresses of the shareholders, financial performance records and future earnings forecasts.
Sounds like a treasure trove for the malefactors? You bet. Imagine all the pain and expense this could cause if the information fell into the hands of extortionists, thieves, and industrial spies.
One obvious way the crooks could do some profitable data mining behind your back is through malware. Yes, you guessed it, the very software that you see as an indispensable tool in your business valuation could be turned against you.
The presence of such threats is a fact of life in the software industry, particularly the financial technology applications, or fintech apps as industry mavens like to call them. The need to secure the business software against cyber attacks has been the top priority for the industry giants including Microsoft and Apple.
Both companies maintain massive software app stores that are a veritable magnet for malware attacks. Apple and Microsoft in recent past have taken drastic steps to protect software customers against harm.
Software security: code signing, notarization, SmartScreen and GateKeeper
For example, in Windows 10 Microsoft has implemented the SmartScreen technology to guard against rogue software. When you download an app from the Web, your PC’s SmartScreen checks the software product file to see if it is free from threats and safe to use.
In addition, Microsoft requires that the software be code signed in order to identify the publisher as well as ensure that the product as downloaded has not been modified by malicious actors.
Microsoft also white lists software apps by assigning a reputation rank to them. Suspicious apps that are either not code signed and identifiable, or unknown to Microsoft, are immediately flagged as unsafe by your Windows PC.
If you are a Mac user, you would be pleased to know that Apple has your back. Only those software companies who are officially accepted into the Apple’s Developer Program can create and sell software apps to Mac users. Apple issues such companies with a unique Apple ID that is used to code sign the app. Again, the code signature is checked by your Mac’s GateKeeper technology to ensure the developer is well known and the product file is intact.
Starting with MacOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple now requires that all apps be notarized. This additional security requirement means that Apple independently scans software apps for absence of malware threats. Only if no security flaws are found does Apple stamp the software product as safe for distribution to Mac users. Your Mac contacts Apple to check for the notarization stamp every time you try installing a new app.
Cyber crooks have always relied on stealth and anonymity to infiltrate people’s computers. The transparency and multiple checks that come from Apple and Microsoft weed out the shady types who would seek to sneak in while you are not looking.
Yes, we have your back, too!