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CIS Apple Benchmark Reports

by Stephanie Dunn
March 9, 2017

As organizations continue to deploy Apple devices to support mobility needs, many are moving away from a Windows-based environment and integrating Apple computers into their enterprise. Built on a BSD-based platform, the Apple macOS operating system supports a wide variety of software applications and services designed to scale across any hybrid environment. Although macOS has been promoted as a stable platform, many organizations fail to harden these systems properly, leaving critical systems and data at risk. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is an organization that works with security experts to develop a set of 'best practice' security standards designed to harden operating systems and applications. These report templates provide a high-level overview of results gathered from CIS compliance scans using the CIS Apple Benchmarks.

Tenable Network Security has been certified by CIS to perform a wide variety of platform and application audits based on the best practice consensus benchmarks developed by CIS. Tenable submits example test cases for all of the criteria within each unique benchmark, and then submits our results to CIS personnel for official certification. Tenable has developed audit files based on the CIS Apple Benchmarks tested on Apple macOS systems, and has been approved and certified by CIS staff members.

When performing managed scans with SecurityCenter, some CIS audits require additional patch audits and vulnerability checks. Any additional requirements for completing an audit using the CIS Apple Benchmarks will be included within the audit file description text. In some cases, multiple scans may be required to be performed, as Tenable provides both Level 1 and Level 2 audit checks. Level 1 checks provide minimum settings recommendations, and are generally considered safe to apply to most systems. Level 2 checks include recommendations for complex or highly secure environments, and can lead to reduced functionality of systems running Apple Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.11(El Capitan), and macOS 10.12 (Sierra).

In order to perform audit scans with SecurityCenter, CIS Apple Benchmark audit files must be uploaded first. Next, the appropriate credentials must be added, after which a scan policy can be created. Finally, a scan can be scheduled. As part of the post scan jobs, the 'Auto-Run Reports' can be enabled automatically, running this report on the data collected using the appropriate audit file. Using these benchmarks will help to assess the effectiveness of existing security controls for both Apple macOS and Apple Safari browser for macOS, and provide the critical context needed to strengthen an organization's security posture.

The reports are available in the SecurityCenter Feed, a comprehensive collection of dashboards, reports, Assurance Report Cards, and assets. The reports can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed under the category Compliance & Configuration Assessment. The report requirements are:

  • SecurityCenter 5.2.0
  • Nessus 6.9.3
  • CIS Audit Files for Apple macOS and Apple Safari are required, and the files required for each template are listed below with respective templates.

In order to maintain the overall security of systems and data within the enterprise, organizations must have an effective and repeatable way to measure compliance results. Tenable SecurityCenter helps organizations obtain results using the CIS Benchmarks by measuring compliance in real time, providing an accurate assessment of an organization’s security posture. By prioritizing remediation actions of misconfigured systems, the organization can maximize their investment in compliance reporting and system hardening efforts. With more supported technologies than any other vendor, organizations will obtain the most comprehensive view of the network, and the intelligence needed to assess systems running Apple operating systems and browsers using CIS compliance standards.

Report Templates


CIS Apple Safari Benchmark v1.0.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for the Apple Safari browser on Apple OSX systems. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from file and directory permissions, encryption controls, service settings, and more. The audit files required to support this report template are:

  • CIS_Apple_Safari_Mac_OS_X.audit

CIS MacOSX 10.5 Benchmark v1.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for systems running Apple OSX 10.5. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from system preferences, access controls, user accounts, logging/auditing controls, and more. The audit files required to support this report template are:

  • CIS_MacOS_X_10.5_v1.0_Level_1.audit
  • CIS_MacOS_X_10.5_v1.0_Level_2.audit

CIS Apple OSX 10.6 Benchmark v1.0.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for systems running Apple OSX 10.6. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from system preferences, access controls, user accounts, logging/auditing controls, and more. The audit files required to support this report template are:

  • CIS_OSX_10.6_v1.0.0_L1.audit
  • CIS_OSX_10.6_v1.0.0_L2.audit

CIS Apple OSX 10.9 Benchmark v1.0.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for systems running Apple OSX 10.9. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from system preferences, access controls, user accounts, logging/auditing controls, and more. The audit files required to support this report template are:

  • CIS_OSX_10.9_v1.0.0_L1.audit
  • CIS_OSX_10.9_v1.0.0_L2.audit

CIS Apple OSX 10.10 Benchmark v1.2.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for systems running Apple OSX 10.10. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from file and directory permissions, security and privacy permissions, password management settings, and more. The audit files required to support this report template are:

  • CIS_OSX_10.10_v1.2.0_L1.audit
  • CIS_OSX_10.10_v1.2.0_L2.audit

CIS Apple OSX 10.11 Benchmark v1.1.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for systems running Apple OSX 10.11. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from security and privacy permissions, iCloud settings, network configuration, password management settings, and more. The audit files required to support this report template are:

  • CIS_OSX_10.11_v1.1.0_L1.audit
  • CIS_OSX_10.11_v1.1.0_L2.audit

CIS Apple OSX 10.12 Benchmark v1.0.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for systems running Apple OSX 10.12. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from security and privacy permissions, iCloud settings, network configuration, password management settings, and more. The audit files required to support this report template are:

  • CIS_OSX_10.12_Benchmark_v1.0.0_L1.audit
  • CIS_OSX_10.12_Benchmark_v1.0.0_L2.audit