Security expert unveils software tool based on GameplayKit

A new software tool based around Apple's GameplayKit that protects Mac users from malware has been revealed at RSA Conference 2019.

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If there's one place for tech enthusiasts and IT industry insiders to learn more about digital security, it's the RSA Conference. The annual convention covers everythign related to IT security, and the latest 2019 event featured a special panel centered around an interesting use of Apple's Gameplaykit. Spearheaded by security expert Patrick Wardle, the new app GamePlan helps protect Mac users from malware and other suspicious activity.

Detailed in the RSA Conference 2019 panel titled "What's Your Game Plan? Leveraging Apple's Game Engine to Detect Threats," Wardle unveiled the new Mac-oriented security software. GamePlan leverages Apple's GameplayKit, which the official Apple website describes as an "object-oriented framework that provides foundational tools and technologies for building games."

From what we can tell, searching for malware and unusual behavior wasn't necessarily part of GameplayKit's intended functionality, but the development kit does seem to work in that regard. Wardle's RSA Conference was intended to detail how GamePlan's open-source software "passively collects system events" of dubious origin and then "leverages Apple’s game engine to quickly and efficiently apply rules against these collected events."

RSA Conference 2019 GamePlan Apple GameplayKit security software

Speaking in an interview with Wired, Wardle compared the software's function to classic video game Pac-Man:

"GameplayKit takes care of evaluating events and spinning out an action," Wardle said. "So, in PacMan, by default the ghosts are hunting PacMan, so that's a rule. If PacMan eats a power pellet, the ghosts run away. That's another rule. So we realized that Apple has done all the hard work for us."

More specifically, GamePlan allows Mac users to specify the sort of behaviors and software actions they deem to be suspicious. Wardle gave Wired an additional example of the software would distinguish between normal behavior and what would only seem suspicious in specific circumstances:

"If files are copied onto removable USB storage from a developer laptop: No alert," he said. "But from a human resources laptop: Alert."

Wardle's RSA Conference 2019 presentation has already concluded, but attendees were not given any indication on when the GamePlan software might make its final release. Until then, be sure to keep it tuned right here to Shacknews for the latest tech news and Apple-flavored updates.

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