Keeping Your Mac Safe

Oct 3, 2018

Still think Macs are invulnerable to viruses and malware? Unfortunately, no matter what kind of device you’re on, you aren’t safe without a few levels of protection. With a Mac, however, the security requirements are a bit different. Here are a few tips to keep your sleek and cool machine from becoming a door stop.

Nicer to look at, just as dangerous to work on. (Source: Apple.com)

Security & Privacy
Under System Preferences, go to Security & Privacy. From there, select the Firewall tab and make sure it’s turned on. If not, enable it and then check the Stealth Mode box. This keeps your Mac from appearing on most networks, so you won’t be as much of a target on public wi-fi networks.

Downloads
Every time I download something on my Mac, it’s like jumping through five hoops. “Do you really want to download this? Type in your password. Are you still sure? We don’t know the developer, so we blocked the download.” It’s rage-inducing for a tech guy like me, but it’s really the best way to prevent most users from accidentally downloading potentially dangerous files. Under the general tab in Security & Privacy, make sure to check “Allow apps downloaded from App Store and identified developers,” so your Mac won’t block those downloads, like software you obtain from your browser.

FileVault
FileVault encrypts your entire hard drive and automatically encrypts any new file saved on the drive. This requires you to enter your password every time you open a file. Yes, every time. Telling users about entering a password for every file usually means that they’ll never turn on the encryption, but if your data is highly sensitive, you’ll be glad FileVault is there.

File Sharing
Your Mac can have some strange default settings for file sharing. This is typically set up so you can use AirDrop with your iPhone without a lot of hassle. A nice feature, but one that leaves you vulnerable. Under System Preferences, head to Sharing, and make sure all of the boxes are unchecked. Some situations require printer sharing or screen sharing for your IT department, but, if they’re not specifically needed, it’s best to shut them off to ensure no one can access your system easily.

They’re nice to look at and easy to work on, but Macs are just as vulnerable as any other device connected to the web. Spending just a few minutes in the system preferences menu and following these simple steps will confirm that, as far as your local machine goes, you’re as safe as possible. Stay vigilant!

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