14 Mac security tips to keep your computer safe and secure
There are nearly 100 million active Mac users around the world. People love Mac’s for several reasons: design, portability, power, and dependability. But as the Mac platform has continued to grow in popularity so have the security struggles to keep every Mac running fast, efficient, and safe.
Here are 14 easy tips, tricks, and fixes you can do to improve your Mac’s security.
- Keep your software up to date: Fixes don’t come much easier than doing what the computer’s maker asks you to do. But this applies to any programs you download or apps you use as well. It’s simple science. If you don’t keep updating your pest control, the roaches and rats are going to get inside your walls.
- Don’t use Bonjour: Bonjour is Mac’s file-sharing, printer-finding, instant messaging jack-of-all-trades. Unfortunately it also broadcasts where you Mac is and how to engage with it. That’s a landing beacon for hackers.
- Be stingy: Unless you need to share files with someone, don’t share anything, including printer information, Bluetooth info, or Internet sharing. Sharing doesn’t equal caring online, it equals giving thieves a good look at where you live.
- Really delete stuff you don’t use anymore: In the Mac world, there’s trash, and then there’s truly deleted. The second only comes with an extra command once files are in the trash. This is particularly important when taking out quarantined files that have infiltrated your system.
- Use the macOS firewall: A good firewall can be as strong as an antivirus scan, and it’s already built in. You can find it in the Security section in System Preferences.
- Be careful with Keychain: Keychain is the feature Mac uses to put all of your passwords into one cozy container to be used when you need one. Make sure you lock the keychain in the Keychain Access window so that anyone hacking your system doesn’t have a field day when they realize you left the vault door open.
- Encrypt data wherever possible: If you haven’t heard of FileVault, look it up in your System Preferences. It makes your whole home folder into an encrypted disk image and protects it with a master password.
- Shut down old network interfaces: If you’ve ever used a network interface that is no longer active, like a Bluetooth or FireWire, make sure you disable them when you are done. Leaving network options open gives hackers the chance to sneak in after the fact.
- Don’t let Safari automatically open downloads: What’s safe to Safari’s algorithm might not be safe to you. If there’s malware hidden in something Safari deems safe, you’re in trouble.
- Invest in antivirus security for Mac: Only about 10% of all viruses released infect Mac’s, but that still equals thousands of threats per day and hundreds of thousands per year. A few dollars a month is worth the peace of mind.
- Disable guest access: Even if your best friend from college is in town for the weekend, you never know what’s on their Mac that might get on your Mac. Additionally, there’s the chance that if you leave it on, someone in the general public can discover it as well. You can disable guest access in the Users & Groups section in System Preferences.
- Strengthen your passwords: Hackers use algorithmic machines to guess your passwords so make sure they are as close to perfect as possible. This means symbols, numbers, and uppercase/lowercase letters all together. Additionally, consider using a password manager such as 1Password.
- Disable automatic login: Sure it’s convenient for you, but it’s even more convenient for the thief who swipes your computer from the local coffee shop and doesn’t even have to try and guess your password. You can disable it from within the Login Options located in Users & Groups within System Preferences.
- Hide your username and password hints when logging in: Your username can occasionally provide insight into what your password may be and many people’s password hints are blatantly obvious giveaways to being able to figure out the actual password.