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8 Tips on How to Improve Your Mac Security

Posted on by Dawna M. Roberts in SecurityFebruary 28, 2021

Macbook security 

With the myriad of privacy and security threats out there today, it is more critical than ever before to secure your Mac for safe browsing and computing. Threats don’t always come from outside, either. Family, visitors, and in-home employees could deliberately or accidentally jeopardize your information. 

Regardless of whether you are setting up a brand-new Mac or just upgrading the OS, it’s an excellent time to review your privacy and security settings to ensure your safety.

Follow the tips below to secure your Mac for maximum privacy and security.

1. Secure Access & Require a Login

Always log out when you are done using the computer and require that all users log in using a standard account rather than an administrative account. A standard account will protect you against some threats. Always set very secure passwords on each account. 

Be sure to configure your Mac to automatically log out if the computer has been idle for a specific number of minutes. Require users to enter a password to wake the Mac up from sleep. You can also use an active “hot corner” to put your Mac to sleep instantly. 

2. Limit Administrative Users

The first user you create when setting up a new Mac is automatically designated as an administrative account. Admins have the keys to the city and can delete files, install new software (even malicious kinds) and change configuration settings. Although this is a lot of great power, in the wrong hands, it can be dangerous. Don’t set up too many administrative accounts.

Set up a few standard users for everyday tasks, and if another family member sits down to use your computer when you are not home, they will have restricted access and won’t be able to do as much damage. While logged in as a standard user, you may have to enter the administrator username and password to perform certain functions. Although this might be tedious, it could also save you from losing your data or damage from a malware infection. 

3. Install and Use a Password Manager

Since it can be challenging to remember each and every password you used on every account and website, you should use a password manager. That way, you will only need to remember one single long, strong, password and the vault will hold the rest. The password manager can also log you in automatically with a browser add-on. A good password manager can also help generate strong passwords and alert you if you reuse one on another website or notify you of data breaches that affect accounts you own.

4. Turn on Disk Encryption (FileVault)

Mac security tips

The Mac operating system (macOS) includes a handy tool called FileVault, which encrypts the entire hard drive to protect it from anyone seeing or copying the data. This means that the whole disk is locked and protected unless you enter the correct login credentials. Even if someone were to hack into your network, they could still not access your Mac without a valid login. Apple uses the XTS-AES 128 algorithm to secure your entire hard drive. 

5. Review All Privacy Settings

Review all your privacy settings, especially those apps that have access to your microphone, camera, and GPS/location. Visit System Preferences and then go to Security and Privacy. Check out every single setting to be sure you are protected as much as possible. You may need to turn on access to temporarily use certain apps, but your default should be to disable access until you need it.

6. Install Antivirus/Anti-Malware Software

Install good, robust antivirus/anti-malware software on your Mac to keep it protected against malware, viruses, ransomware, and other types of online threats. Most of these products will protect your browsing and even stop you from visiting malicious websites or clicking on phishing links in an email.

7. Use a VPN For All Online Browsing

A VPN is an added layer of protection that masks your IP address and protects all your online activities. If you do banking online or even pay bills using your Mac, you should have a VPN installed. Otherwise, you could be subject to man-in-the-middle attacks or other dangers. If someone hacks into your network, they could potentially capture the logins for your credit card and banking sites. A VPN will help protect you from that. 

8. Back-Up Consistently

Most people keep everything on their computer, and not only is that information in danger from outside threats but also naturally occurring disasters. If your hard drive crashes or is destroyed in a fire, you could easily lose everything. If a hacker installs ransomware and locks you out of your computer, you may never be able to get back in. The solution is keeping good, reliable back-ups all the time. Mac has a great system that automatically backs up your entire system called Time Machine. All you have to do is set it up and plug in an external drive to start backing up. It doesn’t get any easier. This one tip will provide you with peace of mind that you are covered if anything does happen. 

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