While Macs tend to be more secure than their Windows counterparts, this doesn’t mean they’re invincible. As Apple’s share of the computer market has grown over the years, hackers have placed an increased emphasis on targeting these devices. If you’re using a Mac, you need to be extra careful.
5 Mac Security Tips to Keep You Safe
Keeping your Mac secure requires some attention to detail, but most of the advice is pretty simple and straightforward. Here are a few of the leading steps you can take:
1. Create a Non-Admin Account for Everyday Use
When first setting up your Mac, the setup assistant will ask you for information like your name, a username, and a password. This data is then used to set up your first user account. Every Mac must have at least one user with administrative privileges, and that first account becomes the admin by default.
Most people use their admin account as their primary account, but there’s something to be said for creating a non-admin account for everyday use. This prevents users from unintentionally installing malicious software or making changes to the computer.
2. Disable Automatic Login
Always require a password to log into your Mac. Automatic login might be convenient when you’re home, but what happens if someone steals your laptop in a coffee shop or airport?
Automatic login means anyone with your computer can access your files. Requiring a login and password keeps people out – even if your device is lost or stolen.
3. Use a Password Manager
Long, complex, unique passwords are a must if you’re going to protect your Mac and the various accounts you access on it. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to remember the right password string for every account. This is why it’s helpful to use a password manager.
There are plenty of good password manager options for Mac. Choose the one that has the features you need. Dashlane, 1Password, and Lastpass are three of the more popular and intuitive tools out there.
4. Use a VPN
VPNs have become increasingly popular over the years. Adding one to your computer will dramatically reduce your chances of experiencing an attack.
A VPN, also known as a Virtual Private Network, is a technical solution that establishes a private connection across a public network. In other words, VPN users are able to send and receive data via public and shared networks as if their device was directly connected to a private and secure network.
In addition to encrypting data, a good VPN helps unblock restricted websites through a process known as “tunneling.” This allows you to access certain content that may otherwise be banned based on your IP address and location.
There are a variety of VPNs for Mac, including both free and paid versions. While free versions can provide some basic protections, paid versions tend to be much more secure (including lots of extra features). Do your research and find one that fits your biggest needs.
5. Run a Two-Way Firewall
Apple has a built-in firewall that provides inbound network protection. However, this only protects you against certain attacks. If you want full protection, you need to run a two-way firewall.
By layering an outbound firewall onto your inbound firewall, you’ll get alerts when a piece of software suddenly tries to connect to the internet. In other words, it tells you when an app or tool tries to do something that you never intended it to do.
Practice Common Sense
While there are plenty of ways for cybercriminals to truly “hack” their way into your Mac, the tips outlined in this article should keep you fairly safe. In most cases, hackers find their way in by exploiting users and getting them to fall into their carefully-laid traps. You can avoid these traps by practicing common sense.
If something appears fishy or seems too good to be true, it probably is. Use caution and never give away sensitive information. If someone is asking for sensitive information, always verify that they are who they say they are. This will help you avoid compromising situations and decrease your odds of being targeted in the future. Combined with the Mac security tips discussed in this article, a common-sense approach will keep you safe.