Security Tips For Your Mac

applesecurity-100257043-primary-idgeSecurity is crucial for your Mac, though often this key element is overlooked. High tech is changing rapidly and taking the security and safety of your Mac should be taken more seriously than ever before. Check out his post that includes the most important security tips to protect your Mac.

Many people may frown a little upon those individuals who take computer security maybe a bit too seriously, yet there’s so much that we can learn from these folks. The tips and tricks listen in this post are actually no more than bare essentials you should take very seriously when you wish to protect your Mac and your data. All these tricks and tips are pretty easy to implement and there isn’t any tedious security terminology used as well.

First, go to the Security & Privacy pane (in System Preferences). You’ll see four tabs that all are controlling security aspects. If you want to change your Mac’s settings, click on the padlock that sits at the bottom of your screen, then type your user name as well as your password. If you’re having an administrator account, you can make the changes for the entire Mac. If you don’t have that, the changes will only affect your account.

Tab 1 is for the General section, and there are three settings that require your attention. Setting one is allowing you to set a password for your account if you haven’t done so already. You must use a password. Setting two is allowing you to indicate if you want to use a password for unlocking your Mac when a screen saver begins or when your Mac goes to sleep.

When you’re work with other people, for example in an office, you really should think about activating this setting. You have the option to specify after what time frame after the start of a screen saver or sleep mode this password is needed. The safest setting is of course ‘immediately’ but, just like all things related to security, you should balance convenience and security. So select a time frame that’s both safe and will suit you well. So select a time frame that is both safe and suits you well.

Automatic login
The next thing you should do is disable the setting automatic login. You really should do this, especially when you’re using a mobile Mac device. In case your Mac is stolen, you wouldn’t want to give the thief access to all your data, would you?

At the General page bottom you can find three options that relate to which apps you can use for your Mac. The most secure option (but also the most limiting) is if you would only allow App Store apps to run on your device, and the least safe option is when you allow any sort of apps. A fairly good good compromise is when you use the middle option, which allows you to use App Store apps and apps from Apple-approved developers.

The tab ‘FileVault’ is allowing you to encrypt every file in your user account. To decrypt your files, you must either type in your password, or use the recovery key that you created while switching ‘FileVault’ on. For most Mac users, needing to type a password for opening files is pretty inconvenient, and if you also consider the time you initially needed for encrypting all of your Mac’s files, this probably doesn’t weigh up to security advantages, yet if there are good reasons to keep data as safe and secure as possible, switch the ‘FileVault’ on.

The next tab is for the Firewall. Please be aware that OS X’s Firewall, though useful, is just offering very limited protection, as it protects you only from incoming traffic. It is the task of this system to limit which services and apps will be able to accept incoming connections, and it’s not offering control over outgoing connections in services and apps that initiate connections. So when you’ve downloaded any malware, OS X’s Firewall will not prevent it from making connection with the internet. To reach that level of security, you’ll require an outbound firewall, generally present in anti-malware protection software from Symantec, Intego, or Sophos.

In your Mac’s Firewall tab, click on ‘Firewall Options’ if you want to make the changes. You will see a listing of services and apps that can receive inbound connections, and if you want to add one to that list (in case an app that you run is displaying an error and informs you that it was prevented to accept an inbound connection), just click on the ‘+’ button beneath the list. Please make sure that you have enabled the ‘Stealth’ mode, and for future convenience, you should tick the box which is allowing signed apps to accept an incoming connection automatically.

Third party apps
If it concerns you that apps make outbound connections, you may think about installing ‘Little Snitch’. This prevents an app from ‘phoning home’, meaning it cannot make a connection to any remote server.

Location Services
The next, last, tab ‘Privacy’ is covering various different settings and controls, that are listed in a window on the pane’s left. ‘Location Services’ is allowing you control over what apps will be able to access your location data. Here you have the option to switch off Location Services completely, or prevent an individual app from accessing your data.

Control access
Likewise, Calendar, Remainders, and Contacts are allowing you to specify and indicate which of your Mac’s apps can have access to information that’s stored in your core OS X apps. When you have added your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts details to your Mac’s Internet Accounts System Preferences pane, you here have the possibility to control which apps have access to those accounts.

Beware that the section ‘Accessibility’ has nothing to do with settings in the Accessibility pane in your Mac’s main System Preferences window, despite the fact that they are sharing the name, which is a bit confusing. Here you have the possibility to control which apps may be able to control your Mac in any way. For example, normally you would require Terminal commands to change settings, but Deeper and Onyx will allow you to do this if you enable them here.

Safari privacy
Safari provides quite a few settings that are allowing control over your privacy. The first one is ‘New Private Window’ (from the File menu), which is allowing you to go to websites, without recording where you go in your Mac’s History menu (in fact, nowhere on your Mac). The second one in the Safari menu is ‘Clear History and Website data’ When you will click this from time to time, you will erase cached data from websites that you visited, and also remove these data from your Mac’s History menu.

In the Safari section ‘Preferences’, the Privacy section will allow you to prevent other websites to track you, you can control which websites are allowed to store any cookies on your Mac, and you can specify in what way your location is made available. If you are concerned about storing personal data, or website’s usernames and passwords, you can go to the sections Auto Fill and Passwords and deactivate the boxes that are enabling these services.

Password Manager
A good password must be difficult to remember, and that’s where often problems arise. Passwords should also never be jotted down, and this may cause some problems, especially when you’re not wanting Safari to auto-complete your passwords. Well, there is a solution: you can use a password manager such as Dashlane or 1Password. These great apps are allowing you to make and store various strong passwords and to sync them for all your devices. Crucial is that these apps are encrypting your data, and you can access them only after typing in your master password.

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