Mac Security Tips

Historically, Macs have always been more resilient to malware and viruses than PCs. And this has been so partly because the number of people using Macs has generally been considerably lower. That is changing though. Since the launch of the first iPhone, and the iPad a few years later, many more people have been switching to the Apple ecosystem. There has been a corresponding rise in the prevalence and sophistication of various cyber attacks, making Macs more vulnerable now than ever before.

Fortunately, just as with Windows, if you take the necessary steps, it’s pretty simple and straightforward to add an extra layer of security to your Mac. Many people store more of their personal information on their computers than many of them imagined they ever would. If you leave your Mac unsecured, all this personal information can become easily accessible to an attacker. In this article, we’d like to share with you a few practical tips on how to act more securely. 

Disable Automatic Login

While an automatic login might be quick and convenient, it also reduces the security of your computer. Using an automatic login is not much better than having no password on your device at all (which we also don’t recommend).

To disable the automatic login feature, go to the Apple Menu > System Preferences, then to the Users & Groups section. Once there, click Login Options, which should be at the bottom of the users’ list on the left.  You then need to click on the padlock icon beneath the Login Options button. You will need to enter your password before you can make any changes.

Then you need to choose the ‘Off’ option from the Automatic login dropdown list. Once you have disabled this setting, you will need to enter your password every time your Mac boots up. This extra step makes a huge difference to your security, preventing anyone else from being able to turn on your laptop and gain access to your account.

Make Sure to Choose a Secure Password

With the automatic login disabled, the next step is to make sure you have a secure password to keep your machine protected. A secure password should consist of upper and lowercase letters, a number, and, ideally, a special character or symbol as well. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. The easiest way of creating such a password is by building it using this formula:

·   a name;

·   a word;

·   a short sequence of numbers.

For example, you might use “AlexaDinosaur3694”. Then, to add the final layer of security, use the special characters that you get when you hold Shift and press 3694. Giving you “AlexaDinosaur3694£^($” (without quotes).

Choosing a secure password is essential to your overall security. To set a new password, head to the Apple Menu > System Preferences, and then the selection Security & Privacy. Under the General tab, you will find the Change Password setting. After selecting it, you will need to enter your old password before you can set your new one. If you have forgotten your old password, there are ways to reset it. You can also set a password hint to act as a reminder if you forget your password in the future.

It is also a good idea to ask for a password when your Mac is woken up from the sleep mode, or its screensaver. By selecting the option to require a password immediately, located below the Change Password button, you can ask to type in a password every time your screen goes off.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is an essential tool for anyone who uses public Wi-Fi networks and is something every computer user should consider. A VPN allows you to connect to the internet via a VPN server. As any traffic you exchange with the server is encrypted, this prevents anyone from being able to snoop on your internet usage on unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

No matter how well you lock down your Mac, if you don’t pay attention to your overall online security, it will undermine all the steps you have taken. Not only does a VPN improve your security, but it will also enhance your online privacy. When you connect to a website through a VPN, the connection traces back to the VPN server, not to your computer. By connecting through VPN servers in other countries, you can also access content that would otherwise be restricted.

Whether you use your Mac for personal or professional purposes, you should take steps to secure your computer. Unless you make an effort to secure your device, you will be wide open to attack or intrusion.