While Macs have long had a reputation of being more secure than PCs, that sentiment isn’t entirely true. Macs can be just as vulnerable to cybersecurity risks like malware, spyware, data leaks, and more, which is why it’s vital to know how to stay protected.
Here are five ways you can improve your Mac’s security:
- Enable all iOS security features
- Install a third-party antivirus
- Use a password manager
- Backup and encrypt your files
- Consider using a VPN
Let’s explore these methods in more detail and see how they can help you stay safe when using your Mac.
The first step in securing your Mac is enabling all the security features that come with it. When you first boot your system, many of these options won’t be enabled, so you have to do it manually.
To edit security options, navigate to System Preferences > Security & Privacy. There, you will see four tabs:
- General – Add a password and disable automatic login. Only allow apps downloaded from the Mac AppStore.
- FileVault – Turn on FileVault to encrypt all your data.
- Firewall – Always keep Firewall on to prevent unwanted apps or services from causing damage to your system.
- Privacy – Limit Ad tracking and choose which apps can access your data.
Another security feature that is very beneficial is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). You can enable this feature by navigating to System Preferences > Apple ID > Password & Security, and ticking on “Two-Factor Authentication.”
This feature lets you receive a code through an alert or text to your phone each time you try to use your password. Without entering the code, nobody will be able to log in.
Apple is also very quick to release new updates containing various fixes that can address potential vulnerabilities. Check for updates regularly, or set up automatic updates to ensure that your system stays protected.
Even with all the security measures in place, malware and other threats can still find their way onto your Mac. It’s best to have an additional, third-party antivirus to go along with the built-in Firewall and encryption features.
Antivirus software is specifically designed to detect and remove the latest vulnerabilities and will be able to catch suspicious files or actions at a higher rate than the native Firewall. It also protects against other vulnerabilities like:
- Spyware and more.
Since many antivirus software only works on Windows, make sure the one you choose supports Mac before committing to anything.
Using a strong password for all your accounts is important, but won’t fully guarantee security. To stay one step ahead of threat actors, it’s best to update passwords regularly across all your accounts. Since that can be time-consuming to do manually, you should consider using a password manager.
Apple has its own password manager called iCloud Keychain, that’s capable of storing and encrypting login credentials, passwords, and payment information. However, iCloud Keychain has one significant limitation in that it only works with Apple products, which means that you can’t save passwords from popular browsers like Google Chrome.
For maximum protection across all your passwords and information no matter where you save them, it’s best to use a separate password manager.
Creating backups for your files and data has long been a popular security measure, and for good reason. Backing up your data prevents the risk of losing valuable information due to data loss or attacks.
Macs are particularly easy for creating backups thanks to Apple’s Time Machine feature, which allows you to regularly save your data on a separate hard drive. You can also save all data from your current Mac and access it on a different one. Set-up automatic updates to always have a recent save file available in case of data loss.
When you access the internet through a public network, hackers can easily track your activity and potentially steal valuable information such as login credentials or banking information.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a private network from a public internet connection, giving you privacy and anonymity when browsing online.
Unless you’re using a WiFi network you trust (such as home or office) it would be best to use a VPN, especially when browsing the internet. A VPN will disguise your real IP address with one set in a different location, making your connection impossible to trace for hackers and websites.