10 Tips on Securing Your Mac Device

article by Rebecca Lori
December 24, 2019
Although Macs are generally thought to be much safer to use than PCs, you can still run into issues and there’s a simple reason for this: Macs aren’t the invincible pieces of Machinery that people like to think.

Basically, no computer is 100% safe from viruses and other threats, not even Macs. Additionally, Macs are more expensive than PCs too, so when something does go wrong, it’s going to cost you a fair few dollars to fix. Luckily there are quite a few different things you can do to extend the life of your Mac.

Below we have outlined our top tips for securing your Mac:

#1 Use Antivirus Software

This might seem like an obvious tip, but many people still believe that Macs are immune to viruses. The best way to prevent a virus from doing any damage is to catch it before it fully hits your system. So, you’ll be thinking, ‘how to secure my Mac?’ What you will need for this is a good quality antivirus software. This is even more important if you use your Mac in public areas, download files or share files with large groups, which essentially leaves you wide open to threats. Download a good quality Mac antivirus solution, preferably one that offers real-time virus, spyware and malware protection.

You’ll also want to find software that won’t slow your computer down as it does its job. Consider how many devices you will need to cover, whether you are looking to protect a home connection or network. It’s always good to try to find a product that you can trial for a period of time before committing to a subscription. That way, you can not only test the product with your Mac but also see how fast the customer service team respond and what best prices are available. McAfee and Norton offer the best security for Mac on the market.

#2 Fish Out The Phishing Scams

One of the most dangerous things that you can do to put your Mac at risk is to respond to phishing links. You will have no doubt seen these before. They usually look like an email from your bank or other personal accounts and they usually include some of your personal information but will *conveniently* be missing some vital information…ie: passwords or bank details. You will usually be asked within the email to follow a link which will take you to a cloned page (which is normally difficult to detect) where you then add your details. Millions of people fall for this scam each year because the scammers are good at what they do and not only prey on vulnerable people but they make it look convincing too.

Never follow a direct link within an email. If this is a legitimate request for additional information then you should be able to go to the official website, enter your account details and see if any further information is requested there. Use Mac security to protect your system and always report potential phishing threats.

#3 Disable Automatic Login

Automatic login is asking for trouble, should you leave your Mac in the wrong hands or find it stolen. Automatic login will be the default setting when you set up a new Mac, clean a new version of OS X or create a user account. This might seem like the most efficient and fast way to use your Mac but it can leave you vulnerable. If your laptop is stolen then whoever logs into your laptop will have access to all of your personal files and data. This often means private banking, invoices, personal letters and much more. Many people also set their browsers to remember passwords too which means that anyone will have automatic access to your personal information within minutes of logging in.

Change your settings so that the password protected login screen displays as you fire up your laptop. It’s a simple process, you just need to go to Users & Groups in System Preferences, click Login Options and this will allow you to choose Off from the automatic login section.

#4 Take The Serial Number Seriously

There are several Mac security measures that you should always do and which most people never do. Firstly, always take a note of your serial number. This can be found by selecting the About This Mac section of the Apple menu. You will find the serial number listed in the hardware overview section. It’s important to take a note of this number and store it somewhere safe so that police investigators have a better chance of tracking down your laptop if it’s ever stolen. Whilst this won’t technically keep your Mac secure, it gives you a better chance of finding it again! Secondly, you should mark your laptop.

There are several ways that you can do this: you can use invisible ink to mark your name and address on the laptop itself, place an address label on the inside of the battery compartment or scratch your details into the laptop if you want to deter thieves who will likely want to sell your laptop after they have stolen it. You can also add bright colored stickers to the outside of your laptop to deter thieves who might be looking for an easy steal at the airport security. Bright colored stickers and accessories will make it a lot more difficult to blend into the crowds.

#5 Lock It Up

We always talk about antivirus software and using special apps and devices to keep your Mac from being attacked from within but let’s not forget about the physical aspect of the laptop itself. If you want to know how to secure your Mac, not only should you protect your laptop from potential virus threats but you should protect it inside the home too. Laptops are relatively small so not only are they easy to hide in the house, but you can lock them away too. Unlike a desktop computer, a laptop will fit into a safe box easily and can be locked away for extra safety.

#6 Use A VPN

One of the most sensible ways to keep your Mac safe is to use a VPN or Virtual Private Network. Using a VPN ensures that your private data is fully encrypted which means that it is essentially scrambled end-to-end so potential hackers cannot read your information.

Many VPN providers adhere to a strict no-logging policy which means that your data is never stored on their servers. This is a much safer way of accessing private information online as it keeps your information safe and secure. This is particularly effective for people who tend to browse using public Wi-Fi. Normally, when you browse online, check your bank details, make payments, shop and check personal information, your information is wide open and vulnerable.

If you use a VPN you can do all of these online tasks with your Mac or iPhone and providing that you are using a VPN, your information will remain safe.

#7 Use Two-Way Firewall

Having inbound and outbound protection makes sense but we don’t all do it. If you are a Mac user you will probably be aware that Apple’s in-built firewall offers inbound network protection. The problem is, that these types of firewalls can actually only protect against a certain type of attack. New malware is being detected every minute of every day and new attacks are being targeted at the same rate.

The best way to protect your Mac against these malicious attacks is to use multiple layers of protection. In order for you to prevent malware that might exist on your system from connecting to the internet you will need a specific type of outbound protection. An outbound firewall has a very important role in protecting your system and will alert you if you have downloaded a piece of software and now needs to connect to the internet. Always use two-way firewall protection as these guys detect inbound and outbound threats which can prevent nasty programs on your Machine from going online and leaking your personal data.

#8 Update Often

We really cannot stress how important it is to update your system regularly. Not only Mac OS needs updating but also installed software will need checking too for bug fixes and updates that will ensure the smooth running of your system. Keeping your system regularly updated is absolutely vital in keeping your Mac safe and secure as Apple often releases updates that help prevent new threats. Never forget that there are multiple ways that malicious attackers can target your Mac and so it’s absolutely vital to use multiple layers of security.

Employing a regular software update is just one of the things you can do to keep your system safe. Mac OS X has built-in software called Software Update. It’s simple to access, you just need to go to the Apple Menu and once you launch this then it will check Apple’s servers to see if there are any new updates available. If there is an update available then you should run the Software Update immediately in order to patch your Mac. You can also set your system to automatically update software in System Preferences. Just go to Software Update and highlight the Automatically Keep my Mac up to date section.

#9 Install Tracker App

You might be wondering why you should install a tracker app onto your Mac when it already has a Find My Mac feature. The Find My Mac and Find My iPhone apps are really helpful but we believe that installing separate tracker apps adds an additional layer of security to your device and can include extra features too. A tracker app will alert whoever has access to the information as to the whereabouts to your device. It can be a really helpful tool if your device has been stolen. For example, Device Locator will not only track your device, but it will allow you to sound an alarm, so if you have simply misplaced your device you can easily find it again.

This app also allows you to take a photo from your device which can be super helpful in capturing the thief’s face. Another app called Undercover has a few really cool features. As well as taking photos of the potential thief, it will also allow you to send a fake hardware message to the laptop which will lock your screen and force the thief to send your laptop to the repair shop. What this then does is alert whoever can open the screen that the laptop has been stolen.

#10 Share Files

There are hundreds of websites out there that enable you to share illegal files and whilst that can be a cool tool for being able to watch the latest Hollywood movies, it’s not only illegal and could land you in a whole heap of trouble, but it could spread some nasty malware onto your system too. Sites such as Warez are a super popular way of spreading malware.

Peer to peer sites are crawling with viruses and by using them you are inadvertently exposing your information to everyone else who uses the site too. Given the true nature of a “virus” it should also come as no surprise that you will likely spread your malware to other peers too and infect other people in the same household if they use the same network. The safest way to avoid malware through these means is to just avoid peer to peer sharing at all times.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to Mac security there is only really one way to do this properly and that’s to use multiple layers of security. The best security for Mac is prevention and so you should take all necessary precautions to prevent nasty malware from infecting your system. Keep your software regularly updated, make sure your login screen requires a password and always use a VPN especially when you use public Wi-Fi.

Unfortunately, Macs are not immune to infections and can indeed catch a virus too. Read our top tips, download the best antivirus software and physically look after your laptop too – with a little care and attention you can significantly prolong the life of your Mac.