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The Essential Guide for Mac Security | Avast

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Macs are beautiful machines, in both appearance and performance. The sleek designs, intuitive OS, trend-setting apps, and, yes, the anti-malware security built into the platform, make them among the most cherished items possessed by their owners.

Is antivirus software for your Mac really necessary?

Mac users have exceptional security records for decades, and this is for two reasons. One is that Macs are built with strong protective features and very few exploitable vulnerabilities, and the other is that most of the world owns PCs, so that is where cybercriminals have levied their efforts. But the tide is changing, and hackers are learning how to circumvent Mac security protocols.

With 2016’s KeRanger, the first trojan horse ransomware for Mac OSX, and 2017’s Patcher, a Mac ransomware spread through BitTorrent, we’ve seen that Macs are not completely invulnerable. Their security is strong straight out of the box, it’s true, but there are several extra security settings that bolster your protection if you set them up. Plus, there’s more than just malware attacks on Macs that you should be concerned with ― cybercriminals are always turning up with fake websites, phishing emails, and more trying to get you to slip up. So what can you do? Antivirus is the first step. Plus, these 7 tips to up your security defenses.

Follow these 7 security tips to keep you Mac safe

Here’s everything you need to know about Mac security and how to protect yourself.

Mac Tip #1 ―Review your MacOS “Security & Privacy” settings

First, let’s look at the bulk of your built-in security tools. In System Preferences, click on Security & Privacy. You should see 4 tabs ― General, FileVault, Firewall, and Privacy. Click the padlock icon so you can make changes. (It will ask for your password in order to proceed.)


The Essential Guide for Mac Security | Avast
General Tab Disable automatic login & set password

This first tab allows you to take the most important step ―set a password to be required in order to log on. If you have the choice to disable automatic login, check that box . Set a good, strong password, and all trespassing fingers, be they from a snooping family member or a laptop thief, will be unable to get past the login screen.

In this window, you can also change your password and set it to be required for re-entry however many minutes you like into sleep mode or screensaver mode.

Here you can also select if you want apps to download only from the official Apple App Store, or also from “identified developers.” As a general rule, because all apps are vetted and measured to Apple’s standards, you can trust what you download from the Apple App Store. Downloading apps from “identified developers” is not necessarily a bad idea, as Apple will only approve developers who have proven themselves reliable, but the apps themselves won’t be vetted as deeply as those from Apple’s own App Store.

FireVault Tab Turn it on

This is the second tab in Security & Privacy, and what the FireVault does is encrypt the data on your hard disk so that if anyone forces their way in, they cannot decrypt your data without a password or security key that you set. We recommend you turn on FireVault.

Encrypting all your data is a laborious job, but your Mac will do it in the background while your computer is running, so you won’t experience downtime.

Firewall Tab Turn it on and review apps and services

This is the third tab in Security & Privacy, and it’s something with which you’re no doubt familiar. If you’ve ever worked in the corporate world, you know every security-conscious business uses a firewall to protect their network by blocking unwanted incoming traffic. We recommend you turn it on.

When you do, then click Firewall Options. In the dialogue box, you’ll see a list of all those apps and services that your system is allowing in. If you’d like to subtract or add any, use the + and ― buttons at the base of the box.

Also , check the box to Enable stealth mode. This gives you extra protection by putting a sort of invisibility cloak over your system. Any outside networks that try to ping it will get no response.

Privacy Tab ― Review apps and data access

Here you select which of your apps get to access which data. The data categories are:

Location Services Contacts Calendars Reminders Photos Accessibility Analytics

When you click on one of those data categories, to the right you will see a list of your apps that have requested access to that particular data. For instance, “Maps” would like to access your Location Services. Run through each of these and be sure you approve them and that they all make sense. When you’re done, click the padlock icon back into its locked position, and close the window.

Mac Tip #2 ― Know what you are sharing In System Preferences, click on Sharing. On the left side of the window, you’ll see a list of all the sharing services. The checked boxes show you what you are actively sharing at the moment. Clicking on a service brings up a summary of what it does. Go through the list, and make sure you are only sharing what you absolutely need to share. If it’s not essential, don’t share.
The Essential Guide for Mac Security | Avast
Mac Tip #3 ― Set your browser’s security settings

Whether you are using Safari or something else, open up Preferences and find the tab(s) for security and privacy. Read through your options, and select all that turn off website tracking. If the browser offers “safe browsing” in the form of reporting fraudulent websites, check that box too. Make sure you’re satisfied with all your browser settings.

In Safari, under the Privacy tab, you can select Manage Website Data. Clicking this shows you a list of all the websites you’ve visited that have kept data on your machine, whether in the form of caches, cookies, databases, or simple local storage. If you’ve never checked this list before, it’s going to be long. Scroll through it and delete any websites you consider nonessential. If you are wiping their cookies clean from your computer, it just means that the next time you log onto it, it will load fresh instead of relying on data it stored on your end.

Mac Tip #4 ― Always update, always backup

It might seem like a no-brainer, but we have to include this tip because so many out there do neither of these things, and they are both fundamental steps in keeping your Mac healthy.

When updates are issued, they are meant to improve the system, usually in the form of security. Updates patch vulnerabilities, fortify security, and improve performance. Some fear that if they update their system, they’ll lose some information or be confused by new rules and too

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