14 Ways to Secure Your Mac Computer in 2021Vanessa Venugopal
Mac is also susceptible to threats like Windows, as it is becoming a popular brand. The number of users has drastically increased in 2019. Therefore, hackers are shifting their focus on targetting Apple’s system.
If you think your Mac won’t get infected by any cyber threat, then you have to think again.
In a report by Malwarebytes, Mac threats have increased 400% year-on-year in 2019. This data shows attacks encountered by Mac outpaced Windows by two to one ratio.
With the alarming increase in Mac attacks, it is vital to find ways to secure your Mac and avoid becoming a victim of online threats.
This 2021, invest in securing your Apple device and get the peace of mind you always want.
How to Secure Your Mac
Update Your Operating System
Updating your Mac software and programs installed is the first step to keeping your Mac safe from threats. Outdated software or operating system becomes a gateway for hackers to enter into your device. That’s why developers make sure to roll out updates to patch the old version.
How to Update My Mac OS?
It doesn’t need to take a lot of time to update your Mac’s system. In only a few steps, you can keep your Mac OS up to date. Click the Apple icon on the top left of your screen > select About This Mac > Software Update > and follow the instructions provided.
After updating your software, we recommend that you set automatic updates for a future OS update. Go to the Software Update of the System Preferences > choose Automatically keep my Mac up to date. You can also do this to all your installed programs and applications on your computer so you won’t miss out on current updates.
Benefits of Updating Your System:
Aside from keeping your device safe from threats, there are other benefits you’ll get from updating your system.
- Get the latest features.
- Applications become stable than previous versions.
- You can avoid passing malware to others.
- Secure your data and valuable files.
Don’t Click on Unknown Links
Phishing is one of the most common cyber attacks even today. Despite being known, there are still plenty of people falling for such an attack. It often occurs when hackers send emails or messages that look like it comes from a legitimate financial institution. Phishing emails have an urgent message that prompts the victim to click on the link and login into their account.
The link in the email or message will lead to a website that appears legitimate but would steal any data you input into it. Therefore, whenever you have received an email or message with a link provided, do not be quick to click on the link. Also, never download or click on attachments from an unknown email and do not reply to unknown emails.
If you want to know if an email you have received came from your bank or if the website provided is credible, go to your browser and type the site’s name. If it has an HTTPS on it, you know that the site is secure. Or, you can directly contact your bank or financial institution for further questions. Go to their website and check the Contact Us section instead of replying to an unknown email or using their link.
Check Access Granted to Applications Installed
When installing an application, it sometimes requires a specific part of your computer – microphone, location, or a webcam – to function.
You can check the permission you have granted to the individual apps you have installed. There are some applications or software that try to access what they don’t need. So, make sure to double-check it.
Install or Activate a Firewall Software
Using a firewall provides an additional layer of protection for your data. The use of a firewall is to block unwanted or suspicious activities in your network. Hence, it keeps hackers away from your device.
Mac has a built-in firewall, but it is not often enabled by default. So, you have to turn it on yourself.
How to Turn on Mac Firewall:
Click on Apple menu icon > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall Tab > click padlock icon at the bottom left to enable changes > enter username and password > Turn on Firewall button > choose Firewall options > Enable Stealth Mode > relock the padlock to prevent changes.
The built-in firewall of Mac provides inbound protection only. Therefore, any malware residing in your computer cannot be stopped when it connects to the internet. For that, you’ll be needing two-way firewall protection, which means it protects not only the data coming in but also those being sent out.
Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN acts like a tunnel that will encrypt the data you send and receive when using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. It is best to avoid using public Wi-Fi. But if you can’t, installing a VPN can help keep you safe from prying eyes.
VPN can mask your IP address and change your location, so hackers or advertisers cannot track your location and connection. In short, you appear anonymous online.
Another benefit you get from using a VPN is the ability to access geo-restricted content. Hence, you can watch any movie or browse content that you want.
Some examples of VPN you can try in a budget:
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN names highly recommended for Mac. It works smoothly with your computer, requiring only a little to no effort on your part. NordVPN has servers in over 59 countries. So wherever you are, you get a lightning-fast and reliable VPN connection. Furthermore, it offers unlimited bandwidth, Kill Switch technology, and a customizable DNS server.
Another monthly or yearly subscription plan of VPN is ExpressVPN. Get access to over 160 server locations, works on multiple devices, watch or browse any content you want, and get 24-hour live chat support. ExpressVPN’s advanced features include AES-256 data encryption, effective Kill Switch, unlimited bandwidth, private DNS, and no data logs.
It is the most affordable subscription-based VPN service available. It provides ad-free websites, unlimited device support, Kill Switch, no-log policy, IKEv2/IPsec as a default protocol, AES-256 data encryption, and connects to multiple servers or countries at once.
Mac also has a built-in VPN capability. You can access it by going to the System Preferences > Network. Add a VPN interface by clicking on the + button located at the lower left of your screen > choose VPN from the Interface drop-down menu > select the VPN type and add a name. You can input your Server Address, Remote ID, username, and password.
Choose an Antivirus or Anti-Malware Software
Although Mac has built-in anti-malware security, it isn’t enough to protect users from other threats, including the new ones.
There are plenty of antivirus software programs you can choose from. But not all of these software programs can target specific threats affecting Mac users.
So, when choosing a security software, make sure that it can protect your device from threats like ransomware, viruses, data breaches, phishing attacks or sites, and has real-time protection.
Best third-party software applications to protect your Mac:
You can read Norton Security for Mac reviews to see how excellent and effective Norton is when protecting your Mac. You get real-time protection from threats, secures multiple devices, detect zero-day threats, and have a dark web monitoring feature. Norton has a lot of plans you can choose from. You can buy their Norton Security Standard or opt for their Deluxe version. Whichever plan you choose, Norton does an outstanding job of protecting Mac.
Similar to Norton, Bitdefender offers various subscription plans you can choose to protect your computer. You can try Bitdefender Total Security, Bitdefender Family Pack, or Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac. The first two plans can protect various operating systems. Meanwhile, the latter is specific for Mac. It is better to choose a security software program that focuses on a specific OS to provide ultimate protection.
The Bitdefender for Mac ranks high in online reviews for one of the best antiviruses for Mac. It provides real-time protection, blocks adware, has a 200 MB/ day VPN, safe online shopping and banking, and protects files from ransomware attacks.
- Kaspersky Internet Security
Kaspersky is a well-known name in the field of cybersecurity. With years of experience in protecting devices of any OS, there is no doubt why it has been one of the best security applications for Mac. Get protection from various threats without compromising the system’s performance, stop unauthorized access to your webcam, encrypt all online transactions, and work with any device.
Secure your Browser
Mac’s built-in Safari isn’t safe like Chrome or even Edge. There is still a chance for hackers to spy on your data and browsing history. But this doesn’t mean you should not keep your browser safe.
With the help of Internet security and activated Safari privacy, you’ll get the best online protection you need.
Safari Privacy Browsing:
- Search or browse online using a private browsing window. Click New Private Window or Shift + Command + N.
- Erase cookies and cached data.
- Click the Safari tab > Preferences > select Privacy tab > enable checkbox of Website tracking to prevent cross-site tracking.
- You can also enable the security settings of your Safari browser. Click on the Safari tab on the menubar of the Safari browser app > Preferences > Security tab > enable checkbox of the fraudulent site to warn when visiting an unsafe page.
Encrypt Files with FileVault
Mac OS has a built-in encryption application, FileVault. It utilizes the 128-bit AES encryption with a 256-bit key, providing excellent security for preventing unauthorized access to your data.
FileVault works together with Find My Mac, a built-in application that remotely wipes data when your device is missing. FileVault gives full-disk encryption for your Mac.
Click the Apple menu icon > System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Click FileVault tab > Click the padlock icon to allow changes in the setting > Enter admin name and password > Turn on FileVault > Lock the padlock icon to prevent changes of the setting.
Use a Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is a security layer that generates a passcode or one-time code after entering your password. It provides a second layer of protection to prevent hackers from accessing your account. Some 2FA use biometric authentication.
Set up 2FA on all your accounts and even for your device.
To set up your 2FA, go to the Apple menu icon > select System Preferences > Touch ID > add your fingerprint.
Back up Your Files
Encrypting your data, using an antivirus software program, and even activating browsing privacy and security may not be enough to keep you safe from cyber threats. Therefore, it is vital to back up all your valuable data. So, when a ransomware attack happens, or you lost your device, you can still access your saved data.
Apple has a built-in backup program known as Time Machine. It automatically backs up all files and data, which can be recovered anytime you need it.
When using Apple’s Time Machine, you need an external storage device to back up your data.
However, it is recommended that you use another backup tool aside from Time Machine because it takes up a lot of space on your backup disk.
Turn Off All Sharing Services
If you want to maintain privacy and security, turning off all sharing services such as Bluetooth, Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Remote Login, and more can prevent unnecessary connection to unsafe networks.
Only turn on your sharing services when you need them.
Set Screen to Lock Immediately when Not in Use
Set a passcode and limit the time your screen can go idle, so it will immediately lock. It will prevent access to your device or accounts.
You can set a passcode by clicking on the Apple menu icon > select System Preferences > Security & Privacy > choose Require Password and click Immediately.
Create a Strong Passcode or Password
To secure your device and accounts, using a strong passcode or password is crucial. Make sure not to recycle or use personal information when you creating a password.
Other Tips when Creating a Password:
- Long passwords.
- Change regularly.
- Combination of upper and lower cases, a symbol, and numbers.
- Use different passwords on different accounts.
- Never use a word.
Use a Password Manager
Since using strong passwords are difficult to remember, it is vital to use a password manager to store all of your passwords to remember them.
A password manager is a vault that contains all vital data, passcode, and credit card accounts that are highly secured. All you need to remember is a single master password to access all your stored data. Some password managers can automatically fill in your login credentials.
Best Password Manager for Mac:
Reviews have shown that Dashlane is the best password manager for Mac. It allows unlimited storage of passwords, compatible with multiple devices, autofill, and even has dark web monitoring.
1Password has an application and Safari browser extension. It also audits saved passwords to determine if it’s weak and needs changing. Furthermore, it checks the dark web for any leaked information, protects from phishing sites and keyloggers, works with verified browsers, and secures passwords with SRP for authenticating credentials.
In the past years, Mac had outstanding security with less experience on attacks. However, its rise in popularity has led cybercriminals to shift their focus on Mac. So, Mac is not immune to threats. If you own a Mac computer, always make sure to practice precaution and implement safety measures by following the tips mentioned above. It is always better to prevent attacks by securing your Mac device.