The security of Mac computers has evolved, incorporating advanced monitoring, encryption, and updating technologies, despite which it is still necessary to review the macOS security settings. In this article, we will learn more about Security Tips and Tricks for MAC and how to achieve this using third-party apps that will allow you to encrypt your information and files.
Maintaining data privacy and security has become of utmost importance to everyone, but no less relevant should be ensuring security on your Mac computer. That is why we have prepared this article of tricks and tips to strengthen the security of your Mac.
For some time now, the Apple ecosystem has become more attractive to cyber attackers, which has led us to face all kinds of threats and vulnerabilities in malware, viruses, adware, ransomware, or phishing, among others.
Apple is aware of this new situation. It has chosen to apply new measures to its equipment, such as the inclusion of the Secure Enclave coprocessor of the Apple T2 chip present in the new iMac Pro and MacBook Pro models.
This same chip is the foundation of Touch ID, enabling secure startup and advanced encrypted storage capabilities. But these novelties are given by the most modern Mac computers. What about the previous ones?
In general, the user pays little or no attention to the security settings that are by default offered by the operating system. Below, we offer you a series of tips and tools that you should review on your Mac.
We recommend that you update to the version of your macOS whenever Apple issues security updates, such as the one of January 22 that fixed a vulnerability found in the operating system.
Suppose your computer does not support the macOS update. In that case, it is interesting to resort to using applications such as Hider 2, a complete tool developed by MacPaw that allows you to hide or encrypt the data of your Mac computer.
The developer also has Encrypto valid for Mac and Windows platforms, with which it is possible to add AES-256 type encryption to a file that you are going to share with other users to share it on the network securely.
Apple usually reacts quickly to the appearance of any threat, and sometimes, it may be necessary to carry out some change. With the Mac CookieMiner malware, Apple recommends clearing the Chrome browser cache after logging into your bank account.
Below, you’ll find a series of tips to make your Mac more secure than before to protect your data, privacy, and computer and its connections.
Security and Privacy Settings
Let’s start with the most basic Mac settings you should check to ensure security is transparent. To familiarize yourself with the controls, go to your Mac’s ‘Security & Privacy‘ panel located in ‘System Preferences.’
- Open ‘System Preferences.’ You can access it from the Apple menu located at the top left of your screen.
- Click on ‘Security & Privacy‘.
- You will see the tabs ‘General‘, ‘FileVault‘, ‘Firewall‘ and ‘Privacy‘.
- To change any of these settings, you’ll need to click the padlock at the bottom of the screen and type in your username and password.
If you have an administrator account, you can make changes that affect your entire Mac. Otherwise, they will only apply to your account.
Turn on the firewall.
The first step in protecting any Mac is to enable the firewall, which blocks any unwanted incoming network connections. You may think that the firewall is enabled by default, but often it isn’t.
Luckily, enabling it is very easy, and we teach you how to do it on your Mac.
- Click on the ‘Firewall‘ tab in the ‘System Preferences> Security and Privacy‘ pane that we just opened.
- Then, you can access ‘Firewall Options‘ and click on the ‘Enable Stealth Mode‘ box in the dialog box that appears.
- Then click on the ‘Firewall Options‘ button and, in the dialog box that appears, click on the ‘Enable Invisible Mode‘ box. This last step means that your Mac will be virtually invisible to public networks, such as Wi-Fi sharing in a bar.
- Using the ‘+‘ symbol, you can access a complete list of applications and services to receive incoming connections. To add one to the list, try running an application.
It’s important to note that the macOS firewall offers only limited protection against malware. It only protects from incoming traffic. Their job is limited to monitoring which applications and services can be accepted as inbound traffic.
Thus, it does not control outbound connections, applications, and services that initiate new connections. If, for example, there is a piece of malware on your computer, OS X Firewall will not prevent you from connecting to the Internet.
Fortunately, there are third-party applications such as those offered by the big manufacturers of antivirus systems, which have anti-malware tools to do the job effectively.
Check out our article on Best Antivirus for Mac: Best Options in 2022.
Use a strong password.
If we return to the first tab of ‘Security and privacy,‘ we find the option of ‘General.’ There are three aspects here that you should pay special attention to.
The first of these is the one that allows you to set a password for the account if you have not already done so or change your password if you consider it necessary. It would be best if you had a password beforehand.
Here you can check or uncheck the option to require or not require a password to unlock your Mac once your PC shuts down or finds the screen saver turned on. If you work in an office or a public place, consider checking this option.
There’s also the ability to ‘Turn off auto-sign in,’ so you won’t have to enter your password every time you start your Mac. We ultimately discourage this choice since anyone would have access to your Mac.
There is another additional possibility to use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac if you have one. Use your Apple Watch (unlocked) to log in to macOS.
Taking advantage of the fact that we are addressing the issue of passwords, we remind you that good and considered strong ones must be challenging to remember. You can always resort to using password management programs such as 1Password or Kaspersky Password Manager. In this sense, the already mentioned tool of Hider 2 also does the function of crucial protection.
Here is our list of Best Apps for Mac: Top Selection For 2022
If you are unsure of your password leak, read this guide: 7 Websites to Check Accounts for Password Leaks and Hacks.
App download preferences
As you will see, within the same ‘General’ tab that we are addressing, at the bottom of the bottom, you can find two options related to the applications that can run on the Mac.
The safest but the most limited option is to allow only apps from the App Store to run or install. The other option adds the permission to run applications from identified developers.
In previous versions of macOS, there was an option to allow apps from anywhere. If you see this option, we recommend not using it. You’ll be able to run an app that doesn’t come from the App Store, but you’ll need to pre-approve it.
Turn on FileVault
All files in your user account will be encrypted or encrypted with FileVault turned on. You’ll need to enter your account password or recovery key created when you activated FileVault to decrypt them.
You can also read: Is it worth activating FileVault on a Mac?
For most users, the drawback of having to type a password to open a file and the time it takes to encrypt the data initially outweighs the security advantages offered.
But if you have reason to keep your data or information stored on your Mac safe because you belong to an organization, turn on FileVault.
Check your privacy settings.
The last tab you can find within ‘Security & Privacy‘ covers several different controls and aspects. These are listed in the window on the left of the panel, as you can see in the accompanying image.
Location services let you control which apps have access to your location data. Here, you can disable location services altogether and prevent individual apps from accessing data.
Similarly, ‘Contacts,’ ‘Calendar,’ and ‘Reminders‘ allow you to specify which apps on your Mac can access the information stored in these core macOS X apps.
If you click on ‘Photos,’ you will see all the apps that have requested access to your photo library. If you’ve added details from social networks like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to your preferences pane, you’ll be able to control which apps have access to them.
Finally, one option built into macOS High Sierra was ‘Analytics,’ which allows app developers and Apple to improve their products based on data collected on app usage. You can decide from here whether to share them or not.
Set up Safari privacy
Far from the commented preferences of the operating system, Safari has several configuration possibilities associated with privacy. We will browse through all of them so that you can make the appropriate adjustments.
The first is ‘New Private Window,’ which you can access from the ‘File‘ menu or the ‘Shift + Command + N’ key settings. You can browse web pages in incognito mode or private browsing without leaving a trace.
The second is associated with ‘Clear History‘ in the Safari menu. If you use it periodically, you can delete cookies and other cached data from the sites you visit, ensuring that they are deleted from the ‘History’ menu.
Within the preferences of Safari, you can find several tabs of security aspects, among which is the ‘Privacy.’ Tap on it and you can prevent visited websites from tracking or controlling which sites can store cookies on your Mac.
You can also read: How to Prevent Sites from Tracking your Clicks in Safari? iOS 14.5 updates.
If you are concerned that the username and passwords of a given website will be stored, go to the ‘Autofill and passwords’ section. You can deactivate the different options of these services depending on your preferences.
Use printer sharing, login, and remote management
Printer sharing: You can share any printer connected to your Mac with other computers connected to the network, including new Windows PCs. Go to the ‘Sharing‘ tab within ‘System Preferences‘ and activate the ‘Printer Sharing’ service. Here the localized ones and their sharing options will appear.
Remote Login: This option allows connection to your Mac via SSH/SFTP protocols and is mainly used by technical services to give remote support via commands. You should disable it if you understand that it will not be used.
Remote administration is used in corporate or enterprise environments to allow administrators to access the Mac to deploy updates or fix errors. In all other circumstances, you should deactivate it if this is not your case.
Apply a password to the firmware.
The macOS system enables FileVault encryption by default in current versions. The entire boot disk is encrypted and impossible to access unless you unlock it by logging in with your user password.
That doesn’t stop someone from using a USB memory device to start the Mac and potentially erase all data from the hard drive. The solution is to apply a firmware password.
Unlike the so-called BIOS password of a PC, the Mac firmware password prompt will only appear if someone tries to boot your Mac in a non-standard way, that is, through a USB stick or from another computer.
You need to access the ‘Recovery Mode‘ to activate it. To do this, restart your computer, and just before the Apple logo appears, press and hold the ‘Command + R’ keys.
To access recovery mode: How to Enter Recovery Mode on a Mac with Apple Silicon (M1) Processor.
Select your language and location when prompted by your Mac, and then click on the ‘Utilities -> Startup Security Utility‘ menu. Follow the instructions and try not to forget them because only Apple can unlock your computer if it happens to you.
Enable guest user
In Apple’s words, the guest account works with ‘Find my Mac with iCloud’ to help you find your MacBook if you leave it somewhere or it is stolen.
Locate your Mac if someone finds it, sign in as a guest, and use Safari to access the Internet.
For this reason, you should not deactivate the guest account, and if you do not have it, enable it immediately. It must also be associated with the iCloud account.
Go to ‘System Preferences‘ -> ‘Users & Groups.‘ and click the Lock icon on the left bottom.
After typing your password, click ‘Guest User.’
Scan for malware.
Although there are indeed more malicious programs aimed at Windows computers than Mac, things have changed in recent years significantly. It still does not reach the same percentage of attacks, but it is already beginning to be worrying throughout the community.
This does not mean that we strongly recommend using antimalware software that focuses mainly on discovering and removing adware, that is, hidden code in specific applications that aims to capture information to show you associated ads.
Thanks to the latest versions of macOS, especially from OS Mojave, computers already have a powerful invisible antimalware tool, always running, known as Xprotec.
However, for greater peace of mind, you can choose to acquire some of the security tools proposed by the large manufacturers in the cybersecurity market.
Check out our article on Best Antivirus for Mac: Best Options in 2022.