Useful Tips to Secure Your Mac & Its Private Data

Getting a new Mac is exciting, but it’s been a joke that the best way to protect yourself from various risks is to use a Mac. That’s in the Microsoft Windows time. In old days, you probably kept all of your private data on your computer. Today, your private information is most likely stored across multiple Macs, external hard drives, or cloud-based storage services. Therefore, your private files aren’t that safe any more.

Fortunately, there are many options that you can choose to keep your data safe, even though Mac OS X has traditionally seemed to be a much more secure operating system, I’ve rounded up a few handy tips and tricks. Enjoy!

1. Remember to use different passwords for different accounts. If you have only one account, as soon as hackers gain access to one of them, they are going to try the same password on other online sites as well, hacking into your social networks, checking your online bank account, and snooping around your inbox. Don’t make it easy for hackers to get what they want — use different passwords for each site or service.

2. If you are using a shared Mac, go to System Preferences -> Security -> General and (after authenticating) selecting Disable Automatic Login. Also, select Immediately from the Require Password After Sleep or Screen Saver Begins drop-down. If you don’t trust the people you share your computer with, encrypt your home folder by turning on FileVault.

3. Turn on your firewall. open System Preferences, and click the Security icon. Then, click the Firewall tab. Make sure either “Allow only essential services” is selected, or you can choose to “set access for specific services and applications” yourself.

4. Download resources only from trusted sites. Illegal downloads are reportedly used to distribute malware and viruses, infecting your machine as soon as you access the file. So not only are you getting copyrighted material for free, you’re getting an unpleasant something extra. Make sure that you download software, applications, media, and other files directly from App Store or their official website to minimize your risk of infection.

5. Erase your Mac hard drive if you are going to donate, resell or share your machine. When you delete a file from your hard disk or format the entire partition, the file still exists on the physical drive: it’s just hidden from viewing, and the system can write over the file if it needs to. See homepage for how to get this done.

6. Protect the data in the cloud. Cloud services like MobileMe, Dropbox, Amazon S3, Evernote, and Google Drive all work great. The main risk is that someone will gain access to your account; the other is setting up your account incorrectly. Find out how the service protects your data. Some services encrypt your data and offer other security options, while others don’t.

7. Install a good system protection software. While you may have heard that Macs simply do not get viruses, the Flashback episode broke my perception. Now, Mac-flavored virus scanners are no longer as useless as they may have once seemed. To protect your Mac security, you can try this app called MalwareBytes.

8. Surf the Internet safely. For example, if you use Safari, make sure files don’t automatically open after you download them. You can do this from the Safari menu, choose Preferences. In the General section, make sure the “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” check box is not checked. That way, you can rest assured Safari won’t automatically unwrap any presents you don’t want.

There should be more tips out there for us to keep our Mac machines and the data safe, it is unrealistic for me to list all of them here. Anyway, hope you enjoy my sharing.

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