Can you deny the fact that maintaining data privacy and security is immensely crucial for any Mac user? No, right? Yet many of us pay the least attention and do little more than the minimum to ensure that hackers/opportunists and even the authorities can access our data as little as possible. Indeed, MacOS makes data securing very simple, all thanks to the host of tools present in the System Preferences, Safari, and several third-party apps. The threats come from three places: over the internet, through an e-mail, or from someone accessing your Mac directly. Only by taking preventive measures can you minimize the chances of risks.
When you talk about security and privacy on Mac, generally, it is recommended to make sure that the macOS software is up-to-date. However, it has been noticed time and again that Apple is caught up in the affairs where it lacked security. For instance, the High Sierra Root bug made it easy for hackers to access all the settings on any Mac by merely logging in as root in System Preferences. Fortunately, since this flaw has been fixed in an update to macOS, this bug doesn’t bother anyone anymore.
Therefore, it is very important to update macOS when Apple issues any security update, e.g., in January 2019, Apple released an update to macOS that fixed such vulnerabilities that push your Mac onto the verge of getting hacked. Besides, Mac is a very powerful, shiny device that is even desired by thieves and hackers. Your MacBook embraces your virtual world from memories to confidential documents.
Here you are about to find out whether your MacBook is safe or not! With these 5 MacBook security tips, you can reliably make your system an impenetrable mobile data fortress.
1) RECOVER YOUR MACBOOK WITH LOJACK AFTER YOU LOSE IT!
You must have heard about the “find my iPhone” app, where iPhone users can make use of Apple’s MobileMe service to track down the stolen/lost iPhone through a website. This app uses the leverage of the iPhone’s location awareness capabilities. It is good news for iPhones, but what about Macbook?
How to find your lost/stolen Macbook? Is there any app for MacBook too? Yes, there are apps of the sort! With a yearly subscription fee, LoJack software powered by Absolute Software will provide you both data security prior to stealing and recovery services post theft for your MacBook.
LoJack incorporates at the BIOS firmware level, which makes it very useful when a thief tries to wipe the hard drive of your stolen/lost Mac device. And, when he tries to reconnect to the internet without having any realization of what he has gotten into, LoJack starts its function—it starts broadcasting the location of your MacBook.
While it doesn’t guarantee that you will be getting your beautiful and shiny MacBook back, the odds of your getting your data back are much improved over other cases. If surveys conducted by its website are to be believed, the recovery team averages 90 laptop recoveries every week.
2) ENABLE OS X SECURITY FEATURES ON YOUR MACBOOK (NOT ENABLED BY APPLE)
The operating system of Mac, known as OS X, offers some great security features to the user. The main problem here is that when the elements are installed, generally, they are not enabled by default. For better security, these security features should be enabled by the user on their own. Here are the settings that you should consider configuring to make your MacBook more secure:
- DISABLE AUTOMATIC LOGIN AND SET A SYSTEM PASSWORD
While it is easy and straightforward to boot your system or when the screensaver pops up without having to enter any password, it is more like leaving the front door of your house wide open for the thieves who can steal your MacBook that is fed with a buffet of data. Within just one click of a checkbox and strong password creation, you can enable this feature that would blockade the hacker’s path.
- Enable OS X’s FileVault Encryption
You put a password on your account to keep your data safe and sound. Then, suppose your MacBook gets stolen, do you think your password can protect your data? Yes? Actually, No! Many MacBook hackers and data thieves pull the hard drive out and hook it on to another computing device using a SATA/IDE to a USB cable. Their laptop/computer will read that stolen hard drive, just like any other DVD or USB drive plugged into it. They don’t require any ID, account, password to access your data. It happens because they have bypassed the built-in file security of the operating system. Now, they just have direct access to all your data files regardless of who logged in! The simplest way to prevent this is by enabling file encryption using OSX’s built-in FileVault tool. FileVault encrypts and decrypts the files that are linked with your profile using a password that you set. It sounds a little complicated, but everything will happen in the background, and you don’t realize what is going on. In the meantime, your data is safeguarded; if the hackers don’t have the password to your data, it will be unreadable. The hard drive will be useless to them even if the hacker hooks it to another computer. If you are looking for stronger disk encryption with advanced features, you can check out TrueCrypt—an open-source and free tool to encrypt files and disks.
- Turn on Your Mac’s Built-in Firewall
MaC’s built-in OS X Firewall will stop most of the hackers attempting to break into your MacBook via the Internet. If you are worried about the setup complexities, then don’t be! It is effortless to set it up. Once you enable Firewalls on your Mac, it will block all kinds of malicious-inbound network connections. Not only this, but it will also regulate the outbound traffic as well. Applications must ask for access permissions from you before the user attempts an outbound connection. Depending on your choice and situation, choose to allow or deny access on a temporary/permanent basis.
3) PATCHES INSTALLATION?
This game of exploit and patch is still alive and well! What do hackers do? When an app is developed, they manage to find a loophole in an application and develop and exploit it. The developer of the application addresses this vulnerability and then releases a patch to fix it. Users download and install that patch because they don’t want to get trapped in the hacker’s ambush. But, fortunately, Mac OS X automatically checks updates for Apple-branded software on a regular basis and prompts the users to download/install them. Many third-party software packages, including Microsoft Office, have their software update app. This benefits the user by periodically checking if there are any patches available. For other applications, you have to manually see the “check for updates” feature that is situated in the Help menu. It is a great helpful idea to schedule or perform an update on a weekly basis for most of the installed applications. It is indeed useful to protect you from being susceptible to the software-based exploits.
4) LOCK IT DOWN!
Well, it is for sure that if someone has decided to steal your computer desperately, believe it or not, he will! Despite the fact of how many layers of encryption you have put on. Your goal should always be to make it as hard as possible for the opportunist/thief/hacker to steal your data or MacBook. You want them to feel helpless enough to move on to easy targets.
If you aren’t aware that “The Kensington Lock” has been in the security business for MacBook for over a decade, it is a security device for physically connecting your laptop with a loop made out of steel cable that can be locked with a large piece of furniture or some stable object that makes it hard for the thief to steal it. Every MacBook comes with a Kensington Security slot, aka K-slot, that will accept a Kensington-type lock. For newer MacBooks, the slot for Kensington Lock is located on the right of the headphone jack. Do people still pick these locks? Yes! Can this cable be cut with the right tools? Yes! The crucial aspect here is that the lock will decrease casual opportunities for theft. The potential thief who simply steps into the house with his typical kits and wire cutters will arouse a lot of suspicions. These kinds of locks are available in a wide variety and available all around the world at most office supply stores.
5) SAFEGUARD YOUR MAC WITH A HARD-SHELL CONFIGURATION
If you are serious about MacBook’s security and want to step forward into your settings to ensure that your Mac’s security is as invincible as possible, then head on to the Apple repair website and download the guides for OS X security. These are document details that are well put-together that are present to lock down every aspect of the OS to make it as safe and secure as possible.