Macs, short for Macintosh computers, were considered inherently more secure and thus less susceptible to cyber attacks and threats than their Windows-based counterparts for a long time. But that is not the case, no operating system (OS), including the macOS, is threat-proof.
In fact, Malwarebytes’s 2020 State of Malware report showed that in 2019, the macOS outpaced Windows in terms of number of threats detected per endpoint. More specifically, Malwarebytes detected an average of 11 threats per Mac endpoint, a figure that is almost double the average of 5.8 threats per endpoint for Windows.
The verdict? Macs are not invulnerable to attacks or threats. Hackers can easily steal your social media credentials and financial information through phishing or infect your Mac with malware. With that in mind, you need to take the necessary precautions to protect your macOS devices and prevent cyber attacks and data leaks.
This post will guide you through possible ways of protecting your Mac.
Secure Your Apple ID
Besides helping you access Apple’s services and synchronize your devices, your Apple ID account contains crucial settings and personal data that cybercriminals may target. Threat actors can easily trick you into submitting your credentials to fake Apple sites. They can then use these later to access your personal data and credit card details.
But you can determine if your Apple ID has been compromised by looking out for signs, such as:
- You receive a notification that your Apple ID was used to sign in to a device that you do not recognize. This tip also works if you did not use your Apple ID recently or access your account.
- You see a message you did not send or items in your trash you did not delete.
- You do not recognize some or all of your account details.
You can take a closer look at the full list of suspicious signs on Apple’s support page and follow the steps the Apple Support team recommends.
And if your Apple ID account has been disabled in the App Store or iTunes Store for some reason, you do not have to panic. It could just be due to a billing issue or you just have not signed in for an extended period of time. You may have also entered the wrong password multiple times. If that is the case, you just need to wait 24 hours before trying to log in again.
Check Your Security Settings
Default settings are never enough to protect against cyberthreats. That said, always make sure to give them more consideration and adjust them manually. Here is a complete checklist of the things you need to pay attention to:
- Turn off sharing services you do not need. Go to System Preferences and choose Sharing. On the left side of the window, you will find the entire list of available sharing services (e.g., Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Media Sharing, etc.). Untick boxes to disable sharing services you do not need.
- Turn off location sharing for suspicious apps. Hackers can track down where you are and use the information to steal your identity.
- Be careful when using public networks. Turn on Firewall to make your Mac less vulnerable. You can access this setting on System Preferences. Choose Security & Privacy then click the Firewall tab. Just tick the box to turn the feature on. You may need to click the lock icon on the bottom-left corner of the window and key in your password to make changes.
- Use the Guest User feature if you share your Mac with other people to keep your search and browser history and personal data private. You can adjust this setting by accessing System Preferences then clicking Users & Groups. Add users as necessary after unlocking your system.
- Spotlight sends information about your searches to Apple. That is how the vendor knows what content is relevant to you. If you do not want this feature turned on, go to System Preferences and choose Spotlight. Untick the applications you do not want Spotlight to access and get data from.
Get the Right Security Tools
Mac users need to understand the importance of installing additional security tools, too. Make sure you install the right antimalware solution. You can also consider subscribing to a reliable virtual private network (VPN) service to shield your Internet Protocol (IP) address from prying eyes or stay protected when using public networks.
A password manager is another useful security tool. It will generate strong and hard-to-hack passwords for you. Such an app will also store your passwords in a well-protected storage device.
Use a Safe Browser
While all Internet browsers collect personal data, Mac users can rely on their default Safari browser. It has unique functionality to protect your privacy, although not all of them are set by default.
One useful feature is Prevent cross-site tracking, which prevents third parties from tracking your browsing activities. You can access this by opening a Safari window then clicking Safari and choosing Preferences… from the drop-down list. Choose Privacy on the window that appears and tick the Prevent cross-site tracking box.
Use a Secure Email Server
Every time you send an email, it gets uploaded to a server before it gets sent to your intended recipient. At that moment, it is exposed and vulnerable to hacking. Make sure to use trusted and well-protected servers, such as Tutanota, ProtonMail, and Hushmail.
This post shared some useful tips on how to secure your Mac. They will help you prevent data leakage and malware infections. Make sure to heed the tips, especially if you use your Mac for work or financial activities.