Contrary to popular belief, Mac devices are not immune to cyber threats. Although predominantly infected with adware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), these too can carry significant risk.
Additionally, the number of macOS malware is on the rise. Vox reports that between 2018 to 2019 there was a 400 percent rise in the number of malware programs targeting Macs. This steep incline is partly down to the increasing popularity of Mac devices; as users buy and use more Macs, threat actors design more malicious software for Macs specifically.
With these factors in mind, it’s safe to say that Macs are not the virus, worm, and Trojan-proof devices we think they are. Macs are usually more expensive than your average PC device, so it makes sense to keep your computer safe and secure.
To that end, here are some easy cybersecurity tips for Macs to keep your computer and your data secure.
1. Use a VPN
Once primarily thought of as privacy tools, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are rising to the fore as security tools in their own right. Getting a VPN on your Mac is one of the easiest ways to shield your online activity from potential threats.
Your VPN app simultaneously achieves two things: firstly, it creates a private browsing network, and secondly, it encrypts any data transmissions you make. So if you’re punching in your credit card details, for example, your VPN makes that activity and information incredibly hard, if not impossible, to detect and decode.
2. Install a high-quality anti-malware program
As Mac malware is increasing in number, it only makes sense to use an anti-malware program that is made for your Mac. Plenty of security software companies offer PC-based anti-malware apps, but fewer have created dedicated macOS versions.
Shop around and choose a market leader, you should also be prepared to pay for your program. Free anti-malware programs, while they may be effective, often act as scareware these days and bombard you with notifications reminding you to upgrade or highlighting insignificant issues with urgency. Instead, choose a paid, high-quality app.
3. Enable Mac’s in-built disk encryption
An often overlooked feature on your Mac is Apple’s in-built disk encryption tool, FileVault. The program encrypts your full hard drive with XTS-AES 128 encryption, a secure algorithm that keeps your private information exactly as it should be: private.
To enable FileVault, first log in to your mac with administrator privileges, then go to System Preferences. Find the Security & Privacy tab and select FileVault. Finally, click Turn On to activate your FileVault.
4. Don’t share accounts
If you share your Mac, don’t share a single user account. Instead, create a dedicated account for each person who will regularly use your device. You can also disable automatic logins so your account doesn’t automatically open when the computer is powered up. Of course, having your account open instantly might be easier when you’re at home, for example, but if you’re out travelling, it means that anyone who finds your device can use it and access your data.
5. Use a password manager
The heady days of easy to remember passwords are over. Now, it’s important to use long, complex passwords and never repeat these across accounts. This poses an issue though, remembering all those log-in credentials.
Password managers offer a secure vault to keep your account info secure. Choose a well-known and respected program, such as LastPass.
Don’t be too relaxed when it comes to your Mac’s security; it’s not an impenetrable fortress and it is vulnerable to threats. Follow the five easy Mac cybersecurity tips above and start securing your device.