Macs are on the receiving end of intricate cybercrime schemes these days. To stay safe, make the most of the security and privacy features built into macOS.
From annoying adware to destructive ransomware, Mac threats are growingly common. The silver lining is that macOS comes with a set of great security and privacy controls that will considerably step up your protection if configured wisely.
The beauty of taking this route is that you don’t have to go the extra mile installing third-party antivirus apps many of which are malware in disguise. Here’s how you can benefit from the native Mac defenses to the fullest.
What’s Inside Your Mac’s “Security & Privacy” Menu?
Clicking the gear icon in your Dock will open the System Preferences screen. It includes, among other things, the “Security & Privacy” section where you can fine-tune different layers of protection. This menu contains four tabs. Let’s go over each one in detail:
This is a one-stop pane to manage passwords and specify which actions should require authentication. It also allows you to set a custom lock screen message and select the allowed source for app downloads.
Securing your machine when you aren’t nearby is a good idea, too. To do it, configure the Mac to be locked when it enters sleep mode or the screen saver is enabled.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to click the padlock symbol at the bottom of the screen and enter your admin password to make changes to these settings.
If turned on, FileVault encrypts all data on your hard drive automatically. This way, even if someone accesses your device behind your back, they can’t mishandle the files it stores.
This feature uses a strong cipher that makes decryption impossible without the admin password or a unique recovery key. Be careful, though – if you forget both of them, you will lose your data.
This tab is home to the native macOS firewall that blocks suspicious incoming Internet connections. By default, it allows built-in and signed apps to receive connections. You can take it up a notch by stopping all incoming connections except those required by the operating system.
Another useful option is to enable “stealth mode” that makes your Mac invisible to bots that probe systems for remote access loopholes.
Use this tab to view and manage the permissions of your apps. For instance, if you select “Location Services” in the sidebar and notice a sketchy app in the list, uncheck it without a second thought. There are a total of 16 permissions you can audit and customize.
Be a Moving Target
Getting the hang of your Mac’s out-of-the-box security and privacy features is half the battle, but it’s not a replacement for vigilance. Nurture your security awareness and think twice before clicking links or installing apps that look too good to be true.