Malware and viruses are one of the biggest problems with Windows computers. Apple’s macOS is the best alternate option available for Windows users. With robust file management system, macOS by default does not allow any external programs to run or modify system files. However, you also need use the system responsibly to protect your Mac from threats. If you worry about protecting your data and privacy while using Mac, here are the top 9 ways to do that.
Protecting Your Mac
Unlike Windows OS that comes with Windows Defender, macOS does not come with any default antivirus software. Though the software is strong enough to protect you, you can follow the below things to harden your protection further.
1. Update macOS
Apple releases security and patch up for the OS through software updates. Though there are arguments that Apple purposely release updates to push users to newer models, it is always a good idea to keep your macOS up to date.
- Go to Apple menu and click on “System Preferences…” option.
- Click on “Software Update” icon and your Mac will automatically check whether any updates are available for you.
- If update is available, you can click on “Update Now” button. You can also click on the “More info” link to get complete details about that update before installing. This will help you to understand the impacted files and app due to the update.
You can also enable automatic OS update when you have sufficient storage space on your Mac.
2. Keep Your Apps Updated
Similar to OS, you should also keep all the installs up to date so that they will not bring any security problems for your system. You can enable automatic app update from the same “Software Update” section by selecting the option from “Advanced” section. Alternatively, go to Mac App Store and manually check the details and update the apps.
3. Avoid Installing App from Third-Party Sites
Major security problems come from the apps that you download and install from third-party websites. You should be careful especially when using browser apps from unknown developers. They will automatically install adware and show pop-up ads or track your browsing activities. When you download .dmg (Disk Image) file from any website, Mac will warn you that the file type could harm your system. If you have accidentally downloaded the file, simply drag to the trash bin and delete it permanently. In case if you are not intended to use any third-party apps, go to “Apple Menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy” section. Navigate to “General” tab and enable “App Store” option available under “Allow apps downloaded from:” section. This will stop you when you mistakenly try to install an app downloaded from third-party websites.
4. Enable Firewall
Next step is to enable firewall on your Mac to protect incoming and outgoing network connections. You can do this under “Firewall” tab of “Security & Privacy” preferences section.
You can click on “Firewall Options…” button and block or allow connection for specific app.
5. Use Time Machine to Backup
Make sure to keep an external drive and regularly backup your Mac. This will help you to restore any specific folder or the entire system when you have virus and security problems. We recommend enabling automatic backup under “Time Machine” section of “System Preferences”. Whenever you connect your backup drive and using power adapter, Mac will automatically start the backup and take the current snapshot of your system.
6. File Encryption
If you store important files on your Mac, then enabling encryption can help to add additional protection. You can enable “FileVault” option in “Security & Privacy” section.
Remember, enabling encryption may slow down you Mac and you need to always remember the admin password or recovery key. There are no possibilities to recover the encrypted data if you lose the password or key.
7. Use Strong Passwords
If multiple users are using your Mac, make sure to disable automatic login to Mac without password. You can do this from “Login Options” section under “Users & Groups” preferences section. Similarly, make sure to have a strong administrator password which is needed to unlock your screen, preferences settings and viewing passwords from Keychain Access.
8. Install Antivirus App
Frankly, you do not need any antivirus app for Mac. You will also not find any popular antivirus apps available in Mac App Store. However, if you have highly confidential data or not feeling comfortable without the antivirus, then you can purchase a third-party premium app and install on your Mac. Norton, Bitdefender and McAfee are some of the options for you which you can get for less than $20 with single device access.
9. Stop Wandering on the Web
As mentioned, major security problems happen when you start wandering around the web without any objective. Avoid the following things to keep yourself protected:
- Do not click on malicious links of websites or links in your emails.
- Always purchase apps from Mac App Store or from the known publisher websites. At any case avoid downloading hacked software or product keys.
- Pay attention to the warning messages you will see while opening malicious files and immediately delete them.
Though all the above actions will protect your Mac, some of them will slow down or you should use carefully. For example, enabling encryption will slow down backing up data using Time Machine. If you have clean browsing habits then probably you do not need file encryption. Otherwise, you can install one of the premium antivirus apps for Mac to protect your files. Some apps also offer single license for using the app on both Windows and Mac. You can choose this option when you use both Mac and Windows PC and wanted to protect both devices.