We all agree that Mac is more secure than Windows computers. Mac computers run under macOS, which is a Unix-style operating system with high reliability and security in nature. However, every software has a flaw. You still need to handle your Mac' security settings in the right ways to ensure your privacy protected from possible hackers.
Now macOS doesn't offer built-in antivirus/malware scan feature. Its security mechanism focuses on password management, data encryption, and sharing. Like all operating systems, macOS works hard to patch flaws in time so that hackers and cybercriminals cannot get a chance to exploit defects. It's the core that Mac has a high reputation for keeping customers' private data safe.
1. Software Updates
If software has any flaw, your Mac will be at high risk, especially a defect is reported publicly. So you should update software regularly. In addition to macOS, don't forget to update all apps installed in your Mac, which are as same important as MacOS to keep your privacy safe.
In the Software Update preference pane, click Advanced, you can see settings related to software update. It lets you check installed system data files and security updates and helps you get the latest updates as soon as possible. Here you have two basic options: auto or manual update.
- Auto update: if you have bandwidth, set to check for updates automatically and download new updates when available.
- Manual update: if you dislike interrupting, e.g., working on an important project, you don't want apps or macOS to be updated.
FileVault is Apple's full-disk encryption feature. If you activate FileVault, your files will be encrypted. In case your Mac is stolen or lost, no one can decrypt them unless knowing your password. Did you hear some stories that someone loss computer then loss secrets too. If you have a Mac and turn on FileVault, you are never to be in such a horrible story.
When the feature was first introduced, it slowed down performance a bit, but that is no longer a big concern. To decrypt files, you need to type in either your account password or the recovery key created when you switch FileVault on. Besides, in some cases, you need to type in a password to open a file. For some users who don't care about data leaking, the inconvenience may outweigh the security advantages.
However, if the Mac is for your business or have critical personal data, you should turn on FileVault as follows. With FileVault turned on all the files under your account will be encrypted, it is robust and secure, and is especially useful in case your Mac gets lost or stolen.More Apple Mac Apps for Encryption
3. Back-Up Data
Backing up your data is like an insurance policy. In case your data isn't in good shape, either by yourself in accident or by cybercriminals intentionally, the backup will help you out. Usually, no one wants to get payment from insurance policy, but it helps very much just in case.
Mac offers a comfortable and useful backup tool, called a fancy name: Time Machine. Time Machine needs extra storage to contain backup contents: an external hard drive or a network volume. As long as your settings are done, Time Machine automatically backs up your Mac every hour. It's a handy built-in tool to keep your data safe.More Apple Mac Apps for Backup
The macOS has a built-in firewall feature, which blocks any unwanted incoming network connections. But the feature doesn't turn on by default. If your Mac often runs in scenarios with public Wi-Fi, you had better to turn on the feature as follows.
- Click the Firewall tab in the System Preferences > Security & Privacy pane
- Click the padlock icon at the bottom left to unlock system settings
- Click the Turn On Firewall button
- Then click the Firewall Options button
- In the dialog box that appears, click the Enable Stealth Mode box
This last step means your Mac will be invisible on public networks, such as shared Wi-Fi in a cafe, and no one malware can access it.
Of course, your Mac can still receive inbound connection by maintaining a white list. You can set a list of apps and services which can collect incoming data when macOS turns on the firewall.
However, the macOS's firewall works only in one direction: it shields you from inbound traffic, not outbound. Its job is to stop apps and services that accept incoming connections.
If any malware has run at your Mac, MacOS's firewall cannot stop it connecting to the Internet. It means your privacy may leak without your awareness.
If you are concerned of an outbound firewall, you need to install third-party apps or tools.
You should be aware of how important it is to have a secure password, which is the key for your Mac's user accounts. If anyone can access it, all your data will be disclosed. You need to ensure that your password is secure, but also that you can remember it. There are many tips about how to create a secure password, which aren't only for Mac's password but are for generic passwords too.
You can set a password for Mac as follows.
There are three settings here:
- The first is to set a password for your account.
- The next allows you to specify if a password is needed to unlock your Mac when it goes to sleep.
- Then disable automatic login, which you should do if you use a mobile Mac.
- Choose to allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac, assuming you have an Apple Watch.
Good passwords should be difficult to remember, and they should also not be written down. Apple provides iCloud Keychain to help you make and remember passwords through built-in random password generator.
Supposing that you are logging on your Apple ID, iCloud Keychain will automatically enter any required password for any service or website. It can store all your account details, like settings for email, contacts, calendars, and social networking services, and automatically retrieve and populate them only if you need to log into any of your Macs and iOS devices.
iCloud Keychain is a built-in solution of Apple for both macOS and iOS. It uses a master password (Apple ID) to let you create and store robust passwords and sync them across all your devices. If your devices aren't limited in Apple products, you can select alternative password manager too.More Apple Mac Apps for Password
6. App Download
In the General pane of the Security & Privacy preferences, you can determine which types of apps can launch on your Mac. There are two options:
- App Store
- App Store and authorized developers
Both are good to prevent malicious apps that don't have an Apple developer certificate from downloading and launching.
In most cases, "App Store" is enough: you may not need to get apps elsewhere except from the App Store. However, if you indeed need an app that isn't in App Store, and it is from an authorized developer, you may wish to opt for the second setting. With either option, your Mac should be secure.
Please note that downloading an app by non-authorized developer will bring high risk to your privacy and data. However, you are able to run an app that doesn't come from an identified developer, but you will have to approve it before it will run.