How to Protect Your Mac from Hackers

Anti Virus

Cyber hacking comes in many forms and degrees. It is both dangerous and costly. Getting hacked can cause humongous problems to an individual, an organization, or even a country because it disrupts life and inflicts a lot of damage. Just recently and you’ve probably heard of it, there was a massive Equifax breach September of last year. It exposed 45.5 million worth of personal and sensitive data. It is considered to be the worst corporate data breach to date. Yahoo also revealed last year that three billion of Yahoo accounts have been compromised due to a security breach.

What Is Cyber Security?

Cyber Security, as defined by the IT Government in the UK, is a security measure that is comprised of technologies, processes, and controls that are designed to protect systems, networks, and data from cyber attacks. A very efficient cybersecurity lowers cyber attacks resulting to a reduction in system, network, individual, and organization exploitations. It is the only working solution to defend against cyber hacking.

So now you wonder, given that you do not have the fund to get top-dollar security for your Mac, how do you protect your unit against cyber attack vulnerabilities? No worries because Apple is a top quality brand that makes security a top priority. As a matter of fact, your Mac has a built-in detection feature that guards against common malware usually found in downloaded files. It is updated regularly, but as a secondary protection, it always better to know how to defend your Mac laptop from malicious activities.

Top 10 Mac Solutions to Protect Your Computer Against Hacking

1. Use Safari. Every Apple device comes with a pre-loaded Internet browser in the form of Safari. Whether it’s a Mac, an iPhone, or an iPad, you can use Safari to browse the web, watch videos, or access your social media. It is fast, efficient, and is regularly updated. Safari has several cool features that ensure safe web browsing. One of these features is the cross-site tracking that prevents companies from tracking the user’s online browsing habits. Companies use this browsing information to know which ads to serve you. Another cool feature is the Password Generator, which allows you to create a strong password without having to install a third-party app.

2. Keep Your Systems Updated. Regularly updating your system is very important.

If your computer is connected to the Internet:

  • Open the Software Update window under System Preferences.
  • Make sure that Check for Updates is enabled.
  • Set the frequency to the most frequent setting.

If your computer is not connected to the Internet:

  • Retrieve updates from www.apple.com/support/downloads.
  • Verify that the SHA-1 of your downloaded file matches the latest published online.

3. Disable Automatic Login. You don’t want people to easily access your computer if it is left unattended, lost, or stolen. The easiest way to protect your data is to disable Automatic Login. Disabling the feature will prevent unauthorized personnel to access your files and data. You can do this by following these steps:

Open System Preferences > Accounts.

  • Choose Login Options.
  • Set Automatic Login to Off.
  • Set “Display Login Window As” to Name and Password.

You can also disable guest login by doing the following steps:

  • Open Guest Account and Sharing.
  • Choose Guest Account.
  • Uncheck Allow Guest to log in to this computer.
  • Uncheck Allow guests to connect to shared folders.

4. Secure Your Folders. One of the easiest solutions is to prevent others from accessing your folders is to secure your users’ home folder permissions. To do this, you can run the following command for every home folder: sudo chmod go-rx /Users/username.

5. Take Advantage of iCloud Keychain. This feature has been around for many years and was primarily designed to create safe and strong passwords for Mac users, like you. Rest assured that your passwords, account details, and bank info are stored securely.

To enable iCloud Keychain on your Mac, follow these steps:

  • Go to Apple Menu and choose System Preferences.
  • Select iCloud and then click on Keychain.
  • Follow the instructions to set up iCloud Keychain.

6. Disable Services Not Often Used or Not Needed. There are some services that are seldom used so as an added precaution it is better to turn them off. These services are found under /System/Library/LaunchDaemons.

  • Bluetooth – com.apple.blued.plist
  • iSight – com.apple.IIDCAssistant.plist
  • NIS – com.apple.nis.ypbind.plist
  • VPN – com.apple.racoon.plist
  • ARD – com.apple.RemoteDesktop.PrivilegeProxy.plist
  • ARD com.apple.RFBEventHelper.plist
  • Notifications – com.apple.UserNotificationCenter.plist
  • WebDAV – com.apple.webdavfs_load_kext.plist
  • Email server – org.postfix.master

If you wish to switch off any of these services, just type the following command:

sudo launchctl unload -w System/Library/LaunchDaemons/(plist file name)

7. Use Firewalls. This is one of the most important antidotes to protect your Mac from hackers. Every Mac computer is equipped with two firewalls – the IPFW Packet-Filtering Firewall and the Application Firewall. The Application Firewall specifies which applications are permitted to receive incoming connections.

To configure you Application Firewall, do the following steps:

  • Go to Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  • From the System Preferences window, choose Security.
  • Then click on the Firewall tab.
  • You may need to unlock the Firewall tab if it is locked. To unlock, just click the small lock icon in the lower left corner and type in your Administrator Username and Password.
  • Click Start to turn on your Mac’s Application Firewall. You’ll see a green light beside the Firewall Status that means that the firewall is running smoothly.

To further customize your Firewall, click on the Advanced button at the right side of the window. You can choose to check or uncheck these three options:

  • Block All Incoming Connections – This will disable all other sharing services like File Sharing, Printer Sharing, and Screen Sharing. It will only allow basic Internet connection.
  • Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections – This option automatically adds software from any valid authority to be added to the allowed list of software. You will no longer be prompted to authorize the addition of the software.
  • Enable stealth mode – Keep this option checked because this will prevent your Mac from responding to ping requests or port scans.

8. Use a Router Instead of a Modem. Connecting to your router is safer compared to connecting directly to a broadband modem. When you connect to your router, it assigns an IP address that can only be reached within your home network. Your broadband modem, on the other hand, assigns your computer a public IP address that is vulnerable to random scanning.

9. Run Your Anti-Virus Software Regularly. Viruses and other malware evolve so fast that it is necessary to keep your anti-virus’ database updated regularly. Scheduling a weekly, a fortnight, or monthly scan will make sure that no malware is undetected. You can also use trusted 3rd party cleaning tools or software to regularly get rid of trash, unwanted files, and cache that clog up your computer system.

10. Be Cautious. Do not haphazardly click links from emails that came from unknown contacts. Do not install applications from untrusted sources. Always check for reviews and make sure you download software only from the vendor’s website. Do not access unfamiliar websites and check the URL on the address bar before typing in your password. It pays to be extra careful when you are online.

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