Mac computers have grown quite popular in recent years. According to market reports, Apple accounted for almost 15% of all US computer shipping in the last quarter of 2020. This growth can be attributed to Apple’s continuous innovation and the tight integration with the Apple environment.
However, as Mac users increase, the threat landscape has greatly shifted. MacOS is no longer considered as safe as it used to be. In 2020, Reports showed that Mac threats outpaced Windows threats by 2 to 1. And although Macs are still relatively safer, this highlights how important it has become to protect your device from the ever-growing cyber threats.
This guide will provide you with 7 of the best security strategies you can use to protect your Mac.
Best cybersecurity strategies for MacOS users
1. Encrypt your network
We all like connecting to that free public hotspot at the restaurant, hotel, or airport. However, these networks are a haven for hackers, and they pose a huge threat to your device and your data. This is because most public networks are unsecured as they lack proper encryption and filtering rules.
As a result, hackers can easily snoop on your traffic and steal personal information. Even worse, some of these public networks can be evil twins set up by hackers with the sole purpose of stealing your data.
To protect yourself from such, always use a Mac VPN whenever you connect to a public hotspot. A VPN will encrypt your data and send it through a private tunnel to make it both impossible to read and to intercept.
2. Encrypt your hard drive with FileVault
Encryption is the core of cybersecurity, and it doesn’t stop at the network level. Apple provides an inbuilt encryption capability that you can use to encrypt your hard disk. The feature is known as FileVault, and it prevents other users from getting access to your data even when they have your laptop. This comes in handy if you happen to leave your Mac unattended or the device is stolen.
FileVault works by encrypting the data behind your password. It uses XTS-AES-128 encryption with a 256-bit key to help prevent unauthorized access, and it is easy and quick to set up. Apple provides a comprehensive guide on turning on and setting up FileVault.
3. Protect your Mac and accounts with a good password
Password hygiene is one of the best cybersecurity practices. However, most people end up reusing passwords on multiple sites to ease remembering them. This is a dangerous practice as data breaches often expose millions of accounts every year. If your password is compromised, this can give access to multiple accounts, including your iCloud. Apart from data breaches, if your password is known or easy to guess by a person who has access to your device, they can easily access your Mac.
To prevent such, use a secure and unique password to secure your Mac. You can also use a password manager to create and manage unique passwords. This will ensure that you are secure from brute force attacks and that your accounts won’t be compromised in the case of a breach. You can combine this with multi-factor authentication (especially for your iCloud account) for maximum security.
4. Avoid malicious software
In 2020, over 600,000 malicious programs were developed to attack Apple computers. This means there are lots of programs out there that you should avoid. If you download a malicious file, this can lead to anything from annoying pop ups to your data being held ransom.
The best way to avoid such apps is by browsing safely. Avoid getting lured into downloading apps that you don’t know or masquerade as legitimate apps. Only get your apps from the official store and trusted websites.
5. Use an advanced antivirus
Apple usually provides built-in security to keep your Mac secure. However, this security is not 100% effective against new and advanced malware. This means that a hacker can still get access to your device and install spyware or keyloggers.
To protect against advanced threats, it’s advisable that you get an antivirus that offers real-time malware protection and protection against zer0-day attacks. A top antivirus for Mac, such as Intego, will also come with an advanced firewall which is a significant improvement from the inbuilt firewall.
6. Keep your systems up to date
Apple takes security seriously, so they spend a lot of time ensuring that their software is free from vulnerabilities. However, the cybercrime world is fueled by discovering new vulnerabilities, and new threats emerge every day. When these vulnerabilities are discovered, Apple is usually quick to release patches that prevent exploitation.
These patches come in the form of updates, and so they should be installed immediately. This can be made easier by ensuring that you set your device to download and install updates automatically. Updates should be made not only for the operating system but also for the software products you use.
7. Backup your files
Cybersecurity goes beyond detection and prevention to remediation. This is important as your Mac can get lost, stolen, or even infected with malware. This would mean losing your data and having to start from zero.
However, Apple provides Time Machine, a backup tool for your data. You can use Time Machine to prevent file loss by backing up data automatically. Some antivirus systems also come with an advanced backup capability that increases the ease and efficiency of ensuring you never lose your data.
MacOS threats are on the rise as cybercriminals try to take advantage of the increasing number of users. This means that you need to be vigilant by taking several measures to protect your data and device from cyber threats.
The above guide provides several essential tips that you can use to secure your Mac in 2021.