9 tips to fully secure your Mac

You are used to installing a virus scanner on a PC. By default, your Mac's operating system is well protected against malware and there are fewer viruses for it. However, for a few years now, different Mac malware has been alternating with each other. How safe are you on a Mac?

Tip 01: Security Updates

The operating system on your Mac, OS X, is already well protected against viruses and intruders by default. But hackers are always finding new ways to get into your computer. That's why it's essential to keep up with your software. Also read: Is the iPhone immune to viruses?

The first step is to keep OS X up to date. Every completely new version of OS X has its own name, the most recent version is called El Capitan and is also referred to as OS X 10.11. If you have an older Mac, you may no longer be able to run this version. You can download El Capitan from the App Store. To keep your OS X version up to date, you should always ensure that your operating system has the latest security updates. These updates are identified by a second number, for example OS X 10.11.3.

You can see if you are running the latest version by clicking the Apple logo click and choose About this Mac. rear Version see which version you have installed. click on Software update, the App Store will open and you can see if there are any OS X updates available. With a security update, settings and documents are never deleted from your drive, this can happen if you go from OS X 10.8 to OS X 10.9, for example. In the latter case, the entire operating system will be updated and you can choose to erase your entire hard drive. So make sure you pay attention to such a major update and have a backup of your data. To keep your Mac secure, make sure you're System Preferences / App Store the option Search for updates automatically is selected. Depending on your preference, you can choose to check the boxes below as well. If you select the last of the three sub-options, security updates will be downloaded and installed automatically.

Tip 01 In any case, make sure that updates are automatically checked so that you never miss a security update.

Tip 02: Virus Scanner

If you ensure that your operating system is always up-to-date with the security updates, you are currently well protected against viruses. But whether this will remain the case in the near future remains to be seen. There are a number of virus scanners for the Mac available and luckily you don't have to pull your wallet for this. A good free option is Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac.

You download the program by clicking the blue bar at the very bottom of this page for Free Tools to choose. click on Download below Sophos Antivirus for Mac Home Edition. click on Get Started and choose Version 9 if you're running OS X 10.6 through OS X 10.9. OS X 10.5 and earlier is no longer supported. Extract the downloaded file, click Sophos Anti-Virus Home Edition and go through the installation instructions. After installation, you can scan your hard drive for malware, viruses and trojans by running next Scan Local Drives in front of Scan Now to choose.

To scan another drive, click Custom Scans and then the plus sign. Indicate which locations should be scanned by clicking the plus sign below Scan Items to click. You can view all threats by clicking Quarantine Manager to click. Select a file and click Clean Up Threat to completely remove the file from your drive.

Tip 02 A virus scanner is not necessary, but recommended.

Virus scanners

Besides Sophos, there are a few other good free options. Avira for example or avast! Free Antivirus for Mac. Another option is ClamXav, although this program is slightly less user-friendly.

Tip 03: Firewall

To avoid hacking attacks from outside, it is imperative that you protect your Mac with a firewall. OS X's built-in firewall is good enough and can be found at System Preferences / Security & Privacy / Firewall. If the option is disabled, it is high time to change it. Click on the lock at the bottom and log in with your administrator password. Choose Enable firewall. If you want to configure your firewall, click on Firewall Options.

You create maximum safety by checking Block all incoming connections but this may mean that features such as printer and file sharing will no longer work properly. You can determine per program whether it is allowed to connect to the outside world, click on the plus sign and select a program. click on Allow incoming connections and optionally select Block incoming connections. Finish by pressing OK to click. If you have the option Activate Stealth Mode your Mac is not even discoverable by other computers on the same network.

Tip 03 The firewall can be configured with the Firewall options menu.

Tip 04: Network Sharing

A firewall helps against intruders, of course, but it is also useful to check which network connections you have open. You can find all the settings for this at System Preferences / Sharing. At the top you indicate how your Mac makes itself recognizable on a network, by default this is your username with the model name of your Mac. Below it, you'll see all kinds of checkboxes that you can toggle on or off. If you have a printer attached to your Mac and you want it to be used by other computers on the same network, then put a checkmark next to it. Printer Sharing.

below Printers you also need to select the correct printer and Users indicate who may use the printer. With the plus sign you create a new user group with different rights. Sharing files over the network is useful, but make sure you have the correct settings. Bee File Sharing find you under Shared Folders an overview of folders on your hard drive that are shared with the network. Please note that all files in these folders are viewable by other users when under Users so set. You can find your public folder in the Finder by clicking Go / Home folder / Public to click.

Tip 04 Be careful if you have file sharing turned on, everything in your public folder can now be viewed by others.

Tip 05: Gatekeeper

A fairly new feature in OS X is Gatekeeper: an extra protection against installing unknown software. Most programs for the Mac can be found in the App Store and these programs have been screened one by one by Apple for malware and viruses. So you can install everything from the App Store without any problems. However, some programs cannot be found in the App Store and you have to install them manually, for example by means of a dmg file.

How OS X handles these types of files is determined by Gatekeeper. Go to System Preferences / Security & Privacy / General and look below Allow programs downloaded from. The safest option is of course App Store, but if you have the option App Store and developers whose identities are known select, not much can go wrong. The last option, Any source, is not a very good idea. If you have chosen one of the first two options and you still want to install something that has not been approved by Apple, you will receive a message that the file cannot be installed. To manually reject this, open the file with the right mouse button and choose Open. In the next screen you have to press again Open click to confirm your action.

Tip 05 If you have set up Gatekeeper, you may encounter a warning when you try to open an installation file.

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