In light of Apple’s recent security breach involving their iOS, here are the top ten security issues for OS X. And if you haven’t updated your iPhone or other apple devices to iOS 7.0.6, click here to read more on why you should do so immediately.
1. Passwords. Is your laptop protected? What about your desktop? If someone broke into your apartment or your car to steal one of those things, how easily could they get into your documents? While I hope you never find out, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Set your screensaver to turn on after only a few minutes of inactivity and then require a password to turn it off.
2. User Accounts. Have multiple people working on the same OS X device? Create multiple user accounts, but remember that Apple’s OS X requires additional authentication for system changes, even for administrators.
3. Malware Detection. The idea that Macs are immune is malware is a big, fat myth. Malicious hackers everywhere are crossing their fingers, hoping that you believe it. Be smarter than that. Set your anti-virus software to scan your machine at least once a day. Contrary to popular belief, Macs are not completely free of malware.
4. Secure Browsing. We’ve all been there. You need WiFi and you need it fast; unfortunately, you don’t have a secure hotspot at your disposal. Lucky for you, you notice that there are a couple unprotected networks you could log onto. You just need to look something up online. It’ll only take a minute. But guess what? A minute could be all a bad guy needs to weasel his way into your private data. Only use secure WiFi connections. VPNs encrypt all data going in and out of your devices, and allow you to safely use WiFi hot spots.
5. Encryption. Make sure you’re encrypting data, not just your programs. You should also consider encrypting laptops.
6. Back Up Plan. What would you do if your computer crashed and burned, and you couldn’t even turn it on? Just because you’re using a Mac, doesn’t mean your device can’t become corrupted. Back up your work! Apple has a Time Machine that allows you to back up all your data to the iCloud. If the idea of the Cloud freaks you out, at least invest in a good external drive and set reminders to back up everything regularly.
7. Firewall. When it comes to firewalls, make sure your cable modem puts your home network in Stealth Mode.
8. Website Reputation. Google is great, but it’s not filtering the results as SAFE sites versus UNSAFE sites. You’re still clicking at your own risk. Make sure to set your browser to check website reputation. This is will keep you from landing on known hostile pages.
9. Physical Security. There are precautions that simply require a little common sense. Shred all home documents, credit invitations, and financial papers before disposal. Once you throw something away and put the trash outside, anyone can go through it. Also never plug in any “found” USB drives into your computer. If you need a new USB that badly, spend $15 at Staples for a new one instead of risking spending hundreds of dollars trying to do damage control on a hacked device.
10. Awareness. Don’t click on unknown attachments, no matter who they were sent from. Learn how to recognize email phishing attacks. Think like a bad guy. Have a healthy level of suspicion and never be afraid to question when it comes to keeping your computer secure!