How to keep your MacBook safe from hacking, cybercrime, and more - The UpStream

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How to keep your MacBook safe from hacking, cybercrime, and more

posted Friday Sep 1, 2023 by Noel Arcallana

If you own and use digital technology on a regular basis, it's always worth going over the essentials of what you can do to make sure that your device, as well as the data on it, stays safe from those who would take them to do harm. Here, we're going to go over what you, as a user, can do to protect yourself from threats of malware, hacking, and even device theft, and protect yourself from the repercussions of leaving yourself too unsecured.

Stay up to date

Although it may certainly be annoying to have to keep up with the latest updates that Apple keeps dropping, they are there for a reason. Aside from improving things like usability and the features of certain apps, these updates typically come with security updates, as well as patching out whatever weak spots the OS, software, and hardware might have on them. Given that new cyber threats are coming out on a fairly regular basis, you don't want to be late in the race to keep up with them. Make sure that your Mac is ready to update whenever a new one drops. Sure, you might not always like the user changes that come with them, but it's a lot better than getting hacked.

Keep your login details secure

Even if you think that you're the only person in the world who is ever going to use your device, you should still make sure that you have a login password. You never know who might get access to your device, and not using a password is inviting them to access whatever files and data are on your device and in your browsing history. Create a secure password that's not easy to guess, turn off automatic login, and if you're going to give yourself a password hint, make sure that it's obscure enough that only you would be able to get it, such as a mnemonic device of your own creation.

Make sure that the firewall is turned on

Equipping your MacBook with additional security software is always going to be a wise move, but you should also make good use of the tools that are already installed on the device, such as its firewall. Every macOS device has a built-in firewall that basically blocks any network traffic that you have not already authorized. It's especially important to make sure that this is turned on in the event that you're connecting to any network that you are not personally in charge of. Of course, you want to make sure that your firewall is fully updated, as well, to be able to keep out the latest round of intruders.

Keep your online activity secured

If you're out and about, and perhaps using public or semi-private Wi-Fi connections, the data that you send and receive may be at some risk of being eavesdropped on or stolen by someone who has privileges on the same network. In fact, some hackers will set up false public Wi-Fi networks for specifically that purpose. While you should always be mindful of where you connect, you can also learn how to change IP address on Mac with the help of virtual private networks to ensure that you have their added protection. By changing your IP, you can avoid online trackers, encrypt the data you send and access so it can't be easily understood and might even be able to bypass connection throttling.

Be aware of phishing scams

If you've been online for long enough, then you might have developed a keen eye for scams and know when to straight up bin emails that don't pass the sniff test. However, that's not the case for all users. Phishing scams best target those who are not aware of them. There are a few typical trends that they follow: whether it's getting in contact with the promise of some kind of potential reward (especially of the monetary kind), threatening the user with some manner of disciplinary action if they don't act (usually pretending to act on some kind of authority or in possession of blackmail material) or even masquerading as a legitimate company or service that the recipient might use. Get to know the signs of a phishing scam so you can stay safe.

Secure your device when taking it out

It's not just threats of a digital nature that you should be mindful of. Device theft is still far too common a risk, especially for those who regularly take their devices out on the go, whether they like to work outside of the home or just need to keep it on hand whenever they might be needed. Making sure that you never leave your device alone, even if it's in a bag, is a start, but you can keep it secured in place as well so that, should someone try to steal it, they're going to find it a lot harder to simply lift. Portable laptop locking devices are an excellent example of the anti-theft tools on the market that you should start using.

Turn on the "Find My" feature

If your device does get stolen, you want to make sure that you have the best chance of getting it back. The "Find My" feature included on all macOS devices can help you do that, as well as help you remotely lock or wipe your device if it gets into the wrong hands. But this is only true if you activate it beforehand. You can't activate it remotely after it has been stolen. You can find it in the Security & Privacy settings, under the Location Services option in the Privacy Tab. This way, you can at least mitigate the damage that any potential device thieves could cause.

With the resources and tips above, it will hopefully be easier for you to ensure that you can keep yourself safe from cybercrime. Of course, it's always worth keeping your eyes on the horizon for new threats, as the shape of cybercrime can change from year to year.


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