Making Your Mac Extra Secure

mac osMac OS X is notorious for being very safe and secure out of the box. This is due to the way the operating system is programmed, so that it automatically protects from threats rather than needing additional costly programs such as anti-virus software that most Windows users must get. Of course, OS X is not impenetrable, as no operating system is, but most of the vulnerabilities that are found and exploited for Mac users are the result of third-party software rather than a result of Mac itself. There are some basic things you can do to further avoid susceptibility and make your Mac more secure. This article will discuss a few of those tricks and how to put them into action.

Something that many people aren’t aware of, especially if they are new to their Mac, is that Mac OS X actually has a firewall built into it that is just not turned on with default settings. Turning on the firewall allows you to control the network in terms of each individual application, giving access only to the programs you specifically grant it to, and keeping out those you don’t want. Turning on and setting up the firewall is extremely easy. Simply go to System Preferences, click Security and Privacy under the Personal section, and go to the Firewall tab.

If the buttons to change the settings are greyed out and cannot be clicked, it is likely because the settings are locked. Click the lock in the bottom left corner and you will be prompted for your password, after which the settings will unlock and you can make the changes you want.

Another setting to be aware of is Java. Surfing the Internet, you have likely run into something asking you to install Java, maybe a game or interactive website. Java generally doesn’t have much use to Mac users and is becoming less common in the world of computers. On top of that, a significant portion of Mac exploits and security problems are a result of Java. As a result of this, it is often a good idea to just disable it. To do this, go to the Safari Preferences and click the Security tab. You will see a box next to “Enable JavaScript.” Just uncheck that box and you are on the path to saving yourself from Java-related trouble. If there comes a time when you need Java and know the thing you need it for is trustworthy, you can just as easily re-enable it.

Another feature of Safari that is commonly enabled is the automatic opening of downloaded files. This can be very convenient at times, but can also pose a threat to security as downloads are one of the main sources of security exploits. This can be avoided in two ways. The first is a bit of common sense, be careful and aware of what you download. Secondly, you can disable that feature so that downloaded files only open when you purposefully open them. To do this, go to the Safari Preferences and click the General tab. Uncheck the box at the bottom next to “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading.”

These are some very simple tricks that when followed can help keep your Mac secure from any exploits and threats that may try to ruin your day.