Now it’s the time to secure your Mac from either data thieves or network hackers. These are the basic settings you can make to secure your Mac:
There are several things to be aware of when you’re choosing options for your login items, such as disabling automatic login or hiding available usernames.
Here is the complete steps to secure your login:
- Go to Apple ▸ System Preferences inside Accounts
- Click on the Lock to make changes
- Choose Login Options
- Disable automatic login, so strangers will require password to access into your Mac
- Hide list of users by choosing Display login window as Name and password. So even though some data thieves can lure you away from your Mac, they won’t get any hints to enter your account
- Don’t show Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down buttons
- Don’t give Password Hints. I believe you will remember your password
Securing Sleeping Mac
If you have used your Mac for quite a long time, you’d prefer let your Mac sleep rather than shut it down when you’re away. This is when securing sleeping Mac becomes essential. So you will need to set your Mac to ask for password whenever someone wakes your Mac up.
Here is how to set it:
- Go to Apple ▸ System Preferences under Security pane
- Click on General section
- Enable password prompt to wake computer from sleep or screen saver, which is done by ticking the first checkbox
- You can also enable automatic log out after several minutes you away from your Mac by ticking the checkbox labelled Log out after x minutes of inactivity
Securing Keychain Access
Keychain login password is set by default the same as your account login password. So if somehow someone knows your password, that person will also know all passwords for your entire application, either it’s IM or even your Mail.
Don’t let this happen. The only way out is by differentiating your keychain and your Mac password. Here is how to do it:
- Go inside Finder: Applications ▸ Utilities
- Open Keychain Access
- Choose Keychain Access: Edit ▸ Change Password for Keychain Login
- Fill in all the requirements field. The good thing here is, you can see your password strength when entering new keychain login password
- Confirm your changes and try not to forget your new password
But of course, the better solution is not to let strangers know your login password.
Don’t Give Permission Easily
Before doing any changes to your Mac, your Mac will prompt a login window asking for your password. This is meant to give your more control over your account.
If you got window prompted asking your password out of the blue, don’t give it out if you don’t really know what’s happening. Maybe it’s a malware..
Keep Your Mac Up To Date
Most of the time, Apple will release patches for potential security issues. So make sure you check for updates daily. Or, you can have your Mac to check it daily for you:
- Go to Apple ▸ System Preferences..
- Choose Software Update pane
- Click on Scheduled Check section
- Enable check for updates and enable download important updates automatically
- Select Daily checking for updates
There is something you need to take note, if there exists new version of your Mac OS X in Software Update List, make sure you check on forums to see whether any issues encountered during updating.
Controlling Screen Sharing
In Leopard, you can do screen sharing. This is a mixed blessing: You can share your screen as you want but also strangers can access and control your screen.
So you need to handle screen sharing permission: only to enable it with your permission. How to do it?
- Go to Apple ▸ Preferences..
- Choose Sharing
- Click on Screen Sharing
- Near the notification Screen Sharing: On, you will see Computer Settings.. button. Pop up menu will appear when you clicked on it
- Disable allowance for VNC viewers with password while enabling anyone may request permission. This way, in order to control your screen, everyone should get your permission first
Building Strong Firewall
Firewall is turned on by your Mac default setting. But for the sake of completeness, maybe you are interested in applying Stealth Mode for your Mac: To make your Mac hidden beneath the wall.
- Open to System Preferences: Apple ▸ Preferences..
- Choose Security and Go to Firewall section
- Allow only essential services by choosing the second radio button
- Click on Advanced.. button to reveal pop-up menu
- Enable Stealth Mode where your Mac will give no response unexpected traffic source
The easiest way to make backup is by using feature introduced by Leopard: Time Machine. After setting backup drive for the first time, your Mac will automatically do the backup for you.
But if you choose to backup manually, you can use Carbon Copy Cloner and/or Super Duper as discussed in my earlier post: Make Mac Backup.
Encrypting Sensitive Data with FileVault
If your data can do harm to your business, you should consider turning on FileVault. With FileVault, your Home folder will be encrypted so that unauthorized users can’t access those data.
So even though your Mac is stolen, the thieves cannot access your files. But be careful, if you lost your login password and master password, your data will be lost forever (as shown in the warning).
To turn on FileVault:
- Open System Preferences
- Go to Security Preferences Pane and choose FileVault section
- Set Master Password first
- Turn On FileVault. It will take a while to turn on your FileVault and keep in mind that you need harddisk free space as big as your Home folder size for temporary use while encrypting data
- You will be logged out during encryption process
Visiting UsingMac.com Often
It’s obvious, right?
One last thing, currently we got no virus on Mac, but who knows that someday some malevolent enterprises will create one. So my advise, keep up to date, especially on security issues, and stay low profile.