Security for Your Mac – Are You Safe?

July 11, 2015

10:00 am

Mac users have a tendency to be complacent about security. The OS system, indeed, has a strong firewall and security scanning built into its system. In fact, it does a much better job than Windows in terms of security, and so many feel that they do not need to purchase additional security software.
But Mac security is not perfect, and, in the past 5 years, several Trojans and worms have successfully hacked Mac systems. Adding another layer of protection, then, may be the wise thing to do, for total security; especially if you conduct online banking and purchasing or store files and information that may compromise your privacy.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Here is what you want to look for in security software to supplement your built-in security for Mac.

  • Check to be certain that it has received testing by an independent lab, not one hired by the developer. (e.g., AV-Comparatives; AV-Test)
  • Check to see if it also protects receivers of your emails, posts, etc. – you don’t want to infect friends and family who use Windows devices.
  • Check that it combine antimalware and anti-phishing, so that you receive warnings whenever you conduct a search.
  • You want antispyware too, so that your emails and external devices are checked
  • You will also want a parental control option if you have children
  • You should have technical support 24 hours a day, at least by email and live chat, if not by phone as well.
  • You should research to ensure that it will not negatively impact performance of your system.

SECURITY MEASURES YOU CAN TAKE ON YOUR OWN

Even if you do not purchase a retail security package, there are some things you can do to ensure that you have the optimal protection with your built-in security.

  • Install updates from Apple and other programs as soon as they are available
  • Most current threats require that you have Java installed. If you have it, dump it – it’s not really relevant anymore
  • Periodically, access a Mac news site and look for any alerts regarding emails and sites that are suspicious or dangerous
  • Make it a firm practice that you will always download programs and software directly from the developer, not any intermediary. When you use intermediaries you automatically pick up programs you do not want, and some ca be really tough to wipe from your system.

Apple does a pretty good job with security – better than Windows certainly. And Mac OS users can certainly feel more comfortable with what has been built in. However, you should understand that hackers are really bright and tech savvy, and seem to always be a day ahead of the “good guys.” One needs only to look at the instances of major hacking within the past two years (Target, Bank of America, the IRS and CIA sites) to understand how pervasive and insidious this criminal activity is. And if you have known anyone whose identity has been stolen, you also understand the horrendous process for getting that issue resolved. For a relatively reasonable cost, you can acquire some additional protection that just may make a difference.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She’s slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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