The technology world is such that everybody seems to want a piece of your Mac’s ass, and by ass I mean your personal information or anything you keep on your Mac that you would prefer to keep to yourself.
Apple started 2018 with a few well deserved public pokes regarding security and they were overshadowed by the very public and high profile Meltdown and Spectre security problems found in almost all modern computer chips; from Intel to AMD, from ARM to Apple’s customized A-Series CPUs, and most major chips in between.
What can you do to avoid such problems? Nothing. Well, other than upgrade your mac when Apple makes upgrades and updates available.
Here’s what’s going on.
All computer systems, from Linux to Windows to macOS to iOS to whatever else, and all software applications used on those systems, come with bugs and vulnerabilities. A vulnerability is a problem that could– but does not always– cause a problem if and when the vulnerability is exploited.
Those are the keys to understanding why it’s important to upgrade your systems. Vulnerabilities are there and new ones are found, but it’s the potential exploit that is the real problem. So far as anyone knows, the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities did not have any in-the-wild exploits but all it takes is one and that could have spread throughout the world.
Ipso facto and alakazam– worldwide security problem.
What else can Mac users do to improve security? Again, the most obvious is to upgrade macOS, but I have others on my list.
Disable Automatic Login – this option prevents someone from stealing your Mac or using it while you’re gone. Use a good password. Don’t put the password on a Post-it Note on the Mac’s screen.
Turn On Firewall – Open System Preferences, click Security & Privacy, click on Firewall. Turn it on. Also enable Stealth Mode in Firewall Options.
Screen Sharing & File Sharing – In System Preferences > Sharing you’ll see options for Screen Sharing, File Sharing, Printer Sharing, and more. Exercise some caution here. Set Allow Access for only specific users.
I consider those to be the basics for Mac security because they prevent unauthorized access to your Mac when you’re not around. You could turn on File Vault to encrypt files but if someone already has access to your Mac FileVault doesn’t do much. Privacy Settings in Security & Privacy as well as settings in Safari and other applications can be helpful, but again, if someone is already on your Mac, they don’t help much.
Keep the barn door locked.
If you’re worried about what the horses in the barn might be doing to run home and carry private information with them, try Little Snitch.