Let me give you a handful of useful things to remember about life online in the 21st century.
First, “Everybody is out to get your money.” That’s the way a capitalist society works, and despite its Communist roots, China is as capitalist as Apple, Facebook, Google, or Amazon.
Next, “If everybody is out to get you, a little paranoia is the right attitude to have.” The interwebs is crawling with bad actors and they want to get into your devices and they are under attack 24/7, and, yes, the malware you want to protect against includes Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others.
What can you do to lock down your Apple products?
In some ways it’s easy but it requires a combination of discipline and sacrifice, but that works better in the 21st century than going off the grid (which has its own set of problems). So, let’s say you have iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
What can you do to lock them down to avoid the bad actors who want to get inside, or, in the case of Facebook, Google, and Amazon, are inside already, collecting data and phoning it home.
Passwords – make it complicated enough that it is difficult to guess but easy enough to remember and do not use the same passwords on each device; even a single letter makes a difference. Lock down your Mac, iPhone, and iPad with a longer, more secure, but memorable password.
Password Manager – Apple’s built-in Keychain works well to log you into various websites but is complicated. Enpass or 1Password are recommended.
VPN – Even your home Wi-Fi is not safe, and internet service providers– including cellphone companies– grab tracking data and use it against you. A good VPN can help reduce that liability. Check out Jeffrey’s look at how iPhone Gets A Very Clever VPN Firewall.
Killer Apps – the worst offenders are easily found but there are many others. If you’re serious about the need to remove data mongers then Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other social media should be banned or limited. I use Apple’s Shared Albums in Photos instead of Instagram, and Signal as an alternative to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, and it’s a good, secure alternative to Messages.
Email – No, email is not secure and Apple’s Mail app doesn’t make security easier without any kind of encryption. I recommend that email use be limited, and if you must use it, do so sparingly, and avoid Gmail or other third party email services such as Hotmail or Yahoo! email.
Cases – Yes, we lose iPhones and both iPhone and iPad get dropped. Sure, you want to feel all that finely crafted beauty, but remember– that’s a supercomputer in your hand (or, butt pocket)– so treat it with respect. Get a decent case that can withstand a drop to the floor. Mac notebooks do not require a case unless you’re on the move often, and, if so, get a case. They’re inexpensive on Amazon and they help to protect the original case from scratches and dents, and that helps to preserve resale value.
Those are just a few items for the newly initiated to the paranoid class; useful, easy to employ, inexpensive.