macOS has numerous built-in security and privacy tools.
The System Preferences section allows you to set and control various security features available in macOS. Among useful things, you can find options to configure the firewall, enable or disable data encryption, tweak privacy settings, etc.
The Security & Privacy menu consists of four parts:
1. General: It lets you create and change passwords, set passwords for specific actions and services. It also helps you to manage messages displayed on the lock screen. And it lets you decide what apps can be installed.
2. FileVault: It can automatically encrypt locally stored data protecting your hard drive contents.
3. Firewall: Here, you can configure various settings, including the built-in macOS firewall.
4. Privacy: It is intended to allow you to control which apps have access to certain services.
Let us begin with the basic settings.
The security panel can be launched in two ways:
• By clicking the Security & Privacy icon located in System Preferences.
• By clicking the System Preferences icon on the Dock.
To make any changes, you first must verify your identity. To do that, click the Lock in the lower-left corner. You will be asked to enter the admin password. After you fill in your details, click OK. The lock icon will change and will become unlocked. Now you can begin to configure the system.
The General tab is also divided into sections. The first is devoted to passwords, and the second one deals with downloading and installing apps.
In case you wish to change the password, press the Change Password button. Now you will have to enter the old password, then the new password, confirm it, and then also add a security hint.
Passwords should be strong. It is also important to change passwords from time to time. Many people still do not use passwords to lock their computers.
To secure your device during your absence, use these available macOS options:
1) Activate your account password. Now password will be required to exit the screen saver or the sleep mode. Eight preliminary values can be used to set the actual term, from Immediately to 5 seconds and up to 8 hours.
2) Avoid showing messages on the lock screen. Even if the screen is locked, anyone can see them.
3) Disable automatic login and require all users to authenticate.
The second section allows you to decide what apps can be downloaded and installed. Although the default value is set to App Store and identified developers, I would change that to App Store as who knows what may happen to so-called identified developers. Even App Store sometimes lets malware in.
FileVault encrypts all your data. Actually, it encrypts the entire hard drive. Data encryption is extraordinarily strong here as even the FBI had problems breaking it.
If you enable this option, a password will be required to unlock the hard drive. Be careful with using the FileVault as you may lose access to your files if you forget the password or the recovery key.
To encrypt your drive, press the Turn On FileVault button. Do not worry if the process of encrypting a drive takes several minutes. It may actually take several hours. It all depends on the type of data and the size of the drive.
If you want to disable the encryption, click the Turn Off FileVault button.
The Firewall is used to stop unauthorized Internet connections for services and apps. To enable it, press the Turn On Firewall button. Now you can go to Firewall Options and use several features there to enable or disable connections for built-in apps or to add \ remove apps yourself using + and – buttons. By default, trusted apps may accept incoming connections.
Here you may also enable the stealth mode to hide your macOS computer from bots by not responding to unauthorized probing attempts.
To make all your connections private and at the same time encrypt data in transition, you can use external VPN services. VPNs create a special tunnel where your data travels undetected by Internet providers and anyone else who may want to spy on it.
The Privacy pane defines what apps can access certain services. Some apps may ask to provide access to the calendar, and other apps may request access to the camera. Apps that control the device require certain admin privileges. They get these rights in the Universal Access section.
There are plenty of sections in the Privacy pane, from Location Services to Apple Advertising. So, select the desired section on the left of the screen and click the checkboxes to provide specific apps access to the corresponding services.
In the lower right corner, you can find the Advanced button. It allows you to:
· Automatically log out users when the device is idle for a certain period of time.
· Request the administrator password for system-wide settings.
· Prevent receiving commands from infrared remote controls.
Even though Apple programmers constantly improve the security posture of the macOS system, and it can be considered very well protected (especially if we compare it to Windows), users should bear in mind that hackers do not waste their time too. They create more and more malware pieces aimed at Apple devices.
I have been covering topics related to the cyber threat landscape for more than a decade. My strong track record as an investigative journalist and a combo of malware