When it comes to best security practices, Mac users are often branded as having a passive approach. This is the result of popular rumors such as “Macs can’t get viruses”.
Many people are under the impression that Macs are somehow impermeable to security breaches and are allegedly protected from hackers. Unfortunately, the reality of default Mac security is of the contrary.
It is widely known that Windows devices are an easier target for hackers. But large-scale security breaches such as the KRACK attack that affected nearly every single Wi-Fi connected device out there prove that Macs are also susceptible to malware and other vulnerabilities.
Also read: Do Macs Need Antivirus Software?
The macOS High Sierra security flaw was another huge security concern that allowed unauthorized users to access your Mac with admin access.
These major security breaches prove that every digital user, including Mac, should take extra security measures to ensure their digital privacy.
What Threats Affect My Mac?
Keeping your information secure on any device is important. We all exchange important, personal and even legal information online. Many of us send and receive money, share photos, reveal our location to strangers and more. The worst part is that hackers can access this information with as little as $20 and a laptop. If this makes you uneasy, then there’s no doubt that securing your data is essential for your Mac’s security.
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While Apple does go to great lengths to protect you from malware, the default security system still has vulnerabilities. Mac’s pre-equipped malware protection makes it nearly impossible to download sketchy software onto your device. Before you can open a file, Apple must approve the application and developer or you’ll see a message such as this:
If you’re sure your intended file is safe, you can adjust the settings to download the file anyway. But careless downloads and free software often lead to malware on your device.
While Mac’s security software gives users peace of mind, there are still plenty of risks that Mac’s have not been able to ward off. According to a report from Malwarebytes, there was a 230 percent increase in Mac malware in 2017.
This includes types of malware such as adware, ransomware and even scam software that has made its way into the Mac App Store. It’s obvious that today, Mac’s still require antivirus software to remain protected.
Who Wants My Data?
Data is the new gold rush. Depending on how much you can get your hands on, mining data can offer third parties and bad actors numerous possibilities. It’s almost unbelievable, and yes, quite unsettling.
Hackers: If a hacker is able to get a hold of your identifiable information, they can sell it on the black market. This is where other criminals can then buy your information and use it to commit crimes such as fraud. Any crime committed in your name can affect your retirement or even your children’s education.
Advertisers: It’s no secret that advertisers love to track you with cookies (unfortunately, not the sweet kind) and spam web pages with ads for what they think you want online. If you visit a hotel website, you can expect hotel ads to flood the sidebars of pages you visit for the next week. Constant web monitoring lets advertisers make money by trying to sell you products and services that you’ve shown interest in.
ISPs: Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has good incentive to watch every bit of data you transmit over their network. Why? So that they can make a pretty penny from selling your browsing details to third party advertisers. By providing you with Internet access, they have the potential to see, monitor and scan just about every single thing you do online.
Governments: It’s not surprising that even governments want your data so that they can monitor your online activities. As we learned from the Edward Snowden release of the NSA’s data interception operation, governments have the capacity to perform mass data collection. They can even censor content depending on what they deem appropriate.
In all, it’s fair to say almost everyone out there has an agenda, and it all starts will getting their hands on your valuable data.
Keep Your Mac and Your Data Secure
Not comfortable with these individuals and organizations having unlimited access to your data? Or maybe you don’t like that idea that your security-conscious Mac is no longer as secure as it used to be. Thankfully, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers a simple solution that can help you keep prying eyes out.
How Does a VPN Work?
For Mac, and every other device, a VPN offers an extra layer of security that can help you protect yourself online. While Anti-viruses only allow you to detect malware and viruses after the fact, a VPN gives you a powerful tool to proactively protect yourself from cybersecurity threats. A VPN for Mac works by connecting your device to a remote VPN server, creating a completely secure, encrypted tunnel for your data to travel through. This allows you to:
1. Secure Your Private Browsing
A VPN hides your data from anyone else outside the tunnel – even if you’re on the same network. If anyone does attempt to intercept your data, all they’ll see is indecipherable gibberish thanks to encryption. With a VPN, no one is able to see your online activities – not your even your ISP or the NSA.
2. Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi exposes your device to hackers and snoopers. Hackers can use the lack of encryption and open nature of the network to read your data or install malicious software. With a VPN for Mac, your data is completely secure and safely encased in a private tunnel. Even if you fall prey to an “Evil Twin” or other malicious Wi-Fi networks, the attacker will only see your encrypted, unreadable data.
3. Become Anonymous Online
A VPN allows you to keep prying eyes from peeking at your private data. When you connect to a VPN server, an IP address provided by the VPN masks your personal IP address. A new, anonymous IP address means that no one can determine your identity and actual location, letting you surf the web safely and anonymously.
How to Get a Mac VPN
With a public IP address, your Internet activities can always be tied back to you. Thankfully, VPN software is readily available online, meaning there’s no need to bother with manual configuration or other complicated options. A VPN is simple to get started and quite easy to use – often requiring just a single click before running in the background. Here’s how to do so step-by-step:
- Download a Mac VPN.
- Open up the app, select a country to connect to the server.
- Start browsing safely over any connection!
Show your Apple product the love it deserves, but above all, keep yourself safe.