Mac OS X is a secure operating system in that it’s multi-user and has limits on what some user accounts can do. If an account is setup as a basic user, that user can only hurt himself, not the whole system or other users. However, in the interest of being “friendly” to new users, Apple leaves of a lot of the secure bits off for the first user created and this means that Trojans like this week’s can cause some pretty nasty problems on your system.
Mac security involves more than just probable virus attacks, though. Basic Mac security has to do with the security of your important content, information, your identity and the physical security of your Mac computer.
What can you do as a Mac user to ensure Mac security? Here are some basic methods that you can try on your own.
Keep Your Mac Secure
If you are using a Mac laptop, ensure that it stays with you all the time. If you use a desktop, use anti-theft devices with trigger alert to lock it down to your desk.
If you allow anyone at all to access your computer, then your Mac security just went through the window. The first step towards keeping your Mac safe is to ensure that it cannot be used by anyone other than you.
Set A Password
You can ensure this by setting a password in Mac’s Open Firmware. This is the code that’s been built into PowerPC-based Macs to control the startup process. EFI replaces Open Firmware in Intel Macs, which also supports password protection.Setting a firmware password ensures that no one can start your system from either a disk, a network boot volume, or a separate drive connected in Target Disk Mode.
This password is required to start your Mac from its regular boot drive. Apart from locking your computer down to your desk, setting a boot-level password is the best way to protect your Mac. However, this also fails if you set a password that can be easily guessed by someone who knows you well. Set a password that’ll be very hard to guess, perhaps even hard for you to remember.
Lock Your Screen
For the times when you won’t be close to your Mac, ensure that its contents cannot be seen by prying eyes. To do this, set a password for your screen-saver through a check-box setting in the Security pane in System Preferences. Let the screen-saver be activated when you move your cursor to one of the “hot corners” of the screen. This way, you can instantly lock your system when someone comes looking over your shoulder.
Use The Key Chain Option
Use the Key chain Access located in the /Applications/Utilities folder. The Key chain option stores the commands that you readily use. Select the “Show Status in Menu Bar” option in the Preferences page. You’ll now have a Key chain menu item with a handy “Lock Screen” command.
All these measures still won’t prevent someone from restarting your machine or powering it off. Not just that, but a malicious user can actually take out the hard drive and use it elsewhere. You can ensure Mac security not only by following stringent security measures but also by being pro-actively aware of potential dangers. It might seem a little paranoid to always look over your shoulder, but a little caution is never misplaced when you think about all the damage control after you lose your Mac.