MacMost Now 705: Safari Security Settings

Learn about all of the different Safari browser preferences that affect security. You can find them in more places than just the Security tab. Learn what each one does to protect you while you surf online and decide what the best settings are for you.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 705: Safari Security Settings.

In this episode lets take a quick look at safaris security settings.
there's a lot of talk about internet security now a days.
Its important to understand the security settings you have in Safari.
In Safari you go into Safari > Preferences. You bring up the preferences window.
There are a lot of different settings in here you will find a lot of security settings. Under security
The first setting here is about fraudulent sites warnings.
Google keeps a data base of site it thinks will be trouble.
there two types of websites like that
One will be a completely malicious website.
he developers and the owners of the website mean you harm.
The other is benign website it ok but its been compromised, perhaps its a website thats not been maintained and maybe its been hacked. and maybe there's fraudulent stuff there
so Google keeps a database of this.
You'll rarely see this pop up. but you should keep this on because it will save you if you go to some website that has some malicious intent.
The next group of settings is all about enabling and dis-enabling things in the browser.
First you have enable plug-ins. The most popular plugin of course is flash. If you turn that off a lot video is not going to work. Games wont work. You really disable a lot of the internet.Keep that turned on. You want to make sure you keep your flash updated. and keep in mind that a lot of security problems with flash aren't with flash at all. their simply an installer masquerading as flash but it has nothing to do with setting. Or it simply an update that nobody is issued for flash so if there was really a problem somebody fixes it before there ever is one.having this turned on is perfectly fine. And is required to surf around most websites.
Now the next two settings are often confused. You have enable Java and enable Java script.
They are two completely different things despite the similarity in the name.
Java is kind of like a plug-in but there is an entire environment there where applications and web-pages can exist.
Javascript on the other hand is scripting language the makes pages work.
If you turn of Java you may not notice much of a difference unless you go to a specific web-page that uses Java. There aren't that many.
Javascript you on the other hand you'll notice on just about every website especially the complex ones such as say, a social media website such as Facebook. It would suddenly stop working because it requires because it requires scripting on the web-page for complex functionality.
Now for a few pages we where all advised to turn off Java, some people turned of javascript by mistake and that caused them problems.
but stopping Java was simply a stop gap until an update to java came out to fix a security flaw in it, thats all fixed now so
its ok to have java turned on.
and as always stay informed with things that are going on with security problems with either java or flash or anything else
on the internet.
The last setting here is the block pop ups window pop windows are more of an annoyance than a security threat. And a lot of websites know how to circumvent the basic
pop up blockers in safari and other browsers. This is on by default you can also get to it here. Safari> Block pop-up windows. or use the keyboard shortcut.
some websites have a functionality that requires a pop-up to occur. say for sign in's or for information they can give you.
So you may need to sometime turn that temporarily to use content on the website.
And at the bottom here we have this check box for asking before sending a non-secure form from a secure website.
So what will happen is that you are about to send a bit of information in and it will give you a warning saying saying this isn't secure in other words it is no longer encrypted between you and the server.
If you are on a public wi-fi network for instance and you are sending in a pass word
anybody on the public wi-fi network has software that can read stuff on the airways and get that so you want to make sure thats turned on if you get it at a public place or a wi-fi net work you don't trust then you may want to go to that website later when you're on a network that you can trust.
now there's more security settings if you go to privacy here you have your settings for cookies so blocking third party cookies
means that if you go to a website and theirs a cookie set by another website say an advertisement embedded in that page it will present that form happening. and its set for default. if you set block cookies always you'll find that a lot of functionality on websites wont work cause they rely on cookies to know who you are and your login information things that you've done things like that.
and if you set it to never, then you're allowing third party websites like advertisers to post cookies. there really is not much harm in doing that but since the default is this one I would leave it there.
Also you have location services here on the bottom. A lot of website these days are asking for your location, for instance if your trying to find move times a website can just use use location t find what movie theaters are near you.
So it will give you a prompt and you can set how often you can see that prompt.
Now a really big security setting is under general... down at the bottom here you see open "safe" files after downloading . So turning that off is what I recommend. And this prevent files that are downloaded from automatically running. Now usually this isn't a problem but it could be a way for malicious software from getting through by you simply inciting the download and then it automatically runs. Turning this off gives you an extra a chance an extra step to help you consider what's about to run. same thing say if there's a zip file, if your going to download a zip file with this off it means that your going to have to manually go into your downloads folder and double click on it to decompress it gives you an extra step that sometimes can help if your trying to access the security risk
of your download.
So this has been a look at security settings for safari if you use alternative browsers like firefox or chrome you can look in there and there are similar settings for those and preferences there.
So its a good idea to keep all this stuff in mind. Hope you find this useful. till next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 14 Responses to “MacMost Now 705: Safari Security Settings”

    7 years ago

    thank you for another great video! you do an awesome job!!!

    Douglas Mattingly
    7 years ago

    So, after this last malware incident, has MacMost changed its position about the need to have anti-virus software?

      7 years ago

      I keep this page updated:
      You can always go there to check.
      Doing those three things would have kept anyone out of trouble during that Java/Flashback incident. I don’t believe that any anti-virus software would have.

    7 years ago

    Hey Gary. Talking about security, I uninstall my Flash and I would appreciate if you make a video explaining the life without Flash. I mean the tips to still running flash if you really need. What I do is run the page in Google Chrome using the “Develop>Open Page With”. Is there any other tip? And I can use a similar step to open a windows that is open in Chrome to open in Safari? The opposite direction.
    Thanks a lot.

      7 years ago

      I wouldn’t recommend uninstalling Flash. Too many sites use it. And as one of the world’s top Flash developers, well, I simply recommend that you DO use Flash. Just keep it up-to-date like everything else.

    7 years ago

    Gary, in the advanced tab under Safari preferences, there is a box to “Show Develop menu in menu bar”. So when you click it and go into the “Develop” section of the main page Safari bar, there is an option “Send do not track HTTP header” as well as a “Disable Site Specific-Hacks” function at the bottom of its list. Is clicking on any of these two options going to enhance the security of Safari or would doing doing so be redundant? What are these options by the way?

      7 years ago

      This menu is for people that develop web sites and the functions in it assist in development. For instance, the “do not track” will help developers visit their site as a first-time user. The “Site Specific-Hacks” one turns off a feature that allows Safari to render some specific sites properly, even though those sites do not follow web standards but instead use specific (usually MSIE) code.
      So neither of these will help you with security. The first one might, but it will also disable a lot of functionality at a lot of sites.

    7 years ago

    I use Safari and do not have Flash installed on my Mac. When encountering Flash content on the web that I want to observe I switch to the Chrome browser using “Open Page With” under the Develop menu in the pull down menu bar. The Chrome browser has Flash built in. IMO this process is a small inconvenience compared to all the problems I have encountered associated with having Flash installed.

    7 years ago

    Ok Gary. I understand you position about still having Flash. But I prefer to live like this guy. I feel more secure.
    What I really want to know is:
    Does exist a step like we do to open a page, that is in Safari, in Chrome but the reverse step?

      7 years ago

      I don’t know. I don’t know of an easy way to do that. You could always copy and paste the URL, or drag and drop the address onto the app icon in the Dock.

        7 years ago

        Man, you’re amazing. Why I don’t think about drag and drop? This is even more easy than Develop>Open page with…
        Thanks a lot Gary.

    7 years ago

    Gary, this is a little off topic. But there is a setting to change the Keychain password so that it doesn’t use your login account one (some say that you should change it as a security precaution). To me it seems a bit redundant to do so. Although, Keychain does store your Mail/Router passwords etc. Changing it doesn’t seem to make you any more secure. In fact changing it can create a hassle for you, especially when you’re then required a password every time you access mail. So am I correct in my thinking here or should I really change it?

      7 years ago

      Up to you. I think it is overkill, but I guess there are situations…

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    7 years ago

    I have a simple software programme installed called Do Not Track Plus,and it can show you who`s tracking you. The main one that`s always there is Google Analytics. Just a couple of nights ago,a warning came up from Google saying that this may harm your computer,and i was took to a Google page telling me that my ISP that this website is under scrutiny for illegal downloads of copy right material. I was doing research about the Bible? The one that keeps turning up is this poker site,and i definitely know,you can get bugs,and viruses from this site,but nothing has been done about it. Thanks for your video Gary

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