MacMost: Security

Using Two-Factor Without a Connection
2/4/19
What if you need to connect to your iCloud account, but your iPhone doesn't have an Internet connection? Then you won't get a prompt with the two-factor code, but you can still generate the code manually and use it even though your iPhone isn't connected. Two-factor codes don't need to rely on Internet connections for verification. You can also get a code from your Mac even if it isn't connected.
Understanding FileVault
1/10/19

FileVault is a feature of macOS that offers full-disk encryption for your Mac. This protects your files if someone were to steal your Mac. Without FileVault, someone with possession of your Mac's hard drive could view the data in your files. With FileVault, that data is encrypted and can't be read. It is unlikely that you will need FileVault, but it is still recommended if you are using a portable MacBook that could easily be stolen. Some companies also have policies that force employees to use disk encryption.

Look For and Fix Duplicate Passwords In Safari
12/24/18
Storing your passwords in Safari is a good idea as it allows you to use strong unique passwords for each site you visit. But if you still have some old passwords that are used at more than one site, you need to change that. Safari will show you if you are using a password at more than one site. You can use these warnings to fix these before they become a problem.
Using Secure Code Autofill On Mac and iOS
12/20/18
Secure Code Autofill is a new feature in macOS Mojave and iOS 12 that will take those little codes you receive via text message and allow you to easily insert them into the fields on web pages and apps when they are asked for. This allows you to use two-factor authentication and similar security measures without needing to switch apps and copy and paste. Making this easier will hopefully encourage more people to use this important security measure.
12/19/18

Keeping your Mac free of malware and using strong passwords for your online accounts are two important things you need to do to stay safe and secure. But even if you succeed at these, you can still be vulnerable to common scams that use social engineering to trick you out of your money, privacy and security. Even the most intelligent person can fall victim to a scam if they don’t recognize it when it happens to them. The key to keeping yourself safe is to know the common scams so you recognize them when someone tries to trick you.

Use Password Assistant To Create Random Passwords
11/2/18

Your Mac as a password generator built into the Keychain Access utility. It takes a few steps to access, but it can be handy to generate passwords outside of Safari or in unusual situations. You can vary the length and type of password and copy and paste the result.

Privacy Preferences in macOS Mojave
10/23/18

Mojave changes how apps ask for privacy settings and gives you easier control of those settings. In System Preferences, Security & Privacy, Privacy, you can see all of the permissions that have been granted to apps and change them. However, for typical users it is often hard to determine why an app needs access to a specific type of information.

Checking For and Removing Adware From Your Mac
9/7/18

While each piece of unwanted software that tries to get on your Mac is slightly different, there are some general steps you can take to check for and remove malware. The LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folders are usual locations to check. You should also look for unwanted browser extensions and do an audit of the files in your Applications folder.

Automatic Login And Why You Should Never Use It
7/26/18

You can set your Mac to not require a password when you start up, wake up or log in. However, you should never use this function. Doing so leaves all of your information vulnerable to anyone who gets physical access to your Mac. Even if you are using a Mac that is stationary and locked up, it doesn't make sense to take the risk. Entering a password every time you use your Mac is a small price to pay for good security. You can mitigate the number of times you enter your password by setting the Require Password time to something reasonable, such as 5 minutes.

Is It Safe To Download Third-Party Mac Apps?
5/9/18

You may want to download third-party (non-Apple) apps for your Mac from time-to-time. When doing so, it is important to keep safety and security in mind. Four rules will help you stay safe when downloading apps: Don't get an app unless you really need it, get it from the Mac App Store if you can, only get an app if you trust it, and only download from the app's official site.

Using More Secure iPhone Passcodes
4/25/18

iPhone passcodes that are only 4- or 6-digits long can be easily broken by the same equipment law enforcement agencies use. While it is unlikely to be an issue for typical users, you can opt to use longer passcodes or even an alphanumeric password for your iPhone to make it nearly impossible to break.

Encrypting Pages, Numbers and Keynote Documents
4/24/18

If you need to encrypt your documents for security or legal reasons, you can do this easily in Pages, Numbers and Keynotes with the Set Password option. It is important to remember your password or you will lose access to the document. You can also just opt to use File Vault to encrypt all of the data on your Mac.

A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started With Time Machine
2/2/18

Every Mac user should be backing up the files on their Mac. The easiest way to do this is to use Time Machine, which is part of macOS. You can get a cheap external hard drive and start doing this today. Time Machine is simple and automatic and can save you from disasters, as long as you start using it.

Setting Up and Using iPhone Lost Mode
12/18/17

As long as you have Find My iPhone activated on your iPhone, you can then use a computer and log on to the iCloud web site to trigger Lost Mode. This will lock your phone, and enable you to display a message and phone number on the screen. You'll also get location updates sent to you via email. You can turn off Lost Mode if you find your iPhone.

The Root Password Hack Explained
11/29/17

Many Mac news sites and blogs are reporting about a way that someone can gain access to your Mac without your password. However, the danger is usually overstated as someone needs physical access to your Mac to use the exploit. In this video I'll show you the problem and also a simple way to prevent it. However, Apple will probably have a fix for this in the next few days or even hours.

Learn to Avoid Phishing Attempts
8/24/17

Mac, iPhone and iPad users get inundated with phishing attacks that appear to be official Apple emails but are in fact attempts to steal your Apple ID password. These fake emails play on emotions to get you to click on false links and then enter your password or download some malware. Take a look at some common examples. Thanks to those who contributed these examples!

Encrypting USB Flash Drives
7/31/17

If you use USB flash memory drives, also known as thumb drives or jump drives, you can encrypt them to make sure no one else can access your data if they get a hold of your drive. This is a system function in macOS Sierra that can be accessed in the context menu for that drive. Since these drives are easy to lose, it can be a good idea to encrypt them as standard practice.

Protecting Your Mac Against Ransomware
5/16/17

The recent dangerous WannaCry ransomeware attack should be a wake-up call to all computer users to keep their machines updated. While this malware does not affect Macs, that may not be true of future attacks. Keeping the operating system up-to-date would have protected victims of WannaCry. Please keep your Mac OS and apps updated, don't download software from sites you don't trust, and keep a good backup.

Using a VPN On Your Mac
4/26/17

It is relatively easy to use a VPN service on your Mac. Simply install the software that the service provides, and then set some preferences. From there it is usually automatic. Some services let you pick a server location and set some networks to be trusted at all times.

What is a VPN?
4/25/17

What is VPN and why do people use it? VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it allows you to establish a secure connection from your device, though Wi-Fi and your ISP, to the VPN service, and then out to the Internet. Using a VPN you can mask what you are doing from your ISP, which is particularly useful if you don't trust your ISP, such as when using a connection in a public place.