MacMost: Security

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.
How Was My Password Hacked?
4/12/17
You may be surprised to learn how most passwords are hacked. It isn't by breaking into the account that is threatened, but by stealing the password from another site entirely. This happens because many people use the same password for different sites. You can easily protect yourself against this.
Set a Lock Screen Message
2/27/17
You can set a text message to appear on your Mac's lock screen. Use this to put contact information or instructions for someone who may find your lost MacBook. Change the message often to fit your situation.
Running Any App With Sierra Gatekeeper
1/27/17
In Sierra the system Gatekeeper function has been changed to only allow apps either from the App Store or from identified developers. But if you need to run other software, such as special software in a work environment, you can still run any software if you know how to override Gatekeeper.
Access Safari Passwords On Your iPhone
1/18/17
If you need to see your stored Safari passwords while on the go, you can get to them on your iPhone. While they are automatically inserted when using Safari on your iPhone, to use the passwords on another device you can go to the Settings app and view them there.
Protect Yourself Against Calendar Spam
12/5/16

Over the last few weeks many people have been reporting unwanted Calendar invites, usually looking like junk email with a sales pitch and links. It is difficult to get rid of these invites without notifying the sender that you either declined or accepted it. But there is a method to quietly delete the invite. A better solution is to switch to email notifications of Calendar invites until Apple fixes the problem.

Unlock Your Mac With Your Apple Watch
9/29/16
With Sierra and watchOS 3 you can set up your Mac so it unlocks automatically for you while you are wearing your Apple Watch.
Protecting Your iOS Device With Guided Access
6/6/16
If you need to hand your iPhone or iPad over to a child, consider using Guided Access to lock them into a single app and restrict what they can do. Guided Access allows you to turn off buttons and controls and even set time limits. You can regain access to your device with a password or Touch ID.
Password-Protected Locked Notes
4/6/16
A new feature in Mac OS X 10.11.4 and iOS 9.3 allows you to lock some or all of your notes in the Notes app. You can assign a single password that works for all locked notes in your iCloud account. You can lock and remove the lock on notes on your Mac, iPad or iPhone. This provides an extra layer of security if you store sensitive information in some of your notes.
How Gatekeeper Protects Your Mac
3/21/16
In OS X you can use Gatekeeper to protect your Mac from malicious software. Most users should have it set to only allow apps from the Mac App Store. When you do so, it is easy to allow other apps on a case-by-case basis, so even export users should consider this setting as the default.
Removing Adware From Your Mac
8/31/15
If you have adware on your Mac, it is fairly easy to remove. In fact, Apple provides a handy page with clear steps at http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203987. In this episode, follow along as I go through the steps to check my Mac for adware.
Learning About Online Scams
8/5/15

The best way to protect yourself against online scams is to learn about them. Here are three web sites that report scams. By browsing these sites a little each week, you will become knowledgable about these scams and learn to recognize when someone is trying to pull one on you.

Removing Persistent Alarming Safari Pop-Up Windows
7/29/15
If you find yourself stuck on a web page in Safari that is claiming that you are infected with a virus or that your computer needs to be scanned, it is a scam. But sometimes you can find that these pop-up warnings are hard to get rid of. Even if you quit and restart Safari, they reappear. It is easy to restart Safari without returning to the same page that starts the cycle all over again. You can also get help from Apple if you are infected with a more serious problem.
Recognizing Email Phishing Scams
5/20/15
Chances are you regularly get fake email claiming to be from companies that you do business with. However, these scam emails are trying to trick you into giving up your passwords and other information. It is important to be skeptical of every email message you receive and to learn to recognize the signs of phishing scams. Even email messages that seem to come from friends and relatives can be scams.
Creating Passwords With Keychain Access
5/18/15

You can use the Keychain Access app on your Mac to create secure random passwords for things that are not necessarily online. For instance, you can create random ATM pins or passwords for apps and other services. You can also store these passwords in your Keychain so you have a backup in a secure place in case you forget the password later on. Check out my book The Practical Guide to Mac Security at http://macmost.com/j-macsecurity

Safari Passwords
4/6/15
Safari lets you create strong passwords and save them when you create new accounts or log into existing ones on the web. You can access these passwords in Safari preferences or using the Keychain Access app. Thanks to iCloud, these passwords can sync across your devices allowing you to use strong secure passwords on your iOS devices as well as your Macs.
Guest User Accounts
3/11/15
If you want to give someone else access to your Mac, like a house guest or someone visiting you at work, use the Guest Account instead of letting them handle your real user account. Guest Accounts are easy to switch to, and protect all of your documents, settings and other data from mistakes the guys might make. When the guys is done, the Guest Account is wiped out completely, leaving nothing behind. You should have your own account, and anyone else who 'owns' the Mac with you, like a spouse or other family member should have their own account as well. Anyone else should use a Guest Account.
2/7/14

Earlier this week an NBC New report showed that it was very easy for all of your computing devices to get hacked in Russia. It seemed to show a phone, a PC laptop and a MacBook that were hacked almost instantly upon being turned on.
Most people took this at face value and assumed that hacking and malware are endemic in Russia. But computer experts noticed that the report lacked any details about what happened. Now we have an updated report from NBC News that sheds some light on what went on. And the truth is very far from what most people assumed.