What Can I do to Keep My Computer Safe?
Ensuring you Stay Safe Online
Currently, staying safe online should be a top priority for everyone. I am always preaching this in my classes, on social media, and on the website. My intention is not to scare people off their computer and devices, but to ensure they have the information to protect themselves. Knowledge is empowerment and will allow you to enjoy using technology without being fearful of what to use and how to use it.
McAfee Labs’ March 2017 Threats Report shared some eye-opening news for Mac users. There has been a rise in new malware targeting macOS (1), resulting in a more than 700 percent increase in the malicious software from just the year before.
McAfee says that most the malware came from adware bundling (aka popup ads). Although it is annoying, the good news is it isn’t malicious software that would take your computer out of commission. Macs are more secure than Windows machines, but that doesn’t mean they do not require vigilance and awareness of potential threats.
Reduce Your Risk of Malware
Malware is distributed by embedding it in an app, one that probably looks completely harmless. You can reduce your risk by only downloading apps from reliable sources. If you are a Mac user, macOS has features built in to help protect you.
On your Mac, you can restrict the sources of apps that are allowed to be installed on your computer. From the Apple menu chose System Preferences, click Security & Privacy, then click General. The options here are:
- APP STORE, which is the most secure, or
- APP STORE AND IDENTIFIED DEVELOPERS, these apps are not reviewed by Apple, so there is a slightly increased risk.
Another thing I recommend to Mac users is to install Malwarebytes on their computers. This is an easy app that offers “detection, protection, and malware-removal.” The free version detects and cleans up malware infections when you run a scan. Or you can upgrade to the premium version, which provides real-time protection against malware and ransomware, meaning you don’t have to do anything on your end.
What else can you do to stay safe online?
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, be mindful of your system updates and your passwords!
- Do your system updates promptly. Many of these have security updates that will help protect you. I wrote more about this in a previous blog.
- Make sure you use complex passwords: this means words, not in the dictionary. A collection of numbers, letters, and symbols. I ALWAYS recommend a password manager such as 1Password or LastPass.
Don’t let fear of hackers deter you from exploring the possibilities of the online world. Be smart and proactive to keep yourself secure.
 macOS is the operating system software that runs Apple computers.