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The Top Ten Most Useful Security Tips for Mac OS X

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/5/2010

This article outlines some of the ten best tips to put into place to secure your Mac OS X operating system.

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    Top Ten X Mac Security Tips

    When using the Mac OS X operating system, there are ten X MAC security tips that should be implemented to keep your computer system as secure as possible. Compared to other operating systems, the X Mac OS is a secure system with the first known Trojan was discovered in February 2006. It was believed that malware could not be created for X Mac OS, and even if someone did, it would not be feasible for small amount of people using the Mac OS. However, this has changed with the increasing popularity of Apple Products. The operating system is also designed in such a way to lessen the impact of someone creating an account as a user and creating havoc. Even those malicious code does exist for the Mac X systems, the following ten security tips are recommended:

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    Tip 1: Turn on the Firewall

    All computers should have their firewall enabled as a security setting. The job of a firewall is mainly to prevent intrusions into the system. However the Mac OS X operating system, the firewall can do too well of a job protecting the system by refusing almost all traffic into it. The best use of this firewall is to prevent Trojans with the potential to steal information or damage files.

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    Tip 2: Use A Complex Password

    By far the most obvious security tip for the X Mac OS would be to use a password that is not easy to crack. The password should be a complex one that is easy for the user to remember. However, it should not be so obvious that someone can guess it. Most security experts recommend using a combination of letters and numbers, with the letters not spelling any words located in the dictionary.

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    Tip 3: Ensure Security Updates Are Current

    Another security tip for X Mac OS would be to regularly install security updates to the operating system. This is another security measure that is easy to implement. It only involves clicking “Software Update" for the Apple Menu. It is possible to also schedule the system to check regularly for security updates, and the computer will prompt you to choose which ones you would like to install.

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    Tip 4: Install Anti-Virus Software

    Another highly recommended security tip for the Macintosh users would be to install Anti-virus software on their computer system. There is not many software created as Mac Anti-virus programs, but a popular one includes PC Tools iAntivirus. The type of antiviral software to choose one that allows real-time protection and monitoring of system files.

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    Tip 5: Turn Off The Administrator Account

    One of the quickest ways to secure your X Mac OS would be to turn off the administrator account, if it is not needed on a daily basis. With any operating system, the administrator account would give a hacker full access to all files and data stored on a computer. This gives them the potential to use erase or change programs currently stored.

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    Tip 6: Turn Off System Preferences

    A second security tip that can be utilized to secure X Mac OS is turning off the system preferences. It is another hassle-free security tip to put into action because it involves a basic change to the operating system.

    Even without full access to the system with administrator rights, there is the potential to create malicious code to create havoc with the way the system is setup. Even though it is simply a matter of unticking a box, changes within the “Systems Preferences" area will make a difference to your security. There are at least two system preferences that should be changed from the default settings. The first system setting to disable is automatic login. By creating an extra step that requires all users to first go to a login panel, the X Mac OS is made more secure. This prevents direct entry into the computer after a hard boot.

    The second system preference that should be changed from the default setting is to allow the computer to ask for a password after it comes out of the screensaver. Changing this preference is particularly important if the user leaves his or her computer unattended for long periods of time.

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    Tip 7: Turn On File Vault

    File Vault is a great way of managing which files can be executed on a Macintosh computer. It uses encryption that tracks what files are loaded when the user boots up or logs off the computer. The encryption system used with File Vault is called the Advanced Encryption Standard, and data is tracked when the user enters from the main password login page.

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    Tip 8: Disable Your Keychain Settings

    Even though using the Keychain does make it easy for users to have no need to remember passwords. However, Mac OS X Keychain also allows anyone intruding into the computer to gain access to all applications that use a password. Disable your Keychain settings by changing it to lock after a certain amount of minutes of inactivity.

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    Tip 9: Secure Your Virtual Memory

    This tip goes “hand in hand" with File Vault. There is a tick box under the General tab area that allows a user to make their virtual memory secure. Virtual memory is important because it contains all the applications and services that have been opened since booting up the computer. Virtual memory will also keep a record of any information typed into the computer. If virtual memory is not used in secure mode, then anyone with the ability to hack your system can access all of your information during that session.

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    Tip 10: Remove Unnecessary Services

    A third tip relating to making Mac X OS more secure would be to prevent any unnecessary services from running. This can be changed in System Preferences. Review the list of services currently running, and stop any that is not necessary by unticking the box. This will help reduce your vulnerability by having on those services which are needed running at a time.

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