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Take Control of Security for Mac Users, Chapter 7: Fortify Your Mac’s Defenses

This article is a pre-release chapter in the upcoming “Take Control of Security for Mac Users,” by Joe Kissell, scheduled for public release later in 2015. Apart from Chapter 1: Introducing Mac Security, and Chapter 2: Learn Security Basics, these chapters are available only to TidBITS members; see “Take Control of Security for Mac Users” Streaming in TidBITS for details.

Chapter 7: Fortify Your Mac’s Defenses

In the previous chapter, I talked about ways to ensure that the data you send and receive with your Mac isn’t intercepted, monitored, or hijacked in transit. But regardless of how secure your Mac’s connection with another computer may be, that computer could try to send your Mac dangerous software, or someone could attempt to break into your Mac remotely. Conversely, you could have software on your Mac that attempts to make connections to distant servers without your knowledge and send them information you’d rather keep private. This chapter discusses ways of keeping your Mac and its data safe from outside attacks, some of which could appear in the form of malicious software, or malware.

Use Anti-malware Software (or Don’t)

“I thought Macs didn’t get viruses.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard statements like that, and how dizzy I’ve gotten from all the eye-rolling I did as a result. There’s a kernel of truth in that claim, but it’s far from the universal principle people often imagine it to be.

Let’s talk about the true-ish part first.

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