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 8: Surf the Web Safely
The Web is perhaps your Mac’s most obvious gateway to the outside world, and as a result, it’s one of the best places to find people and software that present threats to your security. Even though you’ve secured your Wi-Fi connection, selected good security settings, and chosen strong passwords, a brief visit to a malicious Web site can cause all sorts of harm to your Mac.
In this chapter, I review several keys to safer Web browsing, including using SSL when possible, making sure your browser uses appropriate settings, and using a combination of common sense and technology to avoid phishing attempts and Web-borne malware. Everything here is applicable to users at all risk levels, although those at higher levels may want to choose more restrictive options, where they exist.
I focus mostly on Safari and Google Chrome, the two most popular Mac Web browsers, but the advice in this chapter applies to nearly every browser, and you can likely find settings and extensions comparable to the ones I discuss here even if you use Firefox, iCab, Opera, or another browser.
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