Keeping Your Mac Secure

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Securing Your Mac | nickdjeremiah.com
Updated August 2016
This article was written for Mac users and the Safari web browser. The same steps apply to Windows, however settings will be found in different places.

It’s time to get real for a minute. Answer me a question truthfully, “Is your computer up to date and secure?” If you answered "Yes" then fantastic; if you answered "No" or "I have no idea what the hell you're talking about", then please pay extra special attention to this article. I want to help you keep yourself and your data safe and to do this, I’m going to give you some insight and teach you how to configure your web browser and computer to be more secure.

The first thing I want you to do is close everything down (except for this web page obviously). I now want you to open the App Store in your dock. If it’s not there, search your Applications folder. Click the Updates tab in the top right and wait for all the updates to show up… You might have a couple. You should see a button saying Update All. Click it. Now just sit back and wait a while. Your computer will now download and install all the updates. If your computer restarts, don’t worry. If it doesn’t restart after all the updates have installed, please restart it manually. Reopen this page afterwards–obviously–to continue this process.

Now open System Preferences ( > System Preferences). The very bottom line is where all the third-party applications you have installed will appear. You may see Adobe Flash Player and Java among others. If you do have Java installed, please uninstall it. To do this open Terminal (search for it in Spotlight) then copy and paste the following line of code and hit return:

 
sudo rm -fr /Library/Internet\ PlugIns/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin 
sudo rm –fr /Library/PreferencePanes/JavaControlPanel.prefpane

You'll notice that "Password" has now shown up. Type your admin password (this is the password you use to login to your computer) then hit Return. PLEASE NOTE: For security reasons, when typing your password in Terminal, it will appear as though nothing is typing, but it is. 

Also Please Note: You will need Java for some Australian Government websites, like the ABN register and ASIC. If you use these services, don't uninstall Java, because you need it.

Back in System Preferences. If you still see Java there (the icon may have changed to the System Preferences icon), right-click and choose Remove Preference Pane. Close everything down and restart your computer. If you get an error message trying to remove the preference pane, just click Okay and restart anyway.

The next step is to fix up your Adobe Flash Player. If you don’t have it installed, you can ignore this step. Click on the Flash Player icon in the preference pane. Head to the updates tab and click Check Now or Install Now. You’ll want to update your Flash Player to it’s latest version. Just follow the prompts for installing. It’s important to keep Flash Player up-to-date as it’s incredibly vulnerable to Malware (the modern day version of a virus). Sadly some websites and functionality still require Adobe Flash. You will have to do this for both NPAPI and PPAPI.

The final step is to open Safari’s preferences. Click the Security tab and make sure each check box is ticked. Then click Plug-in Settings and make sure that each of the plug-ins in the left column is set to Ask, for the website and where is says "When Visiting Other Websites" set to Ask as well.

In the Privacy tab set your cookies to Allow From Current Website Only and have the last two options ticked. Finally visit https://extensions.apple.com and install the Adblock extension by BetaFish Inc. You'll need to scroll down the page a little. This will block all advertisements in the browser and offer you a clutter, ad free and faster browsing experience.

Not having ads in your browser greatly reduces the risk of accidentally downloading malware, as the majority of malware comes from clicking ads in the browser.

Once you have completed everything in this article restart your computer and you’re done. You can also check out this article about maintenance for your Mac, I recommend you follow that article as well.

If you have any further questions or need more in-depth help please comment below.