How To Protect Your Privacy Online On Mac OS
Privacy is the most discussed issue among the security experts and users. As today, we are totally dependent on online presence for most of the activities. From buying stuffs, to social media interactions and transferring money to our family and friends. Even a simple browsing session tells about our habits, that can prove advantageous of any cyber crooks.
There have been various instances of breaches of privacy by hackers targeting both home users as well as institutional organizations. They do this either for the sake of personal interest and monetary benefits. And Mac is now the new target for them. So, this is an alarming alert for all of us to take the online security and privacy as our main concern.
Thus, through this article, we have listed some important tips which will help you to protect your privacy online on Mac OS.
- Turn On Private Browsing
- Do Not Enable “Save password” By default In Your Browser
- Check privacy and Security settings of the Browsers
- Try To Switch For More Secure Search Engines
- Enable Firewall (Also use an external firewall to build a strong outbound protection)
- Regularly Clear your Browsing Cache
- Avoid downloading/updating software from unofficial websites
- Do not click links/ads on non-trusted sites
- Disable access for location to the unknown apps or which you don’t use much
- Keep your software, OS and browsers up-to-date
- Scan Your device for viruses to keep it safe
As MacOS offers a lot of easy to access options to ensure the privacy of every user, which you may not be aware of. However, these system in-built utilities will help you with the basics, but we will also recommend some security tools, to protect your online privacy in the long run.
Let us get started with How To Protect Your Privacy Online On Mac OS.
Turn On Private Browsing:
Using a private window for browsing is often the easiest yet the most effective step to protect your online privacy on Mac. Whatever may be the content of your browsing, either private or general, if you use the private window, you can be assured about the privacy.
While browsing we leave our trails of the browsing sessions which is called “browsing history”. These data not only helpful for the con artists but also for advertisers, third-party apps, marketers. Often times, they are used for scams, frauds, identity-theft and blackmailing. The advertisers use the data to pitch relevant ads that always seem to be attractive. However, this may only be trick to fool you in many ways. So, why help them to gain any benefit at the cost of your privacy.
Thus, it is better to urn on private browsing to browse. As Private window also offers the users the amazing privilege of zero search history. As well as deletion of all cookies once you close the window that means nobody will be able to track your search history. Even the data won’t be stored in iCloud. That is pretty much safe. Another way of securing your browsing is to use safe-browsing tool like Intego.
To access Private window on Safari : Open safari–> Click File options from top menu –> select New Private Window
To access Private window On Chrome: Open Chrome –> Click on the three-dots on top-right corner –> Select New Incognito Window.
Do Not Enable “Save password” By default In Your Browser
Most of us use “save password” built-in feature of the browsers, as this enables easy access to online accounts. As well as don’t give headache to remember and login again and again. Very true, but do you know how safe it is do as far as privacy is concerned. For passwords to be synced, you always stay connected with your account. So if anyone can get access you to your browser, then it can easily open any of your secure accounts. Even your personal chats, social media accounts and third-party accounts linked with Facebook or Google can be accessed with ease. (Why You Should Not Use Login with Facebook)
Not only the physical person, but any malicious actors can get reach of it and exploit them by hacking the accounts. So, it is better to avoid using save password feature of the browsers.
Instead, a better and secure way of doing this is using a password manger tool. There are various ways in which password managers can be useful. For instance, they not only help to create strong passwords that are difficult to break, but also keep them secure.
Check Privacy And Security Settings Of The Browsers
It is always advisable that you make complete use of all the privacy settings offered by the browsers. Like if you are using Safari, then you can access the privacy settings from under the Safari tab–> click on the preferences option –> Choose Privacy.
You can literally specify every aspect of your Mac privacy from here including the permissions that any of the applications or websites can seek. Also, block pop-up ads, manage unknown extensions and disable unknown programs from your browser.
Try To Switch For More Secure Search Engines
Most of the people use Google, Yahoo or Bing popular search engines, although they provide ease of surfing, however still they have security flaws. Instead, you can try using DuckDuckGo as the default search engine instead of Google.
As search engine does not store or track any of your data. It won’t even remember your choices and no nagging ads or suggestions would pop up every time you open the window. This one is really a popular browser extension which features smart-end encryption. The primary characteristic of this search engine is the in-built network tracking blocker. That means it will not to track any of your search history or records.
You can go to the preferences option from Safari menu and in the search tab option select DuckDuckGo.
Enable Firewall (Also use an external firewall to build a strong outbound protection)
Firewall is a very well known and essentially effective tool to ensure the safety of any system including Mac. Although, inbuilt firewall of the Apple protects the network connection, and also prevent certain kinds of threats. However, with the increasing cyber attacks and breaches, it is always necessary to provide an outbound protection to the network.
To enable the inbuilt Firewall protection, Enter the Privacy and Settings menu and turn on the firewall from there. Now, no unwanted application can breach your privacy and not even show up. Further, to customize the settings, you can allow a few of the applications to actually accept any incoming connections while restricting the others.
To prevent the disruption of browsing by unknown applications popping on your screen, you can choose to activate the stealth mode. The stealth mode is like an additional safety collar for your mac. No network can try to make connection attempts once your stealth mode is on.
Like said above, the hackers now use various sophisticated means to attack the network, so the built in firewall may not cover them all. So it is better to enable multi-layer protection for unknown threats that try to connect to your internet. Thus, a powerful and real-time outbound firewall can provide so.
Outbound firewall :
Can alert users when any malicious software try to make a connection to your internet. Even for the times, you download any software that you know will connect to the internet. One such outbound firewall that works well with the in-built one is the Intego NetBarrier.
This not only offers real-time protection, also helps to fight against malware, inbound threats and malicious programs attempting to connect to the Internet. As a result, you can be rest assured from any illegitimate connections, DDoS attacks and RAT from accessing your network and stealing your data.
Regularly Clear Your Browsing Cache
It is most basic practice to protect your privacy online om Mac OS or any other devices. As the cache data says a lot much about our browsing habits. Thus, many of the adware, spyware or browser hijackers keep on silently collecting the cache data that can are used to extract various information.
These info will expose your privacy online and later on lead to serious privacy issues. So, if you want to wish to stay anonymous then it is better to keep a cleaning the cache regularly.
How to clear cache in Safari Mac computer
- Click on the Safari tab from top-right of the screen, then choose “Preferences” from drop-down list;
- Click on the “Advanced” Tab, when a pop-up appears;
- Check on “Show Develop menu in menu bar” at the bottom of the window. This will open a new menu showing “Develop“.
- Now click on the “Develop” and now you can choose the “Empty Caches” option from the drop-down menu.
Avoid Downloading/Updating Software From Unofficial Websites
This can be main culprit of your Mac getting infected with with malware as well as privacy invasion. Downloading freeware, pirated software or movies can never be a good option. As they may appear to be legit, but may actually be a malicious one imitating to be genuine.
In recent times, EvilQuest Mac ransomware spread via pirated movie downloads. Also, users should be aware of fake Adobe Flash Player installers from deceptive sites. As they comes bundled with other adware programs. The adware and the free-download sources does so gain monetary benefits. So, users should think before downloading freeware as it comes at the cost of their privacy.
These program will run silently in the background and collect personal data to help other advertiser.
Do Not Click Links/Ads On Non-Trusted Sites
Always try to avoid clicking on links within suspicious emails, or links within social media chats from unknown sender. Don’t be in a hurry to react to them, as they are often used as an infection dropper. It can download any spyware, Trojans or Key-loggers kind of programs that can be direct threat to the privacy.
Disable Access For Location To The Unknown Apps or Which You Don’t Use Much
As now a days, most of the apps needs permission to access your location to provide better results. However, doing so, means they are tracing you all the time. They get to known when you move to your location and where do you reach. Hackers may get control of such malicious apps to target users and their activities.
Not only that, allowing permissions means they keep running in the background which also consumes memory and sometimes turn the device slow.
So, it is better to check for apps permissions that does not need your location. Turning them off will be a good step to protect your privacy online on Mac devices.
Keep Your Software, OS And Browsers Up-To-Date
At times, we keep on avoiding the system warning asking for updates. Yes this happens to all of us. But lets face it we should not do it. As the updates comes to patch any vulnerability, flaws and new enhancements for the device. So happens with the software, apps and browsers. As hackers always keen on exploiting the system flaws to breach in and compromise it for their own motive.
So, to ensure protection keep your browsers, OS and other installed applications up-to-date.
Scan Your Device For Viruses To Keep It Safe
We often discuss it in our various articles, about the need of anti-virus protection for Mac OS. As they are new targets for the bad actors. Sometimes viruses may not give you any sign of their presence. In such a case, if your system does not any anti-virus running, then you may have lose your personal data.
Thus, it is the most important necessary step to protect your privacy in Mac both online and offline.
These are some basic yet effective online safety practices one should follow to Protect Your Privacy Online On Mac OS or any other platforms.
Let us know, if we have missed any point, or share with us what you do protect your privacy online on Mac OS.