Macs are known for being some of the most secure machines on the market, but you need to know how to handle them correctly to take full advantage of their potential. Some of their privacy and security settings aren't turned on by default or could have been accidentally disabled, so you need to know what to do to keep yourself as safe as possible. So, without any further ado, here are a few Mac security tricks that some of you might not know about:
Apple's latest operating systems automatically enable the FileVault utility, which encrypts the contents of your drive, hiding them from those who don't have the right password. However, the system isn't perfect as people can still login using a memory stick and cause you harm by deleting you entire disk. To prevent this from happening, the best solution is to go to the Recovery Console by pressing Command + R while the operating system is in its loading screen, then using the Utilities menu to enable the Firmware Password. Once this is done, whenever your Mac is being booted from an unknown device, a password will be required.
When it comes to sharing, Macs have a lot of options that could be useful for those who work in an office with multiple machines, but which represent a security threat to all the other users. To keep yourself safe, just go to System Preferences --> Sharing and remove the check marks for the options that you're not actively using. For most people, Internet sharing and Bluetooth sharing are the only boxes that might be helpful when ticked.
The applications that you install on your Mac, just like the ones that you install on your phone, request specific permissions, which don't always check out. It is highly recommended that you check the Privacy tab in the Security & Privacy menu at least from time to time. Just look through the lists and if you see anything suspicious use a search engine to decide if the program is entitled to the requested access or not.
This may seem bizarre, but in my experience, I've noticed that the firewall isn't always enabled by default on Mac operating systems. Since the firewall has a crucial role in protecting users from rogue connections, I recommend turning it on: go to System Preferences --> Security & Privacy --> Firewall and click the Turn On Firewall button (in case it's not already enabled). Use the Firewall Options to customize which connections are being blocked; if you don't have a lot of experience with this, I recommend checking the boxes that allow incoming connections to built-in software as well as to downloaded signed software and leaving the rest as it is.
Enabling the Guest user is usually a security risk, but it if you fear that your Mac might be stolen or if you travel a lot and there's a risk that you might lose your MacBook, then having it on might be beneficial. If you only have a password-protected account, whoever finds or steals your machine is forced to reset it in order to use it. However, if a Guest user is available, they could log into it, allowing you to locate the device with the Find my Mac service as soon as they connect to the Internet. If you're interested, first go to System Preferences --> Users and Groups and enable the Guest account, then go to System Preferences --> iCloud and tick the Find My Mac box.
Of course, these aren't the only security tricks available, but just a few standard ones that could benefit most Mac users. Furthermore, don't forget that you also need to protect your machine from malware, so I recommend investing in a reliable antivirus program for Mac.