Mac OS X Desktop Security

Mac OS X Desktop Security

This site contains links, tips, and tricks to protect your personal Apple Macintosh system (suitable for students and home computers). Contact ITS or your departmental IT personnel for configuring and securing any university computers/resources.


Apple Macintosh Patches

Apple offers a site with the latest program and security patches. To update your Mac OS X:

  1. Go to the Apple menu
  2. Select Software Update... 

Virus Scanners

Although technically there are no viruses for Apple Macintosh computers, they are just as susceptible to Malware as their Windows PC counterparts and, they can still receive and forward Windows viruses.

To see additional virus information, confirm hoaxes, or download additional clean-up utilities, visit:

Network Firewall

Mac OS X users have a built-in firewall available. To check out the firewal settings:

  1. Go to the Apple menu
  2. Select System Preferences...
  3. Select Security
  4. Select the Firewall tab
  5. It is recommended to "Set access for specific services and applications"

To set permission on machine hosted resources, such as the personal web server, file sharing, and printer sharing:

  1. Go to the Apple menu
  2. Select System Preferences...
  3. Select Sharing

PLEASE NOTE: When you turn on your firewall, some internet applications may stop working. You may have to adjust your firewall to allow specific connections.



General Tips

Automate Your Updates

It is possible to configure Mac OS X to download updates and software patches automatically. Similarly, you should set your antivirus program to download virus updates on a regular basis.

Patch Your Software Applications

Any software application running on your machine may be vulnerable to hacking or capable of spreading viruses.  Ensure that you are downlaoding patches and updates to your office applications (i.e., Microsoft Office) and utility programs (i.e., Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Set Secure Passwords

Many people set either blank passwords or easy-to-guess passwords. Unfortunately, this makes it easier for hackers. Password protect your logon, file and printer shares, and other resources on your computer.

Stop Sharing

Mac OS X has the ability to share files and printers across the network. If this is NOT a feature you need, turn it OFF. If this feature is not secured properly, it can make your system more vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

To disable file sharing in Mac OS X:

  1. Go to the Apple menu
  2. Select System Preferences...
  3. Double-click on the Sharing folder
  4. Un-check the boxes for File Sharing and Printer Sharing
    • Please note:  You may be required to type in a password

Peer-to-peer file sharing programs, such as Bit Torrent clients, can introduce security holes even when they are not running. It is highly recommend to uninstall these programs and avoid using them.

Surf Smart

If you go looking for trouble on the Internet, you will probably find it. Be careful where you go, the links you visit, and the pop-ups that appear.  Most web browsers have pop-up blockers built in.

Shut Down

Turn off your system when it is not in use for an extended period of time. If it is off, it cannot get hacked.