There is a serious misconception about the unwavering macOS immunity against malware and viruses. Apple devices are more resistant to malicious apps, worms, and trojans compared to an average PC. However, you need Internet protection for MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac computers as well. How often do you scan your Mac computer for viruses? How thoroughly do you check OS X privacy settings? Have you ever set Gatekeeper scan options? If you can’t provide positive and consistent answer to at least one of these questions, this in-depth guide on Mac Internet security is a godsend for you! Read on to learn all the ins & outs of Internet protection for Mac.

Discover Internet Protection Software on Mac OS High Sierra

Apple computers come packed with the best security technology. The onboard Internet protection in macOS High Sierra is geared to permanently monitor the state of your device. Apart from that, it encrypts user data, safeguards online privacy, and ensures timely software updates. There is no better option for keeping your Mac in good health. Read on to learn about Internet protection solutions offered by macOS High Sierra.

Should You Use a Third-Party Antivirus on Your Mac?

As a rule, in-built macOS Internet security is enough to keep your Mac safe. However, in some cases, users have to use free or paid third-party antivirus software. Apps like this have extensive databases to help you deal with specific viruses or malware that somehow bypass protection. A typical set of features offered by third-party antiviruses may include:

  • Antimalware and virus security;
  • Protection from phishing and spyware;
  • Ransomware attacks prevention;
  • Adware detection and removal;
  • Background system monitoring;

How Can Gatekeeper Protect Your Mac?

Performing timely software updates on your precious Mac is the best way to keep it safe from threats. macOS checks for the latest updates on a daily basis and notifies users each time new updates are available. All it takes is one click to accept the updates and launch the automatic download. This way, Mac users can be sure they have the safest software version.

Mac App Store is the go-to place to download software. Every application submitted to the App Store has to pass a check before it becomes available to users. If something goes wrong, Apple removes this software right away to prevent any harm. If for some reason users choose to download third-party software from an untrustworthy source, they can jeopardize their Mac.

To protect your Mac from uploading and installing viruses or malware, macOS has a built-in Gatekeeper application. Whenever you download third-party software, Gatekeeper aborts the installation to protect your Apple computer. To change settings for Gatekeeper and other Internet security components on your Mac, go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy. By default, Gatekeeper allows two options to download and install applications from:

  • Both the Mac App Store and third-party vendors signed with an Apple ID.
  • The Mac App Store only.

Gatekeeper blocks applications without an Apple ID from being installed and alerts users of potential security threats. In case a particular app comes from a trusted third-party developer, it is possible to revoke Gatekeeper settings using
sudo spctl –master-disable command.

gatekeeper settings

How Can FileVault 2 Protect Your Data?

FileVault 2 is a powerful built-in application for data encryption. It keeps all your data secure from third-party intrusion. FileVault 2 uses XTS-AES 128 encryption algorithm to protect not only internal data but also the data located on external drives. With its help, you can also safeguard the Time Machine backups. It is possible to remove the data from your Mac with FileVault 2 securely. Owing to ‘Instant wipe’ encryption keys are purged from your Mac and make user data completely unobtainable. The data purge then follows.

Safari Security Settings

The latest Apple Safari 11 browser is known for being on guard of user privacy. It not only allows private browsing activities but also has a range of other useful features. In Mac OSX, Safari System Preferences settings enable extensive privacy control to restrict location sharing. It also allows incognito browsing sessions, cookie blocking, cross-site tracking prevention, etc. Let’s take a closer look at the main security settings in Safari.

safari security

  • Password Generator

It is common knowledge that long passwords using a variety of symbols, uppercase letters, and numbers are the safest. Safari has a Password Generator feature to create secure passwords for your online accounts. iCloud Keychain in macOS stores all usernames and passwords, and makes them available on all pre-specified Apple devices. It is 100% safe owing to 256-bit AES encryption. iCloud Keychain autocompletes the necessary login data for every website you visited before. Moreover, it can fill in credit card information for making online payments. Go to Safari > Preferences > Passwords to change password settings.

  • Sandboxing

App Sandbox is a macOS solution to help users control and block the activities of other apps. If Safari detects malicious activities during a browsing session, the apps are isolated from crucial system components and user data. By default, Safari sandboxes the inbuilt PDF viewer and plug-ins like QuickTime, Adobe Flash Player, Silverlight, and Oracle Java. Go to Safari > Preferences > Security to change security settings.

  • Antiphishing Security

Phishing is an attempt to get sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and credit card details for malicious reasons. Internet thieves create fake websites looking similar to legitimate resources like social networks, or corporate websites. The idea is to get users visit a suspicious site to hijack sensitive information they enter to authorize or make a payment. Safari’s antiphishing technology protects Mac users by timely detecting the fraudulent sites. Safari blocks a suspicious webpage and displays a warning.

  • Cookie-handling

Browser cookies are small pieces of information stored on a computer to help websites identify a particular user. Cookies contain login information, user preferences, etc. By default, Safari stores cookies only from visited web pages. This way, advertisers cannot store data on your Mac and use the information about user’s browsing activities. Go to Safari > Preferences > Privacy to make Safari accept or block cookies and other information.

In Conclusion

macOS High Sierra provides Mac users with a selection of Internet security features. As a rule, they are more than enough to protect users browsing activities and avoid malware and viruses. In case, your Mac gets infected with malicious software, there is an option to use a third-party antivirus. It is strongly recommended to use third-party applications provided by trusted vendors only!