The hearing on whether or not Apple should be forced to make a special version of iOS so the FBI can hack into an iPhone may be on hold, but that doesn't mean the personal data we want to keep private is safe. The fight to punch holes through our privacy is still gaining steam, and it reaches beyond the encrypted data on our iPhones out to our computers, too. There are ways to help protect your personal data on your Mac so the government, criminals, or even just nosey friends can't see what isn't any of their business. Check out The Mac Observer's list of tips on making your Mac—and your personal data—more secure.
Five ways to help secure your Mac's data
Require a Password to use your Mac
A password is your first line of defense for keeping files, photos, and everything else that's important on your Mac safe. Without one, everything on your computer is at the mercy of anyone who happens to sit down in front of your display and keyboard.
Requiring passwords to log into accounts on your Mac isn't a total fix for keeping your files safe, but it does make the bad guys work a little harder to see your personal data. Here's how set up your Mac so you'll need your password every time you boot up:
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences
- Click Users & Groups
- Choose Login Options
- Set Automatic login to Off
- Set Display login window as to Name and password
Disable automatic login to keep nosey people out of your files and apps
Turning off Automatic login forces anyone trying to use your Mac to enter your password. Setting the login window to show the name and password fields means anyone logging in needs to know both pieces of information, meaning your user account name and password, before they can get to your Desktop.
Needing to know both your user name and password dramatically cuts down on the likelihood someone will be able to guess your login. Melissa Holt has an awesome tip on customizing your Mac's login options.
No Easy-to-Guess Passcodes
"Password" is a horrible password, as is "123456." Don't use common passwords for your Mac login, or passwords you think people can easily guess. The trick is to find the balance between complexity and something you can remember.
There's a great list of the 10,000 most common passwords at passwordrandom.com you can check out to see what not to use.
Next up: Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt