Using Public Wi-Fi? Protect Your Mac

Public internet access is a convenient feature for mobile and laptop users when they’re on-the-go — what is often forgotten is the risk that comes with using a network outside of your home or office. Having insight into the safest practices and tools for proper public Wi-Fi access is vital to protecting your data. 

While Mac devices have some malware protection pre-installed, they aren’t invincible — these resources will ensure your computer is as safe as possible, so you can enjoy Wi-Fi access wherever you are.

Securing Connections

When connecting to an outside network, use an HTTPS connection — a hypertext transfer protocol tool. This extension is designed to secure communications over a virtual network. You’ll know if you’re connected if your browser has HTTPS before the website you’re surfing. Once you’re connected to the server and are on the legitimate HTTPS site, your web browser confirms the site’s security and will verify if it was provided with a legitimate authority certification.

When you connect to an HTTPS-secured server, your web browser checks the website’s security certificate and verifies it was issued by a legitimate certificate authority.

Anti-Virus Protection

Using a shared network exposes your Mac to more malware and security risks than a private network, which makes antivirus one of the most important tools to utilize. 

Antivirus and malware removal software from a reputable company protects your computer from outside threats and shares alerts when it detects anything harmful attempting to access your data. 

Malwarebytes antivirus for Mac for example, tracks malicious attacks by studying program behavior (rather than just the signature) and also offers two-factor authentication — which helps ensure that if your Mac is hacked and your username and password are accessed, the hacker will be unable to retrieve documents. 

Importance of a VPN 

Investing in a VPN — a virtual private network — from a secure source is a key part of protecting your Mac. The best VPN service acts as a tunnel between your local network and another location often miles away. This gives off the illusion that your IP address is located elsewhere. VPNs are designed to protect your browsing history, streaming location, and internet activity.

You’ll need to do some research to find the right company, but the VPN software you choose should ultimately be able to provide you with detailed protection, so you can work or browse from that local coffee shop that you love without worrying about the safety of your data. 

Limit File-Sharing

When you’re working on a public network, it’s important to turn off any features that automatically enable file-sharing. For Mac users, this feature is found through the system preferences tool — find the airdrop tool and deselect if it’s been turned on. 

Use the Available Firewall

Your Mac laptop comes with its firewall installed, so why not take advantage of this added security? Firewalls are designed to prevent and monitor any outside attempts to connect to your system. You don’t have to worry about incoming and outgoing threats because your Mac will do it for you. For an added security measure, you have the option to select the websites and services that you trust to connect.

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