April 3, 2014 No Comments-
In the seven years that I’ve owned an Apple Macbook, I’ve managed to avoid malware by keeping my computer up-to-date and by developing good internet browsing habits. Despite this success, however, I’ve not been immune from every threat – in fact, I’ve been the victim of a €500 internet fraud and had my passwords stolen.
Despite the mistakes, over this period I’ve learnt three things that keep my Mac malware-free, and will help me avoid any more expensive mistakes.
Malware is always an issue
It’s easy to think that because you’re using a Mac, you’ll be safe from malware – but this isn’t true. Statistically, you may be a lot more secure than a typical PC user, but the truth is that without an anti-virus, you’re gambling with your own safety.
I think it’s best to play it safe, so I ensure that my Mac’s anti-virus software is up-to-date at all times.
The other benefit of having an anti-virus scanner on your Mac is that it detects infections from files shared with you by friends. This means that you can warn them if they send you a malware-ridden file, and you can be certain you won’t pass on the virus yourself.
Your password is paramount
Whether you’re on a Mac or a PC, you still need to create strong passwords. There’s nothing on your computer that can protect you if you use insecure passwords on the internet.
Some people suggest using a combination of capital letters, numbers and symbols, but I prefer to use four unrelated words to make an exceptionally long password. Something like LemonAstronautChickenDuck is easier to remember than a password like p@s5w0rd4%$, and actually more secure.
When my password was stolen, I’d used a different one for every account, so the hackers couldn’t access any more of my important information using that one password. This is a vitally important computer habit that everyone should develop.
If it’s too good to be true, it is
I fell victim to a fraudulent website once. It looked legitimate, offered products at 10% cheaper than everywhere else. I spent €500 buying computer equipment for my home office, using PayPal to send the money. Unfortunately, the website was a scam – and PayPal refused to refund me my money.
The message here is that if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. Both on the scam website and on PayPal’s system, which offered to protect my transaction – but only if it happened over eBay. As a side note, using your credit card to purchase online is still the safest way to shop, as most credit cards offer fraud protection.
Hopefully these three tips will remind you that even though Apple’s computers are great, it’s up to you to take care of them.