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10 Ways To Prevent Your Mac From Being Hacked

10 Ways To Prevent Your Mac From Being Hacked

Information protection is now scrutinized in all commercial and government industries. Theft of information has crippled many organizations and businesses. One of the main reasons information is lost, corrupt, or stolen is because many industries have not fully adopted it as a risk, and have yet to implement strong quality assurance policies and programs.

Some of the most common risks are because of unattended computers, weak passwords, and poor information management practices. Hackers look for the weakest target and tunnel into a business from easy sources, like tablets or cell phones.Using smart encryption software can remediate this threat and vulnerability, making it difficult for competitors or rookie hackers to penetrate your device. However, software alone is not enough to prevent Macs from being hacked. It is the Mac user who has the authority and resources to save it from potential penetration. The top 10 ways to prevent your Mac from being hacked is discussed below. Following all these tips will surely make your Mac hack-resistant. As a word of caution, before starting on the below processes, be sure to back-up your system first.

1. Don’t Surf or Read Mail Using the Administrator Account

Create a non-administrator user in the Accounts pane of System Preferences and use this account for everyday tasks. Only log in with an administrator account when you need to perform system administration tasks.

2. Use Software Update

Regularly applying system updates is extremely important.

For Internet-connected systems: Open the Software Update pane in System Preferences. Ensure that “Check for Updates” is enabled, and set it to “Daily” (or the most frequent setting). There is a command line version available as well, called Software Update. Read its main-page for more details.

Apple-Download-Page

    For systems not connected to the Internet: Retrieve updates regularly from www.apple.com/support/downloads. Be sure to verify that the SHA-1 digest of any download matches the digest published there, using the following command: /usr/bin/openssl sha1 download.dmg

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    3. Account Settings

    You want to disable Automatic Login. To do this, open the Accounts pane in System Preferences. Click on “Login Options.” Set “Automatic login” to “Off.” Set “Display login window as” to “Name and password.”

    To disable Guest Account and Sharing, select the Guest Account and then disable it by unchecking “Allow Guest to log in to this computer.” Also, uncheck “Allow guests to connect to shared folders.”

    4. Secure Users’ Home Folder Permissions

    To prevent users and guests from perusing other users’ home folders, run the following command for each home folder: sudo chmod go-rx /Users/username

    5. Firmware Password

    Set a firmware password that will prevent unauthorized users from changing the boot device or making other changes. Apple provides detailed instructions for Leopard (which apply to Snow Leopard) here:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1352

    6. Disable IPv6 and AirPort when Not Needed

    Open the Network pane in System Preferences. For every network interface listed:

    • If it is an AirPort interface but AirPort is not required, click “Turn AirPort off.”
    • Click “Advanced.” Click on the TCP/IP tab and set “Configure IPv6:” to “Off” if not needed. If it is an AirPort interface, click on the AirPort tab and enable “Disconnect when logging out.”

    7. Disable Unnecessary Services

    The following services can be found in /System/Library/LaunchDaemons. Unless needed for the purpose shown in the second column, disable each service using the command below, which needs the full path specified: sudo launchctl unload -w System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.blued.plist

    • com.apple.blued.plist – Bluetooth
    • com.apple.IIDCAssistant.plist – iSight
    • com.apple.nis.ypbind.plist – NIS
    • com.apple.racoon.plist – VPN
    • com.apple.RemoteDesktop.PrivilegeProxy.plist – ARD
    • com.apple.RFBEventHelper.plist – ARD
    • com.apple.UserNotificationCenter.plist – User notifications –
    • com.apple.webdavfs_load_kext.plist – WebDAV –
    • org.postfix.master – email server

    Other Services Can be found here: /System/Library/LaunchAgents and can be disabled the same exact way as the items listed above.

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    8. Disable Setuid and Setgid Binaries

    Setuid programs run with the privileges of the file’s owner (which is often root), no matter which user executes them. Bugs in these programs can allow privilege escalation attacks.

    To find setuid and setgid programs, use the commands:

    • find / -perm -04000 -ls
    • find / -perm -02000 -ls

    After identifying setuid and setgid binaries, disable setuid and setgid bits (using chmod ug-s programname) on those that are not needed for system or mission operations. The following files should have their setuid or setgid bits disabled unless required. The programs can always have their setuid or setgid bits re-enabled later, if necessary.

    • /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/ARDAgent – Apple Remote Desktop
    • /System/Library/Printers/IOMs/LPRIOM.plugin/Contents/MacOS/LPRIOMHelper – Printing
    • /sbin/mount_nfs – NFS
    • /usr/bin/at – Job Scheduler
    • /usr/bin/atq- Job Scheduler
    • /usr/bin/atrm – Job Scheduler
    • /usr/bin/chpass – Change user info
    • /usr/bin/crontab – Job Scheduler
    • /usr/bin/ipcs – IPC statistics
    • /usr/bin/newgrp – Change Group
    • /usr/bin/postdrop – Postfix Mail
    • /usr/bin/postqueue – Postfix Mail
    • /usr/bin/procmail – Mail Processor
    • /usr/bin/wall – User Messaging
    • /usr/bin/write – User Messaging
    • /bin/rcp – Remote Access (Insecure)
    • /usr/bin/rlogin – /usr/bin/rsh
    • /usr/lib/sa/sadc – System Activity Reporting
    • /usr/sbin/scselect – User-selectable Network Location
    • /usr/sbin/traceroute – Trace Network
    • /usr/sbin/traceroute6 – Trace Network

    9. Configure and Use Both Firewalls

    The Mac system includes two firewalls: the IPFW Packet-Filtering Firewall, and the new Application Firewall. The Application Firewall limits which programs are allowed to receive incoming connections. It is quite easy to configure the Application Firewall. Below, I mention how to configure Mac’s Application firewall. Configuring the IPFW Firewall requires more technical expertise and cannot be fully described here. It involves creating a file with manually written rules (traditionally, /etc/ipfw.conf), and also adding a plist file to /Library/LaunchDaemons to make the system read those rules at boot. These rules depend heavily on the network environment and the system’s role in it.

    How to Configure Application Firewall in Mac

    In only Four steps you can easily configure the Application Firewall in Mac.

    1. Select System Preferences from the Apple Menu

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    how to prevent mac from being hacked

      2. From the System Preferences Pane select Security. Then click on the Firewall Tab. Ignore the other Tabs (General and Firevault ).
      3. On the Firewall tab, you may need to unlock the pane, if it is locked. To unlock, click on the small pad lock on lower left corner and enter your Administrator Username and Password.

      how to prevent mac from being hacked

        4. Click Start to enable Mac’s Application Firewall. The green light beside Firewall Status and the ON notification will ensure that the Firewall is running smoothly.

        You can further customize the Firewall configuration by clicking on the Advance button on the right side.

        There are three Advance option in the Firewall Tab

        1. Block All Incoming Connections: Blocking all incoming connections will disable most of the sharing services like File Sharing, Screen Sharing and others. It will only allow basic internet service. Keeping it checked or unchecked depends with on the user.

        how to prevent mac from being hacked

          2. Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections:I prefer to keep this option unchecked. This will automatically add software signed by “any” valid authority to the allowed list of Software rather than prompting the users to authorize them.

          3. Enable stealth mode: I always keep this option checked. This prevent your Mac from responding to ping requests and port scans

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          10. Safari Preferences

          Safari will automatically open some files by default. This behavior could be leveraged to perform attacks. To disable, uncheck “Open safe files after downloading” in the General tab. Unless specifically required, Safari’s Java should be disabled to reduce the browser’s attack surface. On the Security tab, uncheck “Enable Java.”Also, private browsing in Safari is a great way to stop hackers from picking up bread crumbs and using them against you later.

          Bonus Tip: Disable Bluetooth and Airport

          The best way to disable Bluetooth hardware is to have an Apple-certified technician remove it.If this is not possible, disable it at the software level by removing the following files from /System/Library/Extensions:

          IOBluetoothFamily.kext

          IOBluetoothHIDDriver.kext

          The best way to disable AirPort is to have the AirPort card physically removed from the system.If this is not possible, disable it at the software level by removing the following file from /System/Library/Extensions:

          IO80211Family.kext

          If followed carefully, the above mentioned tips can outdo a hacker’s technology to compromise your Mac. However, as technology advances, hacker use ever-more innovative ways to penetrate your Mac. If you know other ways to hack into a Mac, please share with us in the comments below!

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          Published on November 9, 2018

          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

          Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

          Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

          So, are you ready? Here we begin.

          6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

          When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

          1. Spreadsheets and Databases

          Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

          To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

          In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

          • Microsoft Excel
          • Microsoft Access
          • Statistics
          • Data Analytics
          • Adobe Campaign
          • Quickbooks
          • XML Database management system
          • Filemaker Pro
          • MATLAB
          • Hive
          • FORTRAN
          • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
          • SAS

          2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

          Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

          Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

          • Content Management System (CMS)
          • Google Analytics
          • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
          • Email Marketing
          • Web Page Design
          • WordPress
          • Digital Media
          • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
          • Campaign Management Software

          3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

          A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

          • Adobe Photoshop
          • Adobe InDesign
          • Adobe Illustrator
          • AutoCAD
          • CorelDRAW
          • Microsoft Visual Studio
          • Maya
          • Microsoft Word
          • Microsoft Publisher
          • Operating Digital Cameras

          4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

          The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

          To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

          • HTML
          • C/C++
          • Java
          • Python
          • XML
          • UI/UX
          • LINUX
          • CISC and RISC architecture
          • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
          • Memory Management
          • PCB Layout
          • SQL

          5. IT Troubleshooting

          Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

          So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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          • Backup management
          • Diagnostics
          • End User support
          • Client-Server management
          • Installation and configuration
          • Issue tracking system (ITS)
          • System administration
          • Tech support

          6. Enterprise Systems

          Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

          Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

          The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

          Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

          Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

          Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

          1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

          a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

          Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

          Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

          b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

          This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

          c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

          Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

          Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

          2. Rule the Social Media World

          a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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          Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

          From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

          b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

          This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

          c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

          Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

          Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

          3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

          a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

          From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

          b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

          Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

          The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

          c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

          The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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          4. Live and Breathe Creativity

          a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

          It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

          From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

          b. Canva Design School

          From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

          c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

          62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

          d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

          The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

          Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

          5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

          a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

          IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

          It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

          b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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          The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

          Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

          The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

          • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
          • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
          • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
          • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
          • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
          • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
          • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

          Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

          Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

          1. Practice, Practice, Practice

          It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

          Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

          2. Work on Your Efficiency

          Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

          For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

          3. Look for Shortcuts

          Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

          4. Apply for an Internship

          Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

          By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

          How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

          The Bottom Line

          Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

          So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

          Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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