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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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          how to prevent mac from being hacked 10 Ways To Prevent Your Mac From Being Hacked

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          Published on October 9, 2018

          Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

          Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

          Note-taking is useful in helping improve your memory and increase your productivity at work. By writing down notes, you have something tangible you can refer back to, remember what needs to be done, and regain control of your work throughout the day.

          There are thousands of different note-taking apps you can use on your desktop or mobile device. The two most popular are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote because they are incredibly efficient and effective that each has a following of extremely loyal users and advocates.

          So if it comes to Evernote vs OneNote, how do they improve productivity?

          An overview of Evernote and OneNote

          First, an introduction to the two platforms. Evernote is an app that lets you store content, take down notes, write lists, and organize all of them. While these are stored in Notebooks, the whole concept behind this productivity app is more like a Universal Inbox where you can save everything you’ve collected so you can quickly find it when you need them through the use of tags.

          Microsoft’s OneNote, on the other hand, works very much like a digital version of the notebooks you used to carry around in school. Aside from storing all your notes and different types of content you’ve collected, you can also organize them into sections, pages, and containers.

          Each of these apps offers their users a host of features to help them improve their productivity and memory. Also, because no app is perfect, each also has their strengths and limitations.

          To get a better idea of which app will be your best choice, we’ll be comparing the two based on three key features most used by their users: collecting information, note-taking, and mobility.

          Collecting information

          Both the OneNote and Evernote come with their own web clipper extension that allows you to quickly collect and store information from different websites as you find them.

          Both give you the option to choose whether you’d like to save the entire web page as is, a simplified version without the ads, or just a section of the page. You can also add some notes before saving them to make it easier for you to remember why you “clipped” that particular resource.

          Since OneNote gives you more structure to organize your content, its web clipper allows you to choose not just which notebook to save the details, but also what section within the notebook.

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            Source: OneNote.com

            Evernote gives you the option to add tags to your web clippings before you save it, so it’s easier for you to search for it later.

            Premium users get access to Evernote’s Related Results feature located in its Options section. When you search on Google, Evernote will launch a secondary search that will show all the notes related to the keyword you used in searching for information.

              Source: Zapier.com

              This feature, according to Jeremy Skillings, President of Youcanbefound.com, is beneficial because it lets you know what information you already have stored in your notes.

              “In some cases whenever I do my research, I find out through this feature that I already have the exact information I need stored in my Evernote account. That alone cuts back a significant amount of the time I spend on projects.”

              Note-taking

              Both of these productivity apps allow you to create and format your notes to create rich documents. Among these features include changing the font size and color, adding tables, and inserting media files.

              Evernote’s note-taking features are very similar to a Word document in that it’s very structured concerning how you input your notes.

                Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbert of RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

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                While he enjoyed the features, his personal experience with using it in the field revealed that the formatting features,“mean that if you need to change parts of your notes around, it can get tedious”. He continued, “the formatting features are quite finicky, so you may need a bit of patience to get the end results you are looking for.”

                Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbertof RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

                Structuring your notes properly from the get-go can have an effect on your productivity. A blank slate can sometimes be puzzling. Evernote allows the ability to use battle-tested templates and workflows that save you time. They can provide inspiration and structure on what’s possible.

                On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way notes are created. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way you create your notes. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                  Source: Lifehacker

                  Also, it gives you the option to create Templates that you can use to layout your page properly, so all you’ll need to do is to fill in the information.

                    Source: MakeUseOf

                    This is a particularly handy feature that stood out to many of the people who shared their love of OneNote with me. Steve Lionais, longtime user and Co-Founder & CEO of Dr-Bill.ca, claims that this feature helped him build his business by affecting his memory in a powerful and helpful way.

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                    “This [feature] is what makes OneNote great memory retention app,” he said of the templates. “I find that I remember things more when they are arranged in a certain way. OneNote allowed me to do that for my meeting and presentation notes, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the next point!”

                    However, what really makes OneNote the winner of this round is its ability to allow you to embed media files from other sources like Youtube. In addition to including the link, OneNote launches a media player, allowing you to watch the video or listen to the audio file directly from the page where you saved it.

                      Source: Windows Central

                      Mobility

                      Evernote and OneNote can be used both on desktops and mobile devices. At the same time, they provide their users with the ability to sync the content from one device to the other.

                      Judging which of the two productivity apps is best here is quite tricky because it greatly depends on several factors. One of these is the operating software you use.

                      Many of the power users we asked were using iOS, and that put some points toward Evernote. Greg Reese of AmeriEstate.com found himself frequently using the built-in camera option (and other iOS integrations) to manage his daily duties as President.

                        Evernote’s camera also integrates with Post-It, Moleskin notebook pages, and business cards. When you take a photo of any of these, the camera will capture the information and format this for Evernote so that it’s quick to find it when you search.

                        OneNote, on the other hand, dominates the Android environment. In addition to the app, Android users will also find a OneNote floating badge on the side of the home screen. So you can take notes on the go very quickly.

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                          Source: MS Power User

                          Another factor to consider is the cloud storage you use. For you to sync OneNote across different devices, you’ll need to first set up an account with OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

                          “This is something that Evernote users like me don’t have to worry about,” according to Matt Willens, Head Attorney for Willens Law Offices. “Whether you use a free account or one of their paid plans, you can immediately sync your devices without having to get a separate cloud storage account.”

                          The drawback here is the amount of storage and number of devices that you can sync. Free users are only given 60MB of storage space and can sync up to two devices. If you need more storage space, you’ll have to get the paid plans.

                          Which app is better for improving memory and productivity?

                          The honest—and most straightforward—answer is:

                          It depends on you.

                          While Evernote and OneNote have their strengths and weaknesses, how well it will help improve productivity and memory greatly depends on what works best for you.

                          If you find that you’re able to work best and remember things more using visual cues, OneNote will be the best productivity app to use. However, if you consider the speed and ease of finding the information you need as your top priority, Evernote will be your best option.

                          Since both productivity apps have free versions, you can give both a try and see where you’re most comfortable. In the end, the right productivity app to use is one that complements the way you work and do things rather than dictating to you how you should get them done.

                          Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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