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How To Video: Six tips to keep your Mac safe in a post-Flashback world

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How To Video: Six tips to keep your Mac safe in a post-Flashback world

3:13 /

Flashback was a wake-up call for many people to start thinking about Mac security. Here are six simple tips on how to be your own gatekeeper on your Mac.

Whether you're a longtime Mac owner or new to the big Apple, it's time to beef up your Mac's security. I am Seth Rosenblatt and today I've got six commonsense tips on how to safeguard your Mac against the rising tide of malware. Step one, get a security suite. Yes, you can stop rolling your eyes now. Running a security program is just commonsense. Good free and paid options include Avast, Sophos, ClamXav, Kaspersky and Intego. If you absolutely refuse to install the suite at the very least, use a browser tool that will check links to make sure they're safe before you load them. The free AVG Link Scanner is a good place to start. Step two, lock down admin privileges. The default account that you create on your Mac is an administrator account which can be leveraged by the bad guys to infect your machine. Simple solution, create a non-admin account for daily use such as e-mail, browsing and music and video watching. Jump over to admin when it's necessary. Step three, stay on top of software updates. Make sure that you let software update to do it's job. Programs are rarely updated on the whim so make sure that you've got the latest version because they may contain security fixes. This includes the latest security patches from software makers and Apple itself. Step four, ditch Adobe Reader if you can. Adobe has been notoriously slow in the past about patching security holes in Reader. They've gotten somewhat better but why risk it when previewing Snow Leopard and Lion can handle the basic PDF reading requirements. If you must keep Adobe Reader around, make sure that it's always updated to the latest version. Step five, get rid of Java and Flash. You can disable Java by going to the Applications Folder then Utilities and unchecking the Java version boxes under the general tab. Be warned, killing Flash and still enjoying the modern web means switching to Google Chrome for your main browser because it's the only browser that comes with Flash built-in. Chrome updates regularly and the browser has earned it's reputation alongside Firefox as a safe browser that patches security problems when discovered. Step six, take control of your passwords. Unlike Microsoft, Apple helpfully provides a solid password manager called Keychain. As often as possible, use strong passwords. This means random multi-word passwords separated by spaces. If you want to get password synching for multiple device and machine support, use one password or last pass. People can and do run Macs without paying attention to security but as we have seen over the past year, attacks centered on Macs are almost certainly going to increase. These tips will help you stay ahead of the bad guys. For CNET, I am Seth Rosenblatt.

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