How I keep my Mac safe and clean

With the recent news about the Flashback trojan on the Mac platform, I thought I’d give you a look into how I keep the Macs in my family safe.

Step 1

The first step to keeping your Mac safe is NOT INSTALLING FLASH!!  Adobe Flash is a security nightmare.  The open ports and multiple callbacks are a hackers dream.  If you want to view flash enabled webpages, download the Google Chrome web browser.  It comes with flash built in and is updated frequently.

Step 2

The second step to keeping your Mac safe is NOT INSTALLING ADOBE READER!!.  Adobe is terrible at acknowledging/patching security holes.  Macs come with Preview built in.  It’s fine for reading PDFs.  If you’d rather not use either, Google docs is PERFECT for reading PDFs online in any browser.

Step 3

Get a few programs to help you!

Here are the programs I regularly use to keep my mac safe:

  • CCleaner – Free – (from the Mac App Store)
    • This app cleans all sorts of things: temporary files, browser caches, cookies, application caches, etc.
    • Deleting these files speeds up performance, and frees up space
    • Use this to accidentally downloaded files that may be accessing your system
  • iBoostUP – Free – (from the Mac App Store)
    • Does much of the things the CCleaner does
    • Searches for resource hogs
    • ARP Poisoning protection
    • Duplicate File Finder
  • Battery Health – Free – (from the Mac App Store)
    • Cool app to show you the battery health in you Macbook
  • ClamX AV – Free –  (from the Mac App Store)
    • Manual Virus Scanner
    • Daily Virus definition updates
  • Little Snitch – $29.95 – (from obdev.at)
    • An awesome reverse firewall for the Mac
    • Typical firewalls say “this and this can get in”
    • This is a firewall that shows you what connections YOU are making to the outside
    • An infected computer is typically infected then begins spreading the infection outside, Little Snitch would notify me if I made any network connections to the outside world and let me block them.
  • Sophos Antivirus – Free – (from sophos.com)
    • Full protection for the Mac
    • Live scanning
    • Can be a bit resource intensive, but definitely the most in-depth free security suite for the Mac.
  • 1Password – $49.99 – (from the Mac App Store)
    • Pretty much my favorite app.
    • This is a password vault on crack.  It stores your passwords for everything, but can also log in automatically for you as well.
    • Secure Password Generator.
    • No need to save passwords/form fields in an unsecured browser.
    • All of your passwords are saved in 1password, and you can use it with any browser on any computer
    • iPhone/iPad apps are awesome too.
    • Uses 128-bit encryption.
    • With this app, I actually don’t know the logins to many of my accounts because they’re all like 20 character randomly generated strings.  1Password remembers them so I don’t have to.

I typically run anti-virus scans once every two weeks and “clean up” scans once a week.


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