Basic MacBook Security Measures - dummies

By Mark L. Chambers

Of course, your MacBook is a high-dollar (and highly portable) electronic device, making it a prime target for theft. Don’t forget, however, that with a few simple steps, you can also secure the data on your MacBook — both the data displayed on your screen and the information stored in your laptop’s hard drive!

Use passwords to protect your MacBook

This is security at its most basic. Without a strong login password and screen saver password, your MacBook is essentially a sitting duck — and not just to those thieves who would steal your laptop but also to those casual sets of prying eyes that can read an inopportune e-mail or see too much of a private company spreadsheet.

With login and screen saver passwords in place and FileVault security turned on, you may still lose your MacBook to outright theft, but your personal information and your data will likely never be compromised!

Screen saver hot corners equal instant privacy on your MacBook

Tucked away in the Desktop & Screen Saver pane in System Preferences is the Hot Corners button, which lets you specify a corner of the screen that will immediately activate your screen saver. Using the Hot Corners feature means that just a quick swipe of the finger to the selected corner of your trackpad brings instant security from prying eyes, no matter what application you’re using.

Buy a security cable and use it for your MacBook

Common-sense rules apply to your MacBook: Buy a security cable and use it to keep your laptop safe from theft. Unlike using a bike chain, you don’t have to search for a bike rack to lock down your MacBook. (Of course, if someone’s around that you can trust to monitor your laptop, your cable can remain in your backpack. But as long as you’re prepared, you’ll never have to leave your MacBook unsecured!)

Avoid the obvious laptop case for your MacBook

Sure, using a laptop case or bag sounds like common sense — but MacBooks are so doggone sexy that you’d be surprised how many people carry them around without any protection at all. These Mac owners hear phrases like “rugged aluminum unibody” and “Solid-state hard drive with no moving parts” and figure that their laptop can tackle a construction site, a college campus, or a hotel room with impunity.

Part of that is indeed true. Mac laptops are some of the toughest laptops ever made, but they’re not immune to bumps, scratches, and the rare fall. But if you carry your MacBook from place to place without any protection, it’ll soon look like a boxer after a bad fight.

Many folks think that a traditional laptop bag draws too much attention. (That’s one reason no one totes an obvious 15 x 7 bag with a hardware manufacturer’s logo emblazoned on the side these days.)

If you’re a member of this group, consider a well-padded laptop sleeve that will allow you to carry your MacBook in your backpack or briefcase; the laptop always goes in on top of those heavy books, of course. Remember, though, that the padding is the important thing. Without that extra cushion, you might as well just toss your unprotected laptop in with the rest of your books and must-have equipment.