Configuring a personnally owned Mac

One question Cyber Security frequently hears from students is something along the lines of "I just bought a new Mac laptop.  What do I do next?"

Here are four simple steps you can take to secure your new Mac:

  1. Turn on the firewall -- Go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, Firewall and activate the host-based firewall
  2. Turn on encryption -- Go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, FileVault, and activate FileVault.  Make sure you write down and keep the master key someone safe.
  3. Start Screen Saver and require a password -- Go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, General and set the system to require a password in sleep or screen saver, then go to System Preferences, Desktop & Screen Saver, Screen Saver and set the screen saver to start after 20 or less.
  4. Backup -- You can use an external hard drive with Time Machine (which is built in to Mac OS X) or if you want to backup your files online, you can purchase a service such as CrashPlan, which offers a student discount via

We do not currently recommend any antivirus products for your Mac other than XProtect and GateKeeper, both of which are built into Mac OS X and are enabled by default.