PHYSICAL SECURITY

We’ve covered all our bases in terms of data security, but what about the physical security of our machine? What happens if we lose it, misplace it, or it gets stolen? Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to combat these scenarios, as well. Let’s take a look at the options.

LOCK IT UP

Most all Macs include what’s known as a «Kensington Lock» port. This security port allows you to lock down your Mac using a simple cable that’s similar to a bicycle lock. You can get very fancy locks with all kinds of bells and whistles, but simple combination or key-access locks work just fine.

To lock your Mac down, just insert the lock into the lock port, then follow the instructions for closing the lock. Most locks feature long cables that will need to be wrapped around a sturdy surface (such as a table leg), making it difficult for a thief to easily untether your Mac and walk away with it.

HARDWARE PASSWORDS FOR MAC

We’ve locked down the user account in OS X, encrypted the hard drive, and even encrypted the Time Machine backup from our Mac. What more could be done? Well, there is one other area that is still vulnerable to a physical theft: the thief could erase the hard drive, leaving them with a shiny new Mac.

«How can we combat this?» you might ask. Fortunately, Macs have a feature called Firmware Password Protection. This is a password that can be enabled to keep thieves from booting to another startup disk, booting into recovery mode, or even from accessing other firmware-based utilities like target disk mode.

To enable the use of a firmware password, you’ll need to boot into the Recovery partition on your Mac (or the install DVD if you have an older Mac) by pressing the Option key on boot. Once you see the «Recovery HD» partition listed (or your Install DVD), select it.

Once booted into the OS X Recovery drive (or OS X Installer), select Utilities > Firmware Password Utility. Select the button labeled «Turn On Firmware Password…» and then proceed to enter a password and verify it.

Now whenever you restart your Mac while holding down the Option key, you’ll be prompted to enter your firmware password. If you wish to disable this feature, follow these instructions again, deselecting the option to «Require password to start this computer from another source» in the Firmware Password Utility.

USING FIND MY MAC

So, you’ve lost your Mac? Well, no worries—if you have iCIoud and Find My Mac enabled in advance. To set up Find My Mac, visit System Preferences > iCIoud, and check the box labeled «Find My Mac.» If you do not have an iCIoud account, you will be prompted to create one.

If you lose your Mac (or it gets stolen), then you can go to www.icloud.com and attempt to track it. On the iCIoud website, click «Find My iPhone,» and then wait while your devices populate the listing on the left-hand side. Once your device appears, select it. If a location has been found, then it will appear on a map; otherwise you can sign up for location alerts when your Mac reports to iCIoud. In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, you’ll have options for your Mac: you can make your Mac play a sound, lock it, or erase it.

Note that Find My Mac works a little differently than Find My iPhone. If your Mac is found (or a thief tries to use it), it must actively connect to the Internet in order for iCIoud to report its location. Also, because Macs don’t have GPS, an exact location is all but impossible. However, iCIoud will do a decent job reporting the location based on the network connection your Mac is connected to.

MAKE YOUR iOS DEVICE MORE SECURE iOS device are already pretty safe from outside meddling, but it never hurts to be cautious.

Follow these steps to keep your iPhone, iPad, and iPod safe

SETTING A PASSCODE

Just like with OS X, you can lock down your iOS device, as well. To do this, visit Settings > General > Passcode Lock, and tap on the button labeled «Turn Passcode On.»

You’ll then need to specify and repeat a 4-digit passcode that will be used on the Lock Screen of iOS in order to gain access to your iOS device. This can keep a thief from using your device, or a nosy person from perusing your data. It’ll also keep your important stuff secret if you were to lose your phone or tablet.

ENABLE FIND MY iPHONE

Find My iPhone is just plain useful. There’s no reason that anyone should not have this feature enabled at all times; it makes finding your device super-easy.

To enable Find My iPhone, visit Settings > iCIoud, and turn on the switch for «Find My [iPhone/iPod/ iPad].» If you do not have an iCIoud account, you’ll be prompted to create one. Once this feature has been enabled, you can track your iOS device just like your Mac on iCIoud. corn’s Find My iPhone section.

FRAUDULENT WEBSITE WARNING

Just like Safari on the Mac, Safari for iOS includes many security features, including the fraudulent website warning feature that is available on OS X. To enable this feature, visit Settings > Safari, and turn on the switch for «Fraud Warning.»

Like OS X, iOS will periodically download a database of known fraudulent (or phishing) websites known to do harm. When you visit one of these sites in Mobile Safari, you will be warned about your action.

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