Going Public with my Mac – My Five Step Security Checklist

I’m heading to Blogher this August and there are a few things I need to remember to do before I take my MacBook Pro off into public wifi networks. I thought I would share my checklist:

1. Only connect to wifi networks that are familiar

For example, if you plan on using the hotel wifi, check the name of the wifi before connecting. Hackers may have set up a similar named network, so be careful.

2. Enable the Mac’s built in firewall

    1. Open System Preferences.
    2. Under Personal, select Security & Privacy.
    3. Select the Firewall tab.
    4. Ensure the Firewall is turned ON.

3. Set your computer to require a password for sleep on screen saver

    1. Open System Preferences.
    2. Under Personal, select Security & Privacy.
    3. Select the General tab.
    4. Check Require password for sleep and screen saver and select the time interval you would want the sleep/screen saver to begin.

4. Turn off sharing

    1. Open System Preferences.
    2. Under Internet & Wireless, select Sharing.
    3. Make sure file sharing and other services are unchecked.

5. Turn off iTune’s music sharing

    1. Open iTunes.
    2. Under the iTunes menu, select Preferences.
    3. Select the Sharing tab and uncheck the sharing option.

Do you have any checklists that you use when traveling with high tech gadgets? Is there  something you would add to this list? Let me know!

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22 Responses to Going Public with my Mac – My Five Step Security Checklist

  1. This is a great list! One additional thing to consider is physical security, a lot of women will be toting MacBook Air’s & Ultrabooks which will be tempting targets for thieves. These devices also can be fragile. What methods will you use to protect & safeguard your computer while traveling, at the hotel & during the conferencce

    • Krista - The Tech Mom says:

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Yes, physical security is super important! My own approach when traveling with my Mac is to never let it out of my sight. Ever. On the airplane, I always place it under the seat in front of me. Not the overhead bin.

      If I am traveling by car, I never leave it behind when heading into a reststop. My laptop bag essentially becomes my purse. I would never leave my wallet unattended, same goes for my mac. It all comes to the restroom with me to hang on the hook behind the door. Leaving it on the floor is kind of yucky, but also someone could try and snatch it from under the stall while you are, er… mediating ;)

      If I choose to leave my laptop in my hotel room I usually can fit it into the room’s safe. I don’t own a lock, but have one on order: http://store.apple.com/us/product/TW041LL/A

      I don’t mind paying $40 for a lock if it means I can leave it out in the open of the hotel room without worry. Remember, if you take the time to use a lock, make sure to place it around an immovable object! And be sure to follow checklist #3 – password protection :)

      Safe travels for you and your laptop!

  2. Seems too obvious, but make sure it’s well backed up before leaving home. Too many people never back their computer up. (I do. burned once, never again.)

    This is a great list! Thank you!!

    • Krista - The Tech Mom says:

      Yes, thank you! I use timemachine so I don’t even think about backing up any more but you are sooo right. Heading out into the wild with your laptop, anything can happen, not just theft, but damage too.

      Thanks, Jana!

  3. This is a great list. I just got a macbook for my birthday, and I’m still learning about all its features. Now it will be safer when I take it to BlogHer! Thanks!!

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    I’m getting tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

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