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How to use your Mac safely in public places



Coffee bars all over the world are filled with serious Apple Mac wielding remote and / or freelance workers – but are they taking steps to protect themselves in a public place? Follow this checklist to make sure you are protected.

12 ways to use your Mac safely in public places

1. Worried about Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi networks are dangerous places, not least because you do not know how the network is set up or who is on the same network with you.

Criminals are known to set up legitimate apparent hotspots that their software is wondering about, attempting to capture data (including bank and intranet pass codes) in transit. Please note:

  • Do: Make sure the network you access is really the network that belongs to the place you are in ̵
    1; just because someone has called their network Coffee Bean Net doesn't mean it's the Network which officially belongs to the store.
  • Not: Access your financial, personal, confidential or medical records of unsecured public Wi-Fi – you better set up your own iPhone hotspot and use it when opening services like that in a public place.
  • Do: Delete free networks from your Mac after using them. Your Mac cannot determine if a network you are accessing is the real network and will only go by name.

2. Use a VPN

If you use a VPN from a reputable company, you can make yourself much safer when working in that coffee shop next to your gig economy friends.

I do not recommend using a free service, as they may suffer from poor performance and some are uncertain, more reputable services include NordVPN, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN, as explained here. These things create secure and encrypted tunnels for the VPN provider, which means you can continue to work on what you are working on in relative security, even on a public network.

3. Turn on the Firewall

Firewalls attempt to prevent unauthorized persons or software from accessing your Mac if they happen to be on the same network. Apple has built-in protection against this in the form of the MacOS firewall. This should be on by default, but you should check:


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