Tag Archives: os x

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Protect your Google account with security check-ups

Google securityGoogle protects your account with some of the most advanced online security. Most Google users will be unaware that Google makes it very easy for you to manage your account security settings. It’s very important that once you have setup your account security, that you review no less than monthly, to safeguard your account information even more. You can do the following on any device that supports Google.

  • Sign in to your Google account – https://myaccount.google.com/security
  • Click GET STARTED > you will be prompted for your password
  • Review your recovery phone and email. You can edit the phone number and also remove the email address.
  • Tap > Done > you will be prompted with “Recovery information checked”
  • Check your connected devices. This will list devices that connect to your Google account. Notice anything wrong?
  • Click a device for a drop down to highlight more information, such as name of device, browser type and last locations used.
  • Notice anything wrong? Click “Something looks wrong” – Google will be notified something is wrong. You can also change password or click “No thanks”.
  • Next, review the apps, websites and devices that connect to your Google account such as Google Chrome.
Posted in android, browser, google | Tagged , , , , | 0

How to manage Google device activity and notifications

Google_newGoogle provides some very useful security and privacy account management tools. The Notifications & alerts tool provides you complete control with regards which devices have accessed your Google account. You can also learn how to control how you want to receive alerts if Google thinks something suspicious might be happening.

IMPORTANT: Google allows you to view security-related activity from the past 28 days from your Notifications & alerts page.

You will need a Google account to use the Notifications & alerts page. This will allow you to be able to check your Google account for suspicious activity, alerts and activity. Suspicious activity includes checking particular actions i.e. when an app password was created; Device – did an action take place on a device you own or recognise?; Time – do you remember taking the action at the date and time listed? and, Location – do you remember accessing your account from this location?

If Google identifies suspicious activity in your account such as sign-ins from a unfamiliar device or location, you will be sent a notification. You can view your list of alerts Google sent you from the last 28 days, such as sign-ins that were blocked and from new devices. You should review these every week or month. There might be occasions when you cannot recognise a particular activity. If this happens, you should look at some reasons why activity might seem unfamiliar, but still be yours.

Posted in android, google, mobile, privacy | Tagged , , | 0

Use your Recovery Key to reclaim your Apple ID

Apple-Logo-greyIf you don’t know what or where your Apple Recovery Key is, then you should. In the event someone hacks your Apple ID which if identified by Apple automatically means your Apple account and access to iCloud will be disabled. What can you do?

Did you backup locally? If so, then you can recover your lost data. If not, your luck is out. Why?

If you haven’t enabled two-step verification on your Apple ID, then you will be unable to use your Apple Recovery Key. Two-step verification is setup so that if your credentials are lost, Apple will be unable to recover your data. Apple is unable to gain access to your encrypted data without the data you retain on your device or only you possess. This adds an extra layer of protection in the event Apple servers (databases) are hacked.

Here are scenarios you should be aware of:

  • If you lose your password, you can enter your Recovery Key and receive a message on a ‘trusted’ iOS device
  • Losing all your trusted devices means you can use your password and Recovery Key to add new ones
  • If you lost your Recovery Key, you can still login and generate a new one
Posted in apple, mobile, privacy | Tagged , | 4

Encrypt and password protect existing Mac OS X folders

mavericks_osxOne security and privacy feature of Mac OS X (includes Yosemite) that you might not know about is how to encrypt and password protect existing folders. The Disk Utility app allows you to create an encrypted disk image (and when mounted is called a “volume”) from an existing folder, thereby hiding the folder from prying eyes.

IMPORTANT: My suggestion is to use an obscure folder name when encrypting and password protecting existing folders – don’t use obvious names!

How to encrypt an existing folder:

  • Launch > Disk Utility (use Spotlight or locate in /Applications/Utilities)
  • Open Disk Utility – pull down > File menu and select > New and then > Disk Image from Folder
  • Navigate to the folder you want to encrypt. Click > Image
  • Set Image Format > read/write and > Encryption to “128-bit AES” (you can also use 256-bit AES but this will be slower to encrypt)
  • Click > Where. This allows you to decide where to locate the .dmg disk image (volume) TIP: NEVER SAVE THIS FOLDER TO YOUR DESKTOP
  • Click > Create – then set a password to access the folder (store this strong/long password in a password manager) – Password strength should be ‘Excellent’
Posted in apple, privacy | Tagged , , , , | 9

How to securely erase Mac data using Disk Utility 12.x

mac_diskutilityWhen you delete a file from a hard disk, the file isn’t erased, it’s just removed from the computer’s records. This rule applies to both PCs and Macs. If you decide to use the Mac Disk Utility 12.x or move files to Trash they are actually not erased. They are in fact just removed from the computer’s records.

Computer files require to be overwritten if they are to be completely removed. So how can you do this securely, without leaving a single trace? Here is a simple method, which involves using Disk Utility (this app is built into Mac OSX):

  • Open Spotlight type > disk utility – you can also find it in the Utilities folder in Launchpad
  • Click > Security Options and move the slider to > Most Secure (the slider is found in Mac OSX
  • “Most Secure” – this writes over your data 7 times (with zeros) and is compliant with US DOD 5220-22 M standard
  • Once you’ve chosen the above option click > Erase and then ….. wait
  • Disk Utility will take some time (the time taken to erase your data depends on the amount of data that needs to be erased)
Posted in apple, privacy | Tagged , , , , , | 0