For many years, Mac users saw themselves as untouchable. Viruses weren’t designed to target the Mac operating system and digital attacks were far less complex than they are today. In recent years, though, as Apple’s products have become more popular with those outside certain niche professions, Macs have become the targets of more online threats. All this means that it’s time to rethink security.
In addition to using antivirus software and regularly scanning for malware, Mac users today should consider installing a VPN – a virtual private network. First designed for use by remote workers, VPN technology is popular today because it allows users to place an extra layer of security around their computers. By using a VPN on your computer, then, you can prevent your ISP from tracking your website use, protect your data when using public Wi-Fi, and even disguise your location. It’s technology for an age of surveillance and hacking, and it should be on your computer.
Choosing A VPN
If hacking and data theft have convinced you that a VPN is a good idea, then it’s time to download a program so you can browse the web with peace of mind – but first, you have to wade through the various software options. There are many different programs on the market and each has its own strengths, so it’s important to do your research when choosing a VPN for Mac.
One of the most popular VPN options for Mac is FreeLan, a no-cost option that offers military-grade encryption along with P2P file sharing. The program is, however, a bit opaque; the company doesn’t offer information on its logging policy or server locations. Other options like VPN Gate offer less intense encryption but offers multiple file transfer protocols and greater operational transparency.
VPN Meets iOS
Compared to choosing a VPN for a PC, choosing one for a Mac also means considering the complexities of Apple’s iOS with its regular changes, and this is increasingly the case as Apple attempts to make its base system more secure. With the launch of macOS Catalina, Apple attempted to combine flexibility with security, but the arrangement is still a bit tenuous. For example, the classic Gatekeeper program that checks outside programs is now more comprehensive, but it also forces users to approve the same program time and time again. Meanwhile, new features provide added data protection by forcing apps to request permission to access data.
With all of these security adjustments, how does macOS Catalina get along mass-market VPNs? The simple answer is that it varies, and users aren’t great at selecting VPN software. While FreeLan and VPN Gate, discussed above, are both solid options, there are many others that are more likely to expose your system to risk rather than protect it. For this reason, some tech experts believe Apple should launch its own VPN as a complement to its existing privacy offerings. Now that more people are interested in using a VPN, it would be a good time to break into the market and it would ensure compatibility with iOS upgrades.
Lacking a direct from Apple version, Mac users should still consider investing in quality VPN software, particularly if you’re someone who’s concerned about their activity being tracked. And even if you take a more laissez-faire approach to internet surveillance, installing a VPN is still a good idea, as users face the ongoing risk of data breaches and other incursions, all of which a VPN can prevent. It can take some getting used to, but if you regularly use public WIFI – and who doesn’t in this day and age – you need a VPN.