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OS X Mavericks: Protect your Mac from malware

Protect your Mac from malware

OS X has many features that help protect your Mac and your personal information from malicious software, or malware. One common way malware is distributed is by embedding it in a harmless-looking app.

You can reduce this risk by using software only from reliable sources. The settings in Security & Privacy preferences allow you to specify the sources of software that run on your Mac.

Choose the software sources you allow.
Option Description
Mac App Store: Allows apps only from the Mac App Store. All the developers of apps in the Mac App Store are identified by Apple, and each app is reviewed before it’s accepted. OS X checks the app before it opens the first time to be certain it hasn’t been modified since the developer shipped it. If there’s ever a problem with an app, Apple removes it from the Mac App Store.
Identified Developers: Allows apps from the Mac App Store and apps from identified developers. Although apps from outside the Mac App Store are not reviewed, the identified developers are registered with Apple. If problems occur with an app, Apple can revoke its authorization. OS X checks the app before it opens the first time to be certain it hasn’t been modified since the developer shipped it.
Anywhere: Allows all apps from anywhere. This setting turns Gatekeeper off. However, this is the least secure setting because the source of the app is not verified, and the app is not checked to see if it’s been modified or is broken.

In addition to apps, other types of files may or may not be safe. Scripts, web archives, and Java archives have the potential to cause harm to your system. Of course, not all files like this are unsafe, but you should exercise caution when opening any such downloaded file. An alert appears when you first try to open these files.

To open the app, press the Control key, click the app, choose Open from the shortcut menu, then click Open.

The app is saved as an exception to your security settings, and you will be able to open it in the future by double-clicking it, just like any authorized app.

Last Modified: Oct 15, 2014
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