8 Ways to Protect Yourself When Surfing the Web on a Mac

People who use Mac always want to best experience when they are surfing the web. You are paying for an expensive Mac computer and OS yet you have to deal with a lot of the same problems that happen on Windows computers. Some of these problems include constantly seeing popups on websites, adware and virus attacks.

However, these problems can be fixed with just some tweaking of your Safari browser and installing some apps to improve the security of your computer. The following 8 ways to protect yourself when you are surfing the web on your Mac.

1. Browse a Webpage in Reader Mode on Safari

On Safari, you can use the reader mode to block ads. The reader mode is a mode that optimizes the webpage for the maximum reading experience. It will remove all kinds of distractions such as comments, sidebars, and videos. You can enable reader mode by going to View > Show Reader. There is also a keyboard shortcut for it which is Shift+Command+R. In your URL bar, there is a three and a half horizontal lines icon which you can click to enter into Reader mode. Safari 11 allows you to specify the article pages on selected domains in reader mode. To do this, you must go to Safari > Setting for This Website. A pop up will appear and you are to check the Use Reader when available checkbox. You can go to the websites pane in the preferences to remove a domain from the reader mode list.

2. Disable Popup Ads in Safari

If you don't like popup ads, you can disable them by checking the Block pop-up windows checkbox in Preferences > Security. In Safari 12, you must go to Preferences > Websites > Pop-up Windows. Here, you will see the websites that are currently opened. Besides, you can choose an option for the popup including block and notify, block or allow. Below, there is an option that tells Safari what to do on the popup when you are visiting other websites.

3.. Install a Third Party Ad Blocking Application to Block Popups

You need to install a third party ad blocking application if you just want to block the ads without affecting the visual elements. You can use a safari pop-up blocker browser extension like AdGuard to block image, text and video ads. When you enable an ad blocker application, the webpage design may be modified but the most important thing is that you can now read the text clearly. The standalone application offers more customization options than the browser extension. For example, AdGuard also allows you to whitelist certain sites that you want to support and don't want to have their ads removed.

4. Enable Cross Site Tracking to Avoid Getting Tracked

When you are surfing the web, you are constantly being tracked of your user behaviour. You might not even be aware of it. This is why the ad you see is often relevant to the items you have been searching on the search engines. If you are concerned about yourself getting tracked, you can go to Preferences > Privacy and check the Prevent cross-site tracking option.


5. Save Article Webpages with reading Later Services

There is an extension called the read later extension that allows you to save article pages that you want to read later. When you bookmark a page through this extension, it will strip away all the ads. Once installed, you will see a read later button in the Safari browser. Whenever you want to bookmark a page, just click the button and it will be saved on your read later account. The page that you saved for reading later can be read online or offline.

6. Remove Adware that Causes the Popups

If you keep seeing popups, chances are there are adware on your Mac computer. Adware can enter into your computer through the plugins you install on your browser or by visiting sites that display malicious ads. The first step is to go to the extensions list and review the recent extensions you have installed. Deactivate the extensions one by one to see which of them the culprit for causing the popups is. You can also check the Applications folder and uninstall apps that may be causing the adware. You can also run a scan with the anti-malware software to detect adware and get them deleted on your computer.

7. Make Sure Your Browser and Software are Up to Date

You should always make sure that you have the latest updates on Safari and other software on your computer. It is important to promptly download the updates as they usually contain fixes for popups problems. You should only download the updates at the Mac App Store. If it is not available at the App Store, you can download it directly at the developer site. It is not safe to download an update from an ad you see or through a link in the email.

8. Avoid Downloading Flash

There are lots of flashes that are capable of spreading viruses. Hackers like to create fake Adobe Flash installers that are loaded with a virus to get you to download them. To prevent your computer from getting affected, you should avoid installing flash player altogether. In fact, there is no need for downloading flash now that most websites use HTML 5. However, if you decide to use the Adobe Flash Player, make sure to keep it up to date to reduce chances of virus attack.

Featured photo: Christopher Gower

Read next: How to Stay Safe When Working On Public Wi-Fi (infographic)

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