Basic Mac Security, Maintenance, and Usage

Bennett Roesch

This presentation covers:

  • How to create and store good passwords
  • How to prevent unwanted programs from starting when your computer starts
  • Browser specific security tips
  • Useful keyboard shortcuts and settings

Every Day

And I'm All Out Of Gum

Good Passwords

Pronunciation: /go͝od 'pas,wərds/


Definition: The use of the maximum length and randomization allowed.

See the Good Passwords blog entry for details.

Most importantly, use a password manager
to generate and store your passwords.

If you forget the password to your password manager, all of your passwords are lost forever. (That's a good thing.) All you have to do is reset them.

Which brings me to my next point. All of your passwords are only as strong as your email password. Make a strong password for your email.

For creating passwords that are both strong and easy to remember, use this strategy:
XKCD Password Strength

Once you have one draw a picture of it and put it somewhere to help you remember it.

When using Keychain, create new keychains with a password different from your login password for extra security.

When sharing passwords with other people have them sign up for LastPass (It's Free!).


A great deal of the time updates ship with security patches. Keep your computer up to date.

Update Java and Flash through System Preferences - do not click on links in your browser which prompt you to do so.

Computer Viruses

Contrary to popular opinion, Mac computers are not invulnerable. The common term you will hear is "virus" but usually this is actually referring to "malware".


  • Virus: Code that replicates by copying itself to other computers.
  • Trojan: Software designed to be installed by convincing people to type in admin credentials.
  • Malware: Software designed for malicious purposes.
  • Adware: Software which makes ads appear where they shouldn't.

Never type in your administrator password unless you are intentionally going out of your way to install new or update software.

To weed out the small fry install Malwarebytes.


There are two types of people:

  1. Those who have lost data.
  2. Those who will.

Time Machine is easy and awesome. Turn on Time Machine, hook up an external drive, and your computer will prompt you to convert it to a Time Machine drive.

It is worth it to take the time to add directories you do not want backed up such as Downloads and Applications.

What if your house burns down and both your backup and original are destroyed at the same time? All of your data is gone forever.

Enter Cloud Backup with SOS.

Login Items

System Preferences > User Accounts > Your User > Login Items

Select the items which should not be booting with your computer then click the Minus button to remove them.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Command C : Copy
  • Command V : Paste
  • Command Z : Undo
  • Command Shift Z : Redo
  • Command Space : Spotlight

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Command Tab : Cycle through Applications
    (Hold down Command and continue to tap tab to cycle.)
  • Command Shift Tab : Cycle through Applications in reverse
  • Command ` : Cycle through windows in the current Application
    (This is called tick and is below the escape key.)
  • Command Shift ` : Cycle through windows in the current Application in reverse

Yellow Belt


Key Repeat Rate

System Preferences > Keyboard

Move the Repeat Rate & Repeat Delay sliders all the way to the right

TextEdit Autocompletion

TextEdit > Preferences > Turn off all "helpful" autocompletion

Browser Specific Tips And Tricks


Settings > Add-ons > Plugins > Check Your Plugins

Browser Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Command L : Select the URL
  • Command Shift R : Clear the cache for this page and reload
  • Command Shift T : Open most recently closed tab

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts : View and modify global keyboard shortcuts
  • Command W : Close the current window
  • Command Option Escape : Force Quit Applications dialog
  • Command Comma : Open Preferences for the current Application
  • Alt Poweroff : Shut down immediately
  • Option Delete : Delete Full Word (forward or backward)

Keyboard Shortcuts

Function Key +

  • Delete : Delete forwards
  • Up : Page Up
  • Down : Page Down
  • Left : Home
  • Right : End

Mouse Selection

  • Double Click : Highlight Word
  • Triple Click : Highlight Sentence including Newline
  • Double Click Drag : Highlight whole words
  • Click, Shift Click : Highlight everything in a range without clicking and dragging

Hard Core Nerd

I Just Went There O_O

Turn Off Startup Programs

Open a new Finder window.

Create a directory called:
delete-me-after-[one month from now]

For example: delete-me-after-7-6-16. Create two directories in here named "root" and "user".

Turn Off Startup Programs

Open another Finder window.

Finder > Go > Go To Folder (Command Shift G)

We are looking for directories called LaunchAgents, LaunchDaemons and StartupItems. They are located in:

  • ~/Library/
  • /Library/

Locate them one by one and copy each into the corresponding delete-me directory.

Turn Off Startup Programs

Those directories again: LaunchAgents, LaunchDaemons and StartupItems in ~/Library/ and /Library/.

Now visit each one and delete everything in them which does not have the word "License" in the file name. Especially make sure to delete all Adobe files - they are memory and cpu hogs.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Underlined letters on buttons while holding Alt
  • Command Shift Option V : Paste with no formatting
  • Alt Green Button : Maximize Window rather than Full Screen
  • Command + Arrow Keys : Navigate to the Beginning or the End of the current line or document
  • Alt + Arrow Keys : Navigate forward or backward words and paragraphs

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ctrl A : Navigate to the beginning of the sentence
  • Ctrl E : Navigate to the end of the sentence
  • Ctrl K : Delete from cursor to the end of the sentence and place the contents on a secret separate clipboard
  • Ctrl Y : Paste from the secret separate clipboard at the cursor's position


*Clap* And You're Done