Is the hard drive accessible via usb or thunderbolt? - MacRumors Forums
Register FAQ / Rules Forum Spy Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Notebooks > MacBook Air

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Mar 12, 2013, 12:08 PM   #1
msmth928
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Is the hard drive accessible via usb or thunderbolt?

Just wondering whether the hard drive of my (2012) MBA would be accessible via usb or thunderbolt if it got stolen.

I have my account password protected but would like to keep my files safe if possible - is filevault the only option? Or is password protection generally enough?

(Does filevault slow down MBA's much if turned on?)
__________________
msmth928 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 12:27 PM   #2
garybUK
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
You can start the computer in 'Target Disk Mode' by holding down T when you switch on the computer, this makes the computer behave as a giant external hdd.

I guess if someone stole your laptop they can access it this way, Filevault would stop this as (IIRC from the old days).... it creates a giant encrypted/passworded sparse bundle which is mounted when you boot.....
garybUK is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 12:41 PM   #3
AlanShutko
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Nowadays it doesn't use a sparse bundle, it encrypts the whole partition. But the result is the same: your data will not be retrievable without your password.
AlanShutko is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 01:01 PM   #4
msmth928
Thread Starter
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by garybUK View Post
You can start the computer in 'Target Disk Mode' by holding down T when you switch on the computer, this makes the computer behave as a giant external hdd.

I guess if someone stole your laptop they can access it this way, Filevault would stop this as (IIRC from the old days).... it creates a giant encrypted/passworded sparse bundle which is mounted when you boot.....
Ah right thanks, I guess there's no way of disabling this in the bios? Would seem like a fairly good compromise if there was.

Does encrypting the disk slow things down much?
__________________
msmth928 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 02:42 PM   #5
garybUK
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmth928 View Post
Ah right thanks, I guess there's no way of disabling this in the bios? Would seem like a fairly good compromise if there was.

Does encrypting the disk slow things down much?
You can set a firmware password, boot up and press CMD-R to start the recovery partition, then on the Utilities menu choose Firmware Password. That will prompt before it will fire up Target Disk Mode.

If you have an SSD then Filevault shouldn't slow down much, on my old PowerBook G4 it ran like a dog... not tried it recently.
garybUK is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 02:59 PM   #6
msmth928
Thread Starter
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by garybUK View Post
You can set a firmware password, boot up and press CMD-R to start the recovery partition, then on the Utilities menu choose Firmware Password. That will prompt before it will fire up Target Disk Mode.

If you have an SSD then Filevault shouldn't slow down much, on my old PowerBook G4 it ran like a dog... not tried it recently.
Can you see any downsides to using a firmware password? Once set, the data on my MBA should be relatively safe, no? (I can't imagine your typical thief trying to solder the HD chips just to get at someone's emails, can you? Would it even be easily possible?)

Thanks again for the reply!
__________________
msmth928 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 03:25 PM   #7
garybUK
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmth928 View Post
Can you see any downsides to using a firmware password? Once set, the data on my MBA should be relatively safe, no? (I can't imagine your typical thief trying to solder the HD chips just to get at someone's emails, can you? Would it even be easily possible?)

Thanks again for the reply!
No worries, it's actually a problem i didn't think of until you mentioned it...

I suppose if they are really determined the rMBP's still have removable SATA cards so they could whack it in one of those OCZ Caddy things.

I just did some reading up and looks like since Lion+ they moved to CoreStorage LVM Encryption rather than using SpareBundles so it should be much faster!!! I'd go this route as full disk encryption would be better than just a firmware password.

Downsides to a firmware password... if you forget it, your hosed? also it'd be a pain in the butt when booting etc.
garybUK is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 04:10 PM   #8
jdechko
macrumors 68040
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by garybUK View Post
Downsides to a firmware password... if you forget it, your hosed? also it'd be a pain in the butt when booting etc.
Apparently with newer Macs, the firmware password can only be reset by Apple, either through Apple or an AASP.

Also, I don't think you need to input your firmware password when booting from the internal HD, only when you want to boot from a different device (such as Internet recover, external HD, TDM, etc).

Good security information to know, though. Seems like Apple has plugged a bunch of holes related to firmware passwords which makes them more effective security.
jdechko is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 06:24 PM   #9
Stetrain
macrumors 68040
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmth928 View Post
Can you see any downsides to using a firmware password? Once set, the data on my MBA should be relatively safe, no? (I can't imagine your typical thief trying to solder the HD chips just to get at someone's emails, can you? Would it even be easily possible?)

Thanks again for the reply!
I don't think that a firmware password would keep them from popping out the SSD and sticking it into another Macbook Air (or a compatible external enclosure like OCZ sells) to see what's on it. No soldering required.

You would need FileVault to prevent that.
Stetrain is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 11:08 PM   #10
AlanShutko
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
The Core i* processors have hardware encryption, so Filevault is a very, very minimal performance impact. I do not notice the impact on my2012 i7 MBA.

There was definitely more of an impact on the Core 2 Duos, but it was still tolerable from the stuff I've read.
AlanShutko is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 12, 2013, 11:10 PM   #11
maxosx
macrumors 68020
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Southern California
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmth928 View Post
Does encrypting the disk slow things down much?
It hasn't on mine.
maxosx is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 01:24 PM   #12
Mrbobb
macrumors 601
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
If just against nosy people, firmware pwd is enough. However if you have bank accounts info, and other stuff you NEVER want anybody to see EVER, then encryption is recommended.
__________________
Solution: FREE, Explanation: Is gonna cost ya.
Mrbobb is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 03:16 PM   #13
msmth928
Thread Starter
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Thanks for the replies everyone - I have enabled filevault and there doesn't seem to be any noticeable slowdown
__________________
msmth928 is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 05:02 PM   #14
Weaselboy
macrumors G5
 
Weaselboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmth928 View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone - I have enabled filevault and there doesn't seem to be any noticeable slowdown
I am coming in late to the thread, but it is good that you enabled FV2. With Lion and Mountain Lion Apple was nice enough to put the admin password reset utility right on the recovery partition. So all a thief needed to do was command-r boot and use the utility to reset your password and they are in. FV2 blocks this.

Here is a good test from Anadtech showing the speed hit from enabling FV2. It is very minor.
Weaselboy is online now   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 13, 2013, 07:08 PM   #15
Miat
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanShutko View Post
There was definitely more of an impact on the Core 2 Duos, but it was still tolerable from the stuff I've read.
Running FV2 is not an issue on my 2007 C2D iMac.
Miat is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Notebooks > MacBook Air

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
External Hard Drive for iTunes - Thunderbolt or USB? VaatiKaiba Buying Tips and Advice 3 Jul 19, 2013 12:40 AM
Thunderbolt or USB out to Firewire Hard Drive? hakr100 MacBook Air 4 Jul 7, 2013 10:59 AM
External Hard Drive Question - Thunderbolt or USB 2.0 bawuva Mac Peripherals 12 Nov 15, 2012 08:23 PM
Thunderbolt versus USB 3 external hard drive afellowlinguist Mac Peripherals 7 Oct 1, 2012 06:11 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:55 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC