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Old Nov 19, 2011, 09:44 AM   #1
Kendo
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Why is firewall off by default in OS X?

First time Mac user and I was going through my settings and noticed that the OS X firewall is turned off by default. I know that OS X doesn't require an antivirus, however does the same hold true for a firewall?
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 09:51 AM   #2
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I'm not sure why it's turned off by default, but perhaps they assume you will be behind a router, which most people are. Routers are hardware firewalls and provide better protection than a software firewall, such as the one built into OS X.
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 09:56 AM   #3
Kendo
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Ah I understand. So if I'm connecting a laptop via Wi-Fi to my router, the hardware firewall is all that is required? Does the same hold true for Windows computers?
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 10:13 AM   #4
johnhurley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kendo View Post
First time Mac user and I was going through my settings and noticed that the OS X firewall is turned off by default. I know that OS X doesn't require an antivirus, however does the same hold true for a firewall?
I was a recent convert over also ( well I have a bunch of computers and just one apple at the moment ) and found two books that are pretty good.

The first is Mac OS X Lion for Dummies by Bob Levitus ( dr mac ) and the second is Lion OS X the missing manual.

The Missing Manual is much longer but the Lion for Dummies book is also good and has a good chapter on security.

Basically the firewall is turned off by default to support easy sharing between macs of a bunch of stuff and support various software applications.

If you are the only mac in your home/work area no reason probably to use most of that stuff and you should seriously consider setting the firewall to block all incoming connections.

The Safari setting of Open Safe Files after downloading should probably also be turned off. Why they default that to on seems even riskier than the default firewall config ... just my opinion.

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Ah I understand. So if I'm connecting a laptop via Wi-Fi to my router, the hardware firewall is all that is required? Does the same hold true for Windows computers?
The more protection the better and the more places that you have protection on the better. Any modern machine has enough power that it should have it's own protection turned on besides any built in protection from router/cable modem etc.
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 10:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Ah I understand. So if I'm connecting a laptop via Wi-Fi to my router, the hardware firewall is all that is required? Does the same hold true for Windows computers?
Yes, it holds true for any computer, any operating system. As long as you have a good hardware firewall, properly configured, you're as safe as can be. BUT, this doesn't protect you from malware, viruses etc... (on Windows PC's that is). It only protects you from those turkey's trying to hack into your network or computer.
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