FileVault - is it worth it?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by sk3pt1c, Dec 25, 2006.

  1. sk3pt1c macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    a simulacrum
    #1
    i'm thinking of turning FileVault on but have a couple of questions:

    1. will having FileVault on slow my mac down? i have a powerPc mac and can't really afford that.
    2. will it need any extra space on my hard drive? can't really afford that either.
    3. if i'm logged in and using my files, does FileVault prevent someone "hacking" my computer accessing my files or is it just in case someone tries to access my files when i'm logged out?
    thanks
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2

    Yes, but probably not very noticeably. I guess it depends on how you use your machine though. Constant access to and from the hard drive will be slower so video and graphic work will be much slower, whereas basic internet browsing probably won't be any different.



    Yeah. It will consume at least the amount of space a default Home account takes up, although this isn't really all that big in the scheme of things (I guess).



    I guess it would prevent hackers to an extent, but it's not really what File Vault was intended for. Depending on how the machine is hacked, it's less likely they'll be able to see your files. Keep your OSX firewall on and it's nearly impossible to hack a Mac anyway. :)


    In short, don't turn on File Vault. It's still a very buggy piece of software and by its very nature, this means you can end up with all sorts of problems (mainly data loss/inaccess). In addition, it's more difficult to back up a protected folder. It pretty much has to be done manually because backup apps don't play nicely with the protected folder. It's more designed for the sort of person who needs the security of being able to lose a laptop and be safe in the knowledge that without the right password, the files will be inaccessible.

    If there's something in particular you want kept secure like this, I recommend creating a protected disk image in Disk Utility (which uses the same encryption) so the rest of your machine isn't hampered by the constant encryption and deciphering that File Vault demands.
     
  3. asherman13 macrumors 6502a

    asherman13

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    #3
    Mad Jew covered most of it; in short, DO NOT ENABLE FILEVAULT!!!!! It will cause more problems than it will solve, and it will be the biggest mistake you'll make with your Mac.
     
  4. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    a simulacrum
    #4
    i'm already using a protected disk image for some data i don't want anyone else to access, i just thought FileVault would make my being on the internet a bit safer, guess not then.
    my firewall is on, so i'll just rest assured by having osX keep me as safe as possible.
    thanks guys
    happy holidays
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    Yeah, let me go even farther than MJ on this one... it won't do *anything* for this. First, there are no exploits in the wild for MacOS. Which makes it a non-issue to begin with. BUT. Imagine for a moment that there were, and we lived in that wicked jungle known as Windows. :( How does an exploit work? It causes malicious code to enter into your computer and run either as you or as you with admin / root privileges while you are logged in to your account. At least, that's the way the majority of exploits that gain access to the hard disk work.

    Notice the problem? You've already got access to your FileVault files. By the time the exploit gets as far as running arbitrary code locally or transmitting data back across the internet, it's doing it as you, and since you have access to your FileVault, there's nothing more FileVault can do to protect you.

    So the only situation in which it would really help with something like that at all is if *another* user of your computer fell victim to an exploit. In that case, their account would be compromised but yours would not (because its encrypted data would not be available to the other account, even with root privileges).
     
  6. ricksbrain macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #6
    I've been using Filevault on my 1 Ghz tibook since day one of it's availability because I have to house confidential client files in a somewhat crime-prone areas on occasion. I felt that I needed to use it. Not a single hiccup. The only time I ever notice it's even running is when I shutdown or reboot and it asks to reclaim hard drive space.

    I think it's been great, but have heard some complain about it. If anything, I'd suggest doing it when the hard drive is essentially empty. It would have a greater chance of problems the more churning it has to do.
     
  7. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #7
    Please be sure to backup regularly... a bad disk sector could wipe out access to your entire home folder instead of just a file or two - that's my real problem with File Vault: if anything gets corrupted, the whole thing tends to go bye-bye.
     
  8. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    #8
    I use Filevault. I have to. Nuff said. I don't have any trouble with it. My Titanium Powerbook with Tiger used File vault and that was a 400mhz with 512mb ram. If that thing could run Diablo II well, then there isn't a lot of concern in my mind about graphics performance.

    If you are editing a lot of large movie projects, you probably use an external drive anyway. So that's not a big issue either.

    My only advice is for Automator. It doesn't follow the alias setup that OS X uses to encapsulate the filevault system and make it transparent to the user, like it seems in Finder. So I use a temporary directory in the root to move things that need to be done in automator there, do what is needed to be done, then move it back to my home directory.

    That's been the only problem for me.
     
  9. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #9
    Don't get me wrong. File Vault can work, and it can work well. Its' just that when it screws up (which is too often for an OS-supported feature) it can lose everything. :(
     

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