OS X Vulnerabilities and Security Set-Ups

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by UKnjb, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. UKnjb macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2005
    London, UK
    Can I ask for some informed opinions, please?
    The recent furore about potential or actual Mac vulnerabilities is causing me a few minor headaches. I have come to Macs from a Windows background mainly because I was getting fed up with being infected with so many viruses and other mal-wares (the majority being delivered courtesy of the 'totally secure' firewalled academic network on which I was linked - LOL).
    I have my two Macs (PowerBook G4 and PowerMac G4) configured identically and with fully up-dated Panther 10.3.9 as the OS. On both machines, there is the root administrator account (disabled by default but used regularly for running rkhunter to look for and eliminate any potential rootkits - none found so far), my own administrator account for routine maintenance and installation etc. of apps/utilities and a further 'daily' account that is the one I use routinely for running the apps. and doing my regular work, but where access to the utilities is denied. Both machines are connected to Broadband and I use Airport and a protected wireless router for having the PowerBook communicate with the PowerMac.
    I have the Mac OSX firewall active, all sharing is turned off and Safari is set to NOT open any downloaded material including pictures. Further, Little Snitch is constantly running in the background and pretty well every request to communicate with any address is denied unless I am certain that I, or the relevant app, am calling for it. As an extra, I am coming to the end of an evaluation period of The Little Dutch Moose that is the first thing to be loaded on start-up; its log suggests that there have been zero attacks or processes that are monitoring my machines.
    I don't go to any suspect web sites, don't have any software that derives from potentially unreliable suppliers (torrents, hacks, cracks or anywhere from Russia etc) and don't do on-line banking.
    Am I secure from any external attacks? Am I being over-the-top, even paranoid, in that, despite all the comments from seasoned Mac users, any OS is potentially vulnerable and someone out there could, and probably does, have the ability to do me some damage if I opened my door even an inch?
    Does anyone else follow my operational route, or am I wasting my time and having unnecessary CPU capacity occupied with trivial activities?
  2. calebjohnston macrumors 68000


    Jan 24, 2006
    No, those are all sound methods of securing yourself. Those are all the precautions I've taken, and they are more than enough.
  3. calebjohnston macrumors 68000


    Jan 24, 2006
    Now that I think about it, you can also make another non-administrator account to use as your primary account, and leave your admin account as the 'decision-maker'. This could potentially protect you even more. Read some other threads about doing this - although it really isn't necessary.

    The best defense against trojans, malware, and viruses is just to avoid dodgy sites and files - and don't enter your password unless you know why you're doing it.
  4. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Holy moly, I think you're being super paranoid. You're just fine.
  5. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005
    well protection of an school network is really good from outside sourse. Problem is it takes just 1 computer on the network to have virus or worm on them to allow it to infect all the other ones on the network.

    I will never figure out how so many people get covered with viruses with windows. Just practic the basics protection and bad things just dont happen.

    Basic being
    Antispy ware program (good one from M$ that still beta better than the others out there any how)
    Antivirus program
    Dont open files you are not sure about
    KEEP YOUR COMPUTER UPTO DATE (this is the main reason windows computer get hit so hard by malware and worms is people dont keep the OS updated when M$ release another one. Almost all the worms out there attack using holes that where patch 3+months before hand)

    But general pratices that everyone should follow
    Dont open up files you not sure of.
    AV (macs can still easily get away with not using it yet)
    Antispyware (same thing again on macs)

    As for college networks they are safe from the outside world but the problem is one or more of the computers on the network was infected because there some one was dumb enough to open up a trogin or one of those. Now it goes on attack everyone else on the network. I personly feel safer on my own out side of the school. I am less likely to have to deal with it but since that is not a choice I did the next best thing. I am behind my own router with it hardware firewall turn on. a heck of a lot harder to get pass my router to my computers plus how it set up you can see the router from the school network but you can not see my computer connect to the router nor will the router let you do that.

    Sum it up put your self behind your own router and you be a lot safer. Routers make it one nasty step things have to get by to get to your computer.
  6. blackstone macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2005
    Washington, DC
    The fact that you're running the OS X firewall and have all sharing turned off, is definitely enough to protect you from external attacks. I would say that using a non-Administrator account for most tasks, avoiding dodgy web sites, not opening files from untrusted sources, and running Little Snitch is sufficient protection from Trojan-type exploits. Although if it makes you more comfortable to be extra-paranoid, then go ahead and keep doing what you're doing!

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