Does my login password provide any security if my computer is stolen?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ItDoesntMatter, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. ItDoesntMatter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    #1
    Does my login password provide any security if my computer is stolen? Or could my files be easily accessed by the average user on macrumors?
    (10.4)
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    If the average user has an install disc to boot from, then they don't need the password.
     
  3. Dan73 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #3
    or take out the HD and browse it using another computer.
     
  4. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #4
    Minimal and Yep in that order.

    If that is a concern, create an encrypted disk using disk utlity and use that for sensitive files. Be aware that this will likely give you a space problem with Time Machine, ( if you use that).
     
  5. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #5
    Or enable FileVault, which does just that.

     -> System Preferences -> Security -> FileVault.

    It's not bulletproof, but it's better than nothing.
     
  6. Nocturnal22 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    #6
    or just dont lose/let your comp get stolenized.
     
  7. eRondeau macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Canada's South Coast
    #7
    As you're running OS X 10.4 Tiger, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you've got a FireWire port. Boot into Target Disk Mode, plug 'er in to another Mac via FireWire, and browse away.

    If you're worried about loss/theft, be proactive. Change the message on your login screen (using OnyX or similar) to offer a cash reward no-questions-asked for the return of your Mac. And take a permanent marker and write your name and phone # and "cash reward for return" inside the battery compartment (laptop) or on the bottom of the stand (iMac). In most cases when a laptop is stolen it's quickly pawned or traded for a hit of crack or meth and chances are, the actual thief won't even turn it on. A message hidden inside will be missed by the druggies, but may prompt a subsequent owner (or service tech) to call you.

    And dude if this question is ultimately about hiding your porn from snooping family members -- just keep it on a USB memory stick and hide it under your bed. :cool:
     
  8. dreamgood macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #8
    how about bios password ? i am sorry i am new to this :confused:
     
  9. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #9
    You'd have some trouble seeing as Macs don't have a BIOS. However, you can set a firmware password from the OS X installer. It doesn't secure your data, however. There's a saying: if a hacker has physical access to your computer, your data is already compromised. The computer can always be disassembled and the data read using another computer.

    It's worked for me so far.
     
  10. trule macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    #10
    No, not really.

    Mac comes with File Vault but this does not work so well with Time Machine. There is PGP Whole Disk Encryption, it would seem to be a better option.
     
  11. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #11
    Just out of interest why would PGP be better than file vault?
     
  12. trule macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    #12
    PGP is operating "closer to the disk" than file vault, what does that mean, basically the whole disk is protected in a way that the OS does not notice, so time machine works in a sensible way.

    With file vault, only users files are protected and protection is in a way which is not so sensible for time machine.

    Which is better? no idea, but I would not trust Apple to ever write a good encryption solution after experiencing file vault. Apple is good at making shiny boxes, PGP is good at encryption.

    EOS.
     
  13. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #13
    Seeing as the OP is using 10.4, I don't think Time Machine compatibility is a huge consideration.
     
  14. MTI macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    #14
    Google "Changing OS X passwords without Disks" and you'll see that it's quite simple. ;)
     
  15. Dan73 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #15
    If you really want to keep your data safe I would recommend using TrueCrypt.

    I haven't used it on OS X but on windows it works flawlessly.

    Also its free.
     

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