How Safe Can I Feel If My Mac is Stolen?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by HappyDude20, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. HappyDude20 macrumors 68020

    HappyDude20

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    #1
    I'm a Mac user that takes his Macbook with him everywhere. Even if i'm going to be out just for an hour or two on whatever mission i'll throw my Macbook in my Incase backpack and throw it in the car.

    In the past i'd come across many situations where I needed either the internet or specifically files and things from my Mac. Easiest solution so far for me is to take it everywhere. Its not a hassle at all, more of a habit now but was wondering....

    ....what if someone stole it?

    Yes, having my Mac taken away from me would be heartbreaking and perhaps more so of a numbing headache, but I'm curious if anyone could do damage with it? In terms of them getting into my files, taking my info, etc. etc. You know.

    Upon turning on my computer it asks for my password, i'm the only one that knows it. As for files on my Macbook itself, all are just in the documents, music, movies, etc folders... I use "1Password" for all my online passwords, but that program itself whether using the app itself or the add-on online requires a password too.

    I'm because I remember once completely erasing my hard drive on purpose and there were a few different options are to how secure I was the erase to be. I think it was under Disk Utility where there was like a 7 pass and 35 pass erase thing, which I think I read was comparable to military grade standards in terms of people getting a hold of that erased HD not being able to get any once existent content from that HD since of the method chosen to erase it's contents. What i'm asking here doesn't neccesarily have to do with this....

    But am freaking out wondering what could happen if my Mac is ever taken...
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    I got UnderCover for my laptop, which, when stolen (you tell them that it has been), activates and does a few things.

    1. It checks IP addresses and e-mails the location to the police.
    2. It takes pictures with the iSight (if the computer has one) and e-mails the pictures to the police (catch the guy at the machine).
    3. It will simulate a screen hardware failure, prompting the guy to sell it or take it in for repair.
    4. It will, when it recognizes its location as the IP address of an Apple Store or Mac reseller, switch to a screen displaying ownership information stating that it has been stolen. It also cranks the volume all the way up and screams that it has been stolen.

    They have a 96-98% recovery rate.
     
  3. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #3
    I'm a firm believer in FileVault. Encrypt your home folder and make sure you have backups at home, weekly backups.
     
  4. HappyDude20 thread starter macrumors 68020

    HappyDude20

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    #4
    I was in System Pref. and saw that. Whats the advantage of having it turned on versus not? Any downsides to this? The upsides?
     
  5. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    FileVault encrypts your hard drive, that way no one can access the files if they remove the HD from the machine and try to access it by other means. It only encrypts your home drive, not the entire system so only things in your user directory will be protected by it. There's only small downsides, which I'm not up for getting into now, but it works better than it did on Tiger. Using a sparse disk image has helped a lot, especially for Time Machine users (sparse makes it multiple files rather than one large file). I use FileVault personally.

    I've also heard good things about UnderCover, but haven't gotten it myself.

    As a note, your password does little to protect your system if they have physical access to it. Even Apple has documentation on how to reset the password using an install disc, and it's ridiculously easy. This is another reason why FileVault is a good idea as it can be setup on a separate password than the login one so a reset password won't be able to access the files.
     
  6. HappyDude20 thread starter macrumors 68020

    HappyDude20

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    #6
    & doing this will pretty much make my HD useless to the people that have it?

    Any downsides in terms of my everyday daily use, or weekly use? Like i'm thinking such as having to update or something like that everyday...or perhaps like a longer start-up doing what it does.?

    Using FireVault would there be anything I need to do on a weekly basis or so? like updating it or something? Or does it just do it by itself and once I turn it on I can forget about it, just knowing its working in the background an my Mac is safe if unfortunately it's stolen...?
     
  7. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Encrypted means others can't make use of the data. It uses AES-256, which is quite strong, even CIA approved.

    It takes care of itself. Shutdowns can be a touch slower as that is when it will reclaim unneeded space in FileVault, if you have deleted items. The more you've deleted, the longer that process will take, but generally speaking, it's not very long. Start ups are just the same as without it. There's no maintenance on your part.
     
  8. keithOrbit macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    #8
    Must backup data every day, and must setting passwd.
     
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #9
    Kind of. It's 96% of stolen macs that are connected to the internet.
     
  10. Matek macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #10
    FileVault (or even better - TrueCrypt) is a must. If your data isn't encrypted, anyone can access your files, regardless of your password.
     

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