Laptop security - passwords

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Gosh, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. Gosh macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2006

    Got my first Apple Laptop.

    Reading some other posts seems that File Vault is perhaps not a great idea!

    Secure disk images seem better.

    Do people use Firmware Passwords? Does this add another password to the log in procedure or just when updating the Firmware? Any downside to using this?

  2. Blubbert macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2006
    The firmware password, as is my knowledge, is needed when you try to boot from a different disk, be it a bootable image on an external drive, or the OS X dvd. I would also assume it is neccesary to access the single user mode.
  3. Unspeaked macrumors 68020


    Dec 29, 2003
    West Coast
    Yes, it asked for it whenever a startup key is held during startup (so Command-C or Command-S would prompt you for it).

    It's relatively easy to bypass, though, by zapping the PRAM a few times.
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Each thing basically has its own problem:

    1) Secure wake from sleep / screensaver -- if someone really wants to, they can pull the hard drive out and read it without your password.

    2) Firmware password -- ditto

    3) Filevault -- can potentially destroy data.

    4) Disk images -- better in some sense, but if you put all your documents in a Filevault image, in principle, the same deal applies. If it gets corrupted you still stand to lose everything in it (although it's probably safer because it's not used at boot-time and it's accessed far less frequently as things like .plists and caches are not inside it.

    I think for most people, common sense levels of security are better than anything. Like I work in a hospital...for everything that we do for IT security, the truth is that most spills happen because people leave things laying around with no protection whatsoever (primarily print documents). Taking minimal protection goes a long way, much as, if you have a 1st-glance okay bike lock, a thief will steal someone else's bike because it's lower risk than yours, even though the thief can still pick your lock.
  5. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I've never had a problem with password encrypted disk images - I keep all my work-related stuff inside one. As long as you regularly back up your files (including the disk images), you should be protected from any worries regarding corruption.

    Filevault is overkill, methinks. Not worth the performance hit since for most things there's no need for encryption.

    Corruption has never been an issue for me; I just like to put plugs in for regular backups. :D So important, yet most people don't do it...

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