Properly securing my Mac with a password

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by M. Malone, May 31, 2009.

  1. M. Malone macrumors 6502a

    M. Malone

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    #1
    Hello,

    My friend had a problem with his Windows computer and was unable to power it up. He was concerned about the information on the hard drive.

    So I got an external hard drive enclosure and placed his hard drive into it and was able to take out all of the information from it. I was surprised at how easy it was to get the data out even though his computer is password protected.

    It got me thinking, my Mac is password protected, if it was to be stolen, can someone simply use a hard drive enclosure to retrieve all data? If so, how can I solve this issue?

    Thank you,
     
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Unless you encrypt the drive (like with FileVault) then yes someone can rather easily get at the data if they have physical access to it. File Vault only encrypts your home directory only though, just an FYI. There are other Full Disk Encryption options, but they cost money (except TrueCrypt, but it can't encrypt the entire system drive).
     
  3. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #3
    There's a mantra among sysadmins: if the hacker has physical access to your computer, your data is already compromised. No matter how secure the software end may be, it's a piece of cake to remove a hard drive and grab whatever you want.

    Enabling FileVault is a good start. It should be all you need if you're careful to keep all important files within your home folder (ie. Documents, Desktop, Music, Pictures, etc).
     
  4. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #4
    Easily. They can also start up your Mac up in Firewire Target Disk Mode, if you don't have a firmware password

    Disk encryption is the answer. Filevault is alright, it only encrypts your home folder.
     
  5. M. Malone thread starter macrumors 6502a

    M. Malone

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    #5
    Thanks everyone, my main concern are my emails that are on Apple Mail.

    Are my emails stored in the home folder as well?

    Thanks.
     
  6. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    Yes, they are stored within your home directory. Located at ~/Library/Mail/ to b specific, where the ~ represents your home directory, /Users/username/
     

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