Security Questions (New to Mac)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by muadebe, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. muadebe, Apr 6, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011

    muadebe macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    #1
    Hi,

    I'll be getting a Mac Mini in the next few weeks and Im trying to figure out the best to make sure It will be secure.
    This will be my first Mac I have previously only used Windows computers.

    I will be using it to Surf, Email, iPhoto, iTunes and for World of Warcraft.

    Questions :

    1) Is it advisable to create a standard account to use for all the above and save an administer account for if/when it is needed? (I will be the only user)

    2) OSX firewall use it or is the firewall built into router sufficient?

    3) FileVault worth using?

    4) Is an active Anti Virus recommended or will a scan on demand suffice ?

    Any additional advice is gladly welcome.

    Thanks.

    EDIT : 11/04/2011

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the answers to my previous queries - I have a few more if you can help.

    1a) I will receive my Mac mini either today or tomorrow and I was wondering will the OSX installed be up to date ? If not whats the best way to do this as Ive read about single or combo updates - I understand the difference but from reading forums alot of people advise combo "just incase" - is combo always advised?

    2a) After initial setup I will disable wifi on the mini as I'll be using ethernet - will simply turning wifi off on the mini suffice or is more needed to secure it ?

    3a) Is it correct that OSX updates contain all needed drivers for the computer? e.g I dont need to go to the nvidia site for latest GPU drivers.

    Thanks.
     
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #2
    1. No
    2. Nothing wrong with using the OS X firewall too
    3. Only if you're worried someone will physically steal your computer
    4. Nahh, macs can't get virus's, for the most part, and an anti-virus program will just gum up your computer. Of course, it will happen one day... just not yet.
     
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #3
    1. you can if you want, I don't bother. I use the admin account resources enough to just use that all the time.

    2. I'd use the OS X firewall. Certainly not a bad idea, plus firewalls built into routers aren't the most effective.

    3. Probably only if you have some really sensitive stuff.

    4. Pass on AV software period. There aren't any viruses circulating that will run in a Mac environment, so it's just a waste of system resources.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    It's not a bad idea and does provide some extra security, but many run successfully on an admin account without problems
    Yes.
    Yes, but some would say it's not worth the hassle.
    No need for AV on a Mac. There has never been a virus in the wild that runs on Mac OS X. The handful of trojans that exist can be easily avoided with some education and common sense and care in what software you install:
    Well, they CAN. They just don't, since there are none.
     
  5. Hastings101 macrumors 68010

    Hastings101

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    K
    #5
    1. Not really
    2. You should use OS X's firewall.
    3. NO!! It's caused problems for quite a few people.
    4. Neither, they're more likely to create problems than you are to get a virus.
     
  6. brucem91 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #6
    I wouldn't worry about seperate user and admin accounts. Afaik, unlike default Windows, OS X will require the admin password for anything that needs administrator rights.
     
  7. satcomer, Apr 6, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011

    satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #7
    Now for your direct questions:

    1. Totally up to you.

    2. Forget about using the OS X GUI firewall. The built-in Unix ipfw (it has over 30 years of development) using the either the free NoobProof (for beginners)or the free WaterRoof (for advanced users). These firewalls that use the ipfw (that is in the OS X command line) with free GUI setups so you don't have to go to the Terminal.

    3. No because FileVault will cause some OS X headaches. Use the third party shareware program Espionage to encrypt one or two folders.

    4. Now with the few Trojans over the last few years were only in pirated OS X programs. So as long as you stay away from these "fell of the back of the truck" programs you will be safe. Get an OpenDNS account and sign up for a free account. This instructional video will show you how to block most Trojan hosting sites. It may even speed up your surfing.

    5. ClamxAV - Free

    Most antivirus programs for Mac will cause more problems then the solve in OS X. download and run the above free program when you think you have trouble. Then the two wild Trojans for OS X can be detected with the free programs DNSChanger Removal Tool & the free Boonana Trojan Horse Removal Tool. So you really don't need to slow down your Mac running the antivirus program, instead just use either of these free tools.

    Now since this will be your first Mac consider getting the book Switching to a Mac, The Missing Manual. It is a very easy read (with screen pictures) and it will be a great resource in transitioning to OS X from a lifetime of Windows.

    Now if you are going to use this Mac Mini as a HTPC then look at Plex or Boxee.

    PS - I recommend you use the fee AppCleaner to remove any third party program that leaves files all throughout the system.
     
  8. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    AppZapper, AppCleaner, CleanApp, TrashMe, and similar apps do not do a thorough job of removing all files/folders related to deleted apps. I tested several of these, using Skype as the app to be removed. Of 17 items to be removed:
    AppZapper missed 13 items
    AppCleaner missed 11 items
    AppDelete missed 8 items
    Hazel missed 9 items​
    I also tested AppTrap, CleanMyMac and a few others, but don't recall how many items they missed. All left files/folders behind. In most cases, they remove .plist files and a few others, but leave behind much larger files and folders. (you will find a discussion of these tests in the thread linked below)

    One app that I would not recommend, based on the number of complaints that have been posted in this forum and elsewhere, is CleanMyMac. As an example: CleanMyMac cleaned too much

    The only effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion:
     
  9. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    1.) From a security standpoint, yes. I use my standard account exclusively since I initially setup my Mac. I can do every administrative task from my standard account by just entering my admin credentials when prompted, which isn't that frequent.

    2.) Having OS X's firewall on in addition to your router's gives you that extra layer of security and doesn't really get in your way.

    3.) I've been using it since 2005. Whether you need it depends on the sensitivity of your files. Many people can make due with just creating encrypted disk images and storing sensitive files there. If you need more than that though, FileVault works well.

    4.) I use ClamXAV (which is mostly Windows mal-ware exclusive, but that's helpful too), I also have iAntivirus around, but I generally have it only check my Downloads folder. Neither, in my configuration of them, has any noticeable effect on performance on my Mac.

    x.) The NSA have a Mac hardening document as well as a link to Apple's own Security Configuration document, which are very good. You don't need to do everything they suggest, but it does give you the options.
     
  10. jerry333 macrumors member

    jerry333

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    #10
    1) No need. OS X will ask for your password if admin rights are needed.

    2) Also use the OS X firewall.

    3) Only if you are worried about physical security (someone stealing your computer)

    4) It depends. Unix systems such as OS X can't actually get a true virus because the operating system doesn't allow random access to memory. They can get trojans, root kits, etc. but the administrator has to allow them by typing in the password. So if you are only concerned about your Mac, there is no need.

    However, Macs can pass alon viruses from that other operating system, even though the virus can't hurt the Mac. So if you get an infected e-mail and you forward it, the person who receives it (assuming they are unfortunate enough to not be running a Unix system) could get a virus.

    The bottom line is that you have to consider what the effects might be if you pass along a virus. If you forward an infected email to a paying client, they won't be too happy. This is actually the main reason why you'd want to run an anti-virus. I use Sophos, it's free and except for the very first scan it's painless--at least I can't see any detraction from performance. And yes, it did find a few viruses from that other operating system in some e-mails.
     
  11. DustinT, Apr 6, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011

    DustinT macrumors 68000

    DustinT

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #11
    I'm going to change the subject here and say that WoW performance on a current Mac Mini would be a bit frustrating to me. It will run, just not that well. Especially if you have a higher resolution monitor, you'll have issues. The new Mini's are rumored to arrive in May with the Sandy Bridge upgrades, but at this point its hard to tell if they will ship with the Intel 3000 graphics (about the same as the current generation with the Nvidia 320s) or if they will ship with the newer Amd Graphics chips which are capable of some decent gaming.

    I suppose a lot of this would depend on what your expectations are, but before I bought a Mini for gaming I'd want to make sure I'd be happy with it's performance. Even the base iMac 21" has substantially faster graphics performance than the current generation of Mini's.

    Considering the the Mini and the iMac are both no more than a couple of months away from their expected updates I think I'd strongly recommend waiting to see which is the better value for your dollar. Unless you are absolutely sure you will be happy with the performance of the current gen Mini and won't want an upgrade.
     
  12. muadebe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    #12
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-gb) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    WOW, great replies really helpful so a big thanks to all of you.
    Plenty of things to consider now before I buy the mini.
    Looking forward to using OS X now.
     
  13. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #13
  14. sOwL macrumors 6502

    sOwL

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Nerd Cave
    #14
    1) Yes. I'm using the admin account as my personal account but it is always a good idea to keep a normal account for everyday use and use the admin account only when you need it.

    2) A hardware firewall is always better but you should still use OSX firewall. I'm not sure about how your router's firewall works, but OSX's firewall is very out of the way so I'd recommend you leave it on.

    3)FileVault is data encryption on your hard drive. Do you use a laptop? If so, having FileVault enabled would mean that one could not retrieve any files from your drive without the password, in case it gets stolen. For desktops, depends on who has access to your hardware and how paranoid you are :) It will slow down reading/writing times though.

    4) No, an antivirus is not needed. The only reason I would ever scan with an antivirus is if I am suspicious about a certain file and want to be sure it won't infect another windows pc I'm transfering it to. Macs don't need antiviruses, and in the rare case that they would (e.g some new exploit came out) be sure that an update from Apple will come much sooner than an update for your antivirus software.
     
  15. munkery macrumors 68020

    munkery

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    #15
    New to Mac and interested in security? Check out the links in my sig.
     
  16. muadebe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    #16
    Bump for Edit :)

    EDIT : 11/04/2011

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the answers to my previous queries - I have a few more if you can help.

    1a) I will receive my Mac mini either today or tomorrow and I was wondering will the OSX installed be up to date ? If not whats the best way to do this as Ive read about single or combo updates - I understand the difference but from reading forums alot of people advise combo "just incase" - is combo always advised?

    2a) After initial setup I will disable wifi on the mini as I'll be using ethernet - will simply turning wifi off on the mini suffice or is more needed to secure it ?

    3a) Is it correct that OSX updates contain all needed drivers for the computer? e.g I dont need to go to the nvidia site for latest GPU drivers.

    Thanks.
     
  17. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #17
    1a) Depends on how newly built the unit you get is, which you have no control over. Either way running Software Update is fairly painless.

    2a) Short of ripping out the wireless antenna there's not much more you can do besides turning the WiFi "off." Leaving it on won't really facilitate any attacks anyway.

    3a) Usually. The built-in hardware is almost always fully supported driver-wise.
     
  18. muadebe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    #18
    Thanks for the reply

    Wifi off is all i need I was just making sure there was no wifi sharing enable by default that needed altering or turning off aswell.
     
  19. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    www.emiliana.cl/en
    #19
    Yes. It lowers the rights for standard applications and everything else, which does not require an administrator account, and applications cannot write in some directories (to intall backdoors, for example).

    Regarding the client version of Mac OS X: A firewall is only necessary if you have activated some services via the sharing preferences pane (System Preferences) or if you have installed applications which provide streaming services.

    FV encrypts a lot of stuff, which does not need encryption. For that reason i use encrypted sparse disk images (FV uses the same), and store my important files on them. You can create them with Apples Disk Utility.

    On demand suffices, if you send e-mail attachments or other files to Windows users.

    A combo updater overwrites more files with newer versions, and can therefore solve problems, which a delta update cannot solve. Btw. never move Apple-Applications or Apple-folders in subfolders! Just leave them, where they are.

    The Airport menu-command turns off the hardware (usually a broadcom-chip), so this is enough.

    Yes, that is correct. You need only the CUDA-updates, if you use applications , which require it.
     

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