Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

BarkingGhost

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 18, 2011
231
3
Atlanta+35 miles
With recent news on growing email scams, ransom-ware, etc., the wife is wishing the ability to check email on something other than 2011 27" i7 iMac. She is asking I buy or build a computer so she can check email on it, removing anything suspicious, and if an infection takes place then it is isolated to this new computer.

I can build a Hackintosh or buy a Mini and setup the same client on it, leaving out the SMTP stuff, thus limiting any infection. If infected I could simply perform a Nuke & Pave on OS X and restore anything from TM.

The POP server mailboxes are all configured to keep copies on server for X days, so she can check twice on the two computers in X days knowing she isn't losing anything. Still, not sure if this is the best approach.

If she opens an email or visits a website that spawns ransom-ware, which tends to encrypt personal files, can this occur onto TM files as well?
 

blueroom

macrumors 603
Feb 15, 2009
6,381
26
Toronto, Canada
Cryptolocker doesn't affect OSX. Gmail doesn't allow executables in the email so that's safe. Browsing infected web sites also doesn't affect OSX.

If you want a hardware solution this might work. A Synology NAS running an email server and virus scanner. It'll also function as a TM plus can be used to make backups. Synology also has a pretty handy photo web server.
 

BarkingGhost

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 18, 2011
231
3
Atlanta+35 miles
The wife isn't using Gmail, or any other free email service. She has a hosted domain with many mailboxes on it.

I'll need to test the part of infected websites not functional on OS X. But then again, that is why I play in Hackintosh and have a test machine for such things. :D
 

Tumbleweed666

macrumors 68000
Mar 20, 2009
1,755
130
Near London, UK.
I think it's wholly unnecessary, but assuming you are doing to do it anyway, why not just run email in a vm in the Mac? Get a copy of VirtualBox and run Linux in it.
 
Last edited:

mtngoatjoe

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2008
258
41
With recent news on growing email scams, ransom-ware, etc., the wife is wishing the ability to check email on something other than 2011 27" i7 iMac. She is asking I buy or build a computer so she can check email on it, removing anything suspicious, and if an infection takes place then it is isolated to this new computer.

I can build a Hackintosh or buy a Mini and setup the same client on it, leaving out the SMTP stuff, thus limiting any infection. If infected I could simply perform a Nuke & Pave on OS X and restore anything from TM.

The POP server mailboxes are all configured to keep copies on server for X days, so she can check twice on the two computers in X days knowing she isn't losing anything. Still, not sure if this is the best approach.

If she opens an email or visits a website that spawns ransom-ware, which tends to encrypt personal files, can this occur onto TM files as well?
I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but the odds are so low that I don't see it being an issue. That's part of the reason we're all using Macs, right?

You're probably better off ensuring you have a proper backup system in place. You could even keep a clone of your drive stored offline so that if something drastic does happen, you can boot from your clone and be good-to-go.

Also, if some files are super sensitive, turn on File Vault or store them on a self-encrypting hard drive.

But don't forget, if you secure your data with a password, you need to remember the password. And if your right the password down, then how secure is that? And if you don't write it down, and you don't tell anyone the password, and then suffer memory loss (because of brain injury, tumor, aneurysm, or whatever), you've just screwed yourself out of all your data.

Pick your poison.
 

Kelmon

macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2005
725
0
United Kingdom
I think it's wholly unnecessary, but assuming you are doing to do it anyway, why not just run email in a vm in the Mac? Get a copy of VirtualBox and run Linux in it.

I was largely thinking the same thing but rather than VirtualBox I was thinking of Parallels Desktop so that you can create a Mac OS VM, so at least everything would be nice and familiar.

I tend to think that the whole proposal is nuts and kneejerk reaction but if I was going to do the same then a VM would probably be the way I'd do it.
 

Tumbleweed666

macrumors 68000
Mar 20, 2009
1,755
130
Near London, UK.
I was largely thinking the same thing but rather than VirtualBox I was thinking of Parallels Desktop so that you can create a Mac OS VM, so at least everything would be nice and familiar.

I tend to think that the whole proposal is nuts and kneejerk reaction but if I was going to do the same then a VM would probably be the way I'd do it.

I did think of that as well, upsides of Parallels are, its all the same as you are used to , upsides of Linux are, much less likely someone would write a cryptolocker equivalent for that than OSX, even if they did there is no way some rogue app like that could then get from Linux to OSX, and it's free.

Given the somewhat OTT reason for this setup in the first place, I thought the extra security of Linux and the difference to osx would be an advantage. But if merely having a separate quarantined machine is enough, then Parallels might be the way to go, and being familiar a big benefit.

Ps to the OP, don't forget the best protection against cryptolocker and similar is rock solid backup, which you should have anyway.
 

BarkingGhost

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 18, 2011
231
3
Atlanta+35 miles
Just a follow-up ... I had no luck with VirtualBox with OS X as the host. I tried a simple Windows 7 install and I just could not get it to work. I tried it under the wife's iMac and under a couple of Hackintosh boxes.

What is strange was that I installed Linux Mint 16 on one of my Hackintosh boxes and then VirtualBox. The software manager found VB 4.3.0 and I installed it. It reported a newer version was available (4.3.6), but I declined--even though that was the version I installed under OS X.

Anyway, with some minor investigative work I was able to install Windows 7 in a VM under LM16. Just no luck with the OS X.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.