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how to secure a MAC computer?

Posted on 2008-06-16
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Hi Experts:

I have a Mac computer that I need to make sure it is secure before I can put it on the network.
Could any one give me suggestions about what I should do to secure it?

Thanks
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Question by:changjia
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by:jhyiesla
jhyiesla earned 600 total points
ID: 21796664
Theoretically the Mac is much less susceptible to viruses and the like.  Many Mac users do not install any security suites...and although that is a pretty safe bet, I'm not sure that it's the best.

There are a number of products available for the Mac to provide protection.  Symantec males an antivirus product for the Mac MacWorld gave a good review to the DoorStop product

http://www.macworld.com/article/56784/2007/03/doorstop2.html

and I've heard good things about the line from Intego www.intego.com.

Here is a good overall guide to security software for the Mac:

http://www.firewallguide.com/macintosh.htm



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LVL 40

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by:Eoin OSullivan
Eoin OSullivan earned 600 total points
ID: 21800338
Security on a Mac is a pretty straightforward business.

1. To LOCK-DOWN the Mac you should open the System Preferences Panel and look at the SHARING preferences.
Turn OFF any services you do not want i.e. File Sharing, Web Sharing, FTP .. and particularly Remote Desktop and SSH as these allow remote control of your Mac.

2. If you wish you can TURN ON the Firewall (located in the Sharing preferences on OSX Tiger) and this will further restrict access to and from the Mac.

Apart from these two actions.. there is very little benefit in using a 3rd Party Firewall or expensive AntiVirus application.  In fact the main reason to use an antivirus such as ClamXAV which is FREE ... is to protect Windows users from themselves!!  It can happen that OSX Macs without antivirus can safely receive and open emails containing harmful code (Windows-only) and unknowingly forward it to other windows users or save the attachments to a network drive used by Windows users.  These files while completely harmless to OSX may affect Windows users.  While this is rare and not very likely .. you may wish to consider an antivirus solution for this reason.


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Accepted Solution

by:
GCC-IT earned 800 total points
ID: 22409576
I've encountered several Macs in an education environment that were sending out e-mails with harmful code to Windows users.  I've standardized on Norton AV for the Mac and highly recommend investing in this or a similar product.  I've downloaded ClamXAV, but haven't had a chance to test and compare it to Norton.

If this computer is going to be used by several people, consider creating an account for each user.  They should only be made Standard users to prevent them from using any of the Utilities or other software that may cause issues.  In a student computer lab setting, I use the Unix CHMOD command to remove acces to the Utilities folder (located within the Applications folder) for Standard users.  When a student attempts to open this folder, it tells them they don't have the proper permissions.  

Finally, make sure that you are downloading and installing the OS X updates on a regular basis in order to plug any security holes that may exist.  Although the Mac OS isn't a target at this point in time in terms of viruses and spyware, it's better to invest in the software tools to prevent any issues from arising.

If you are going to be the Administrator on the Mac, make sure to use a "strong" password.  Something with numbers, letters & symbols to prevent anyone from hacking the Admin password.
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