Excellent OSX Internet security article
There’s an excellent article in today’s InformationWeek entitled “Has Apple Lost Its Security Shine?” The answer is a very definitive “not even close,” but the article still contains a number of very good Mac security tips.
Here are some key points from the article, written by long-time Mac IT guy John Welch:
  1.  While you should never be blasé or deliberately ignorant of security issues, the fact is, OS X is as secure as it ever was. What you're seeing is the natural evolution of the operating system's security as it becomes more popular.
  2.  Mac OS X is, out of the box, a very secure OS. It is, however, not magically secure. While some Mac users like to propagate the myth of "Mac OS X's perfect security," the fact is that like any other well-designed OS, Mac OS X is highly resistant, but not invulnerable, to attack.
  3.  The truth is, all the malware for Mac OS X thus far has been rather lame, and not much of a danger to anyone who practices a few common-sense steps. The real threats in the Mac world are complacency and foolish behavior on the part of users.
The article then goes on to list four “easy things that you can do to keep yourself safe.” Although perhaps not the four most important things, these are all certainly quite good ideas.
  1.  Stay away from the Sharing preference pane unless you need to share files. Simply stated, unless you need to share files with someone, don't enable file sharing.
  2.  Don't download strange software. That's not to say "never download anything without a full source code review," but try to be sure of your sources.
  3.  Think before you enter a password. While many applications ask you to enter an administrator password, particularly during an installation, you shouldn't just do so because you were asked.
  4.  Stay up to date on security patches. While you may not want to apply security patches the minute they're available (hey, bugs happen), I'd not wait more than a week to do it.
Monday, September 18, 2006