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Security Issues

When you enable file sharing over the Internet with a broadband connection, you are opening your Mac up to potential security risks. To help protect yourself, follow these simple guidelines.

  • If you have multiple users, don’t assign Administrator status unnecessarily. In fact, if you want one extra step of protection, create yourself a non-Admin user account and use it regularly, even if you are the only user. Only log on as the Administrator when you need to install software or change system-wide settings.

  • Sharing files through your iDisk and Mac.com’s HomePage (see pages xxi–xxii) is quite safe since no one gets anywhere near your Mac—the files are all on the Apple server.

  • General file sharing as explained in Chapters 34 and 35 is relatively safe. Just be sure to assign the privileges appropriately.

  • Web sharing is fairly safe as well because there are no passwords that can be taken, and you’re only exposing one folder on your Mac. Just make sure you don’t put any files into the Sites folder or Web Sharing Documents folder that you don’t want to share. You can assign few or no privileges (explained in Chapter 34) to the Sites folders to even further limit access to them.

  • Enabling FTP access is rather risky because passwords are not encrypted as they go through the network. Make sure every user has a safe and different password, and uncheck the “Allow FTP access” box except when you need it.

  • The Remote Login feature is the riskiest form of file sharing because it allows users to connect to your Mac through a terminal emulator (which years ago I dubbed the “terminator emulator”). I didn’t even explain how to do it in this chapter.


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