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  1. #1


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    New account for sandboxing?
    Before I start this thread, I'll just say, yes I know there's not many or any known virii in the wild for mac computers.
    However, I am exceptionally paranoid and would like some sort of way to test potentially 'unsafe' software.

    I'm just wondering if creating a new user account (without admin privileges) would be a way to install stuff and leave my main account safe?

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    For the "exceptionally paranoid" person, (those are your words, not mine) the best way is to have a separate test machine completely isolated by itself. Load the software on it first. It it's OK, you can then install it on your working machine.

    The method you describe above does not work in Windows. And since there are no known viruses in the wild for OS X, I don't know if it would work in OS X. But why take a chance? (again, for the exceptionally paranoid person)

    Also, please read our Sticky notice and FAQ about viruses and malware. It's located at the top of the Switcher Forum. LINK

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Just because there are no known viruses, doesn't mean there aren't exploits people can use to take control of your system and steal your credit card info.

    Pwn2own finds them in abundance every year, so yeah, every PDF, dmg and file you run has the potential to be malicious.

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
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    So, follow the advice I gave you above. There's nothing wrong with playing it safe. It's your machine, your personal info. Do what you think is right for yourself.

  5. #5

    vansmith's Avatar
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    Perhaps the most important question out of all this is "why are you testing potentially 'unsafe' software?"
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  6. #6


    Member Since
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    All software not from the app store is potentially unsafe.

  7. #7

    vansmith's Avatar
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    Who's to say that software from the App Store is always going to be safe? Complacency can be quite dangerous.

    What I'm getting at is that, on the internet, no place is completely safe. Stick to trusted sources, be smart and you should be fine.
    Important Links: Community Guidelines : Use the reputation system if you've been helped.
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  8. #8

    schweb's Avatar
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    IMHO, if you're that paranoid, you shouldn't be on the internet.
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  9. #9


    Member Since
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    Instead of calling me paranoid or questioning my reasons for wanting to do this, can anyone just tell me if it'd work?

  10. #10

    chscag's Avatar
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    No one is calling you anything that you haven't already referred to yourself. And, I believe the answer I gave you above should be sufficient to keep you safe. (It may not be practical since it requires two machines.)

    We can not honestly tell you if the solution you proposed will work. I stated that it definitely does not work on a Windows machine and may not work on your Mac. But if you feel that you'd like to create another account and use it to download and install files which you got from the internet, then go ahead and do it.

  11. #11


    Member Since
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    How about using a virtual machine as your sandbox?

  12. #12

    chscag's Avatar
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    A virtual machine running what? You can not run OS X as a VM from OS X.

  13. #13

    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    A virtual machine running what? You can not run OS X as a VM from OS X.
    Actually you can run OS X Server in a VM, the only restriction is that the VM has to be running on Apple hardware.

    Regarding the OP: your suggestion might protect you against certain malicious attacks, but if OS X were to be that badly compromised, there's no guaranteeing how well the access controls would prevent someone from getting at your stuff.

    Other suggestion: just make sure your really sensitive information is protected. Use an encrypted 1Password database or encrypted .dmg file to store your really important information and documents?

  14. #14


    Member Since
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    I'll try to answer the question posed by the OP. Although I'm new to the Mac world, I do not believe his suggested solution will work.

    Based on what I've read and my own limited experience, anytime you try to install software from any account other than the main "Administrator's" account, you must enter the administrator's account name and password. Accordingly, the installation process is the same whether you have a "new" standard account or are using your main administrator's account. Isn't this correct? If so, then opening a new account to install software actually accomplishes nothing in terms of protecting the system from malware.

  15. #15

    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomel View Post
    I'll try to answer the question posed by the OP. Although I'm new to the Mac world, I do not believe his suggested solution will work.

    Based on what I've read and my own limited experience, anytime you try to install software from any account other than the main "Administrator's" account, you must enter the administrator's account name and password. Accordingly, the installation process is the same whether you have a "new" standard account or are using your main administrator's account. Isn't this correct? If so, then opening a new account to install software actually accomplishes nothing in terms of protecting the system from malware.
    That depends on the software you're trying to install.
    If it's just a .dmg file with an application inside, you can drop that application into any of the user folders and run it just fine.

    What you won't be able to do is drag it to the "Applications" folder, as that lives under /Macintosh HD/Applications, which is not restricted to just that user.

    An application installer usually places the app into that apps folder, which is why you'd be prompted for the admin password...

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