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robotboy175 01-23-2010 11:26 AM

What Are Your Security Settings?
 
still working my way around - just wondering how paranoid mac users are! :Smirk:

i do have the firewall up, that's about it.

anything else i need to check?

cwa107 01-23-2010 12:27 PM

I would say turn the firewall on (particularly if you're not behind a router or if you're using a public network) and put it in "Stealth" mode. That's about it.

Stealth mode keeps your machine from responding to port scans. You can enable it by going to System Preferences => Security => Firewall tab => Advanced button.

chscag 01-23-2010 03:27 PM

Quote:

anything else i need to check?
In addition to the advice by cw107, if you are using a router and running wireless, use the strongest possible encryption method that you can. Preferably WPA2.

Regards.

chas_m 01-24-2010 03:02 AM

Actually, turn the software firewall OFF. You already have a superior hardware firewall in place -- it's called your router. Your software firewall won't stop any port scans or DDOS attacks, because that's already been stopped at your router. Don't take my word for it, check your logs. Compare the ones from your software firewall to your hardware one.

You should however, as chscaq suggests, encrypt your wireless network if you're using one. WPA2 is recommended, and you can also limit the machines that can access it by MAC address (if you're unlikely to have or want guest users accessing it), and turn off the broadcasting of the SSID name (the wireless network's name).

For those in apartment complexes especially, these steps are useful.

Apart from that, it's more common sense: don't pirate software, don't fall for scareware, avoid porn and gambling sites (or use a proxy if you must), don't OK the install of anything you don't recall downloading.

cwa107 01-24-2010 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chas_m (Post 986285)
Actually, turn the software firewall OFF. You already have a superior hardware firewall in place -- it's called your router. Your software firewall won't stop any port scans or DDOS attacks, because that's already been stopped at your router. Don't take my word for it, check your logs. Compare the ones from your software firewall to your hardware one.

That assumes the machine never leaves the internal network. If it does, particularly if it travels to public networks (at a Starbucks or a Hotel, for example), you're going to want it turned on.

It won't hurt anything to have both a software and hardware firewall turned on, so it's better to be safe than sorry IMO.

bobtomay 01-24-2010 11:33 AM

We have also seen a lot of network issues related to cutouts, intermittent access and general access problems with the SSID turned off that disappeared once turned back on.

There shouldn't be any issue having SSID on with anyone using WPA2.
The real thieves/hackers/etc will be able to find the network in any case.

toMACsh 01-24-2010 03:01 PM

My security settings are classified information. Sorry.

If you tell anyone I posted here, I'll deny it.

OnceYouGoMac 01-24-2010 04:58 PM

I have the firewall on in full stealth mode. To the poster above, how do I turn off those settings you mentioned?

chas_m 01-25-2010 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cwa107 (Post 986470)
That assumes the machine never leaves the internal network. If it does, particularly if it travels to public networks (at a Starbucks or a Hotel, for example), you're going to want it turned on.

Nope.

Starbucks uses a router as well. So does the hotel. Indeed, so does everyone with broadband. This is simply not an issue for Mac owners, because the things you should be conscious of regarding security on a public network (unencrypted passwords, etc) are not dealt with by a software firewall. At all.

Quote:

It won't hurt anything to have both a software and hardware firewall turned on,
Actually, it does. Conflicts between ports open/closed on the software vs hardware firewall are a constant issue with people who want to do things like use iChat, or p2p, FTP, VPN, Hulu, or certain SMTP setups (and that's just for starters). On a basic level (surfing, most email) you're not likely to have a problem with two firewalls on -- but beyond that you can easily and quickly run into conflicts. So really its best to just keep the software firewall off all the time (unless you are somehow using a highspeed connection directly and no router & its attendant hardware firewall are present -- in that case, yes you should use a software firewall).

This is WHY Apple does not ship OS X with the software firewall turned on.

Here's a couple of Windows-based (and remember, security is WAY more of an issue with them than it is with us) responses to the question "do I need the software firewall if I have a hardware firewall?"

Do i need a software firewall if i have a router? - Neowin Forums

Do I Need a Firewall?

You will see this basic answer again and again: if you (or the hotspot you are connecting to is using a router that's not 20 years old, then it is already doing everything a firewall can do for you. More firewall ≠ better.

TattooedMac 01-25-2010 07:16 AM

For my security Little Snitch works well for me ....

miles01110 01-25-2010 09:26 AM

I use strong passwords.

mbohn 01-25-2010 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by miles01110 (Post 987074)
I use strong passwords.

Black Holes and Snowy Mountains The 14 People You Meet in the Apple Store

Too funny. I don't spend too much time in Apple stores to confirm if this is true but it sure is entertaining. Thanks, Miles.

cwa107 01-25-2010 09:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chas_m (Post 987032)
Nope.

Starbucks uses a router as well. So does the hotel. Indeed, so does everyone with broadband. This is simply not an issue for Mac owners, because the things you should be conscious of regarding security on a public network (unencrypted passwords, etc) are not dealt with by a software firewall. At all.

Sure, but if someone is probing you on a public network (i.e. one of the other machines on the same LAN), your computer is going to be responsive. Additionally, if someone happens to join a LAN and is infected with a worm that your machine is vulnerable to, you're at risk.

In my professional experience as a network admin for more than a decade now, I'll have to humbly disagree with you on this point. Sure, if you're having connectivity problems, by all means, don't run a software firewall. But I can tell you that I've had my software firewall turned on and in stealth mode both on my Windows machines and my Macs for quite a long time now and never have I had an issue that was directly attributable to the firewall being turned on. With that said, I have had to repair customer machines infected by worms that exploited a zero-day vulnerability in Windows that would otherwise have been safe if they were firewalled at the client. In particular, the CodeRed and Blaster worms should have been a wake-up call to any Windows user considering not running a software firewall. Those worms were the reason that MS finally forced the firewall on by default when they released SP2 for XP.

In my opinion, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - especially with Apple's lackadaisical attitude toward patching security vulnerabilities.

technologist 01-25-2010 10:11 AM

I also agree that you should have a host-based (software) firewall in addition to a network firewall. A network firewall only protects you from the Internet...not from other machines on a local network behind that network firewall.

It's less of a problem if you have a desktop at home and have a small network of computers you control. But if you're a notebook user, or a student on a university ResNet, or a corporate user on an internal network, then you should protect yourself against the other network users.

chas_m 01-25-2010 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by technologist (Post 987105)
I also agree that you should have a host-based (software) firewall in addition to a network firewall. A network firewall only protects you from the Internet...not from other machines on a local network behind that network firewall.

Uh, no.

1. The software firewall in Mac OS X does the same thing as a hardware firewall, only less well. So it will not protect you from local machines unless a local machine launches a DDOS attack. Which is pretty ridiculous, you could just walk over to them and throw your Starbucks latte at them if they did that. :)

2. You don't need protecting from local machines. A Mac with its default setup (all sharing turned off) is ALREADY IN STEALTH MODE. But don't take my word for it, test it yourself. Turn off your software firewall, and go here:
https://www.grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2
Run all the tests you want. You are "stealth" on all ports (in other words, no packets come back from "sniffing" tests).

And before anyone says "well that's a windows site," ahem -- TCP is TCP. Ports is ports. No difference.

Bottom line: if you're feeling paranoid, rather than hide behind multiple firewalls, you should probably ask yourself some hard questions about your internet behaviour.

If you want to run a software firewall to make yourself feel good, be my guest. Unless you are running certain specific services (like FTP, VPN, etc), having both hardware&software firewalls on may not cause any issues.

But don't pretend you are getting any "extra protection."


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