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Internet Security for Your Macintosh: A Guide for the Rest of Us

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Internet Security for Your Macintosh: A Guide for the Rest of Us


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  • Copyright 2002
  • Dimensions: 7-1/2 X 9-1/4
  • Pages: 408
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-201-74969-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-201-74969-4

Within the past few years, permanent connections to the Internet (cable modems, DSL) have become available for home users in need of faster and more reliable Internet access. And peer-to-peer networking, made popular by the rapid growth of Napster, is everywhere. But these technological advances also open up your computer to security risks. While there are many books available on Internet and network security, there are virtually no books on Macintosh security for home users. Topics covered include: Internet basics, general security principles, physical security, Mac OS security features, viruses, getting started with personal firewalls, analyzing and reacting to security threats, Mac OS X, multiple-Mac households, and Macs at work. Written mainly for Internet-connected Macintosh home users, especially those on permanent connections like DSL and cable modems.


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Chapter 2 Study

Chapter 13 Study

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OS X Updates Other Updates Chapter 2 Study Chapter 13 Study Chapter 7 Excerpt

Sample Content

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Securing Mac OS X


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Chapter 7

Table of Contents

1. Getting Started.

About This Book. About the Authors.


2. What, Me Worry?

More People on the Net More Often. More People Doing More Important Things. More and More Attacks. Why Me? It Gets Worse. Broadband Connections Are Especially Vulnerable. But I Use a Mac! What, Me Worry Too Much?

3. Physical Security.

Things that Can Go Wrong. Physical Security First. Things Will Go Wrong Anyway. Backup options. Good backup procedures.

4. Managing Passwords.

More and More Passwords. Web-site passwords. Passwords for other services. Choosing Good Passwords. Making a password hard to guess. Making a password easy to remember. Keeping Your Passwords Secret. Managing Your Passwords. Using the keychain. Other password-management techniques. Dealing with forgotten passwords. Passwords in the Future. Digital certificates. Other password options.

5. Safe Surfing.

Safe Web Browsing. Secure and insecure Web pages. Think before you type. Other Web-security issues. Safe E-mail. Sending your e-mail password. Sending e-mail. Sending e-mail securely. Receiving attachments. Other issues with receiving e-mail. Safety with Other Internet Applications.

6. Internet Basics.

Infrastructure. Protocols. IP Addresses and Host Names. Static versus dynamic IP addresses. Public versus private IP addresses. Subnet masks Routers. Host names and domain names. The Domain Name System. Port Numbers. The TCP/IP Control Panel. Configuring your Mac for cable-modem access with a dynamic IP address. Configuring your Mac for cable-modem access with a static IP address. Configuring your Mac for dial-up connection. TCP/IP configurations. Mac OS X.


7. Principles of Securing Internet Services.

Using Versus Providing Internet Services. Levels of Security. AppleTalk and TCP/IP. Users & Groups.

8. Securing Common Mac OS Internet Services.

File Sharing. Risk. Security measures. Web Sharing. Risk. Security measures. Program Linking. Risk. Security measures.

9. Securing Other Mac OS Internet Services.

Remote Access. Risk. Security measures. Apple Network Assistant. Risk. Security measures. SNMP. Risk. Security measures. Apple File Security.

10. Securing Third-Party Internet Services.

Timbuktu. Risk. Security measures. Retrospect. Risk. Security measures. FileMaker Pro. Risk. Security measures. ShareWay IP. Risk. Security measures. Other Applications. Risk. Security measures.


11. Viruses.

What Viruses Are. How they work. Where they come from. Types of viruses. What Viruses Can Do. Unintentional damage. Intentional damage. What You Can Do About Them. Going beyond safe surfing. Getting an antivirus application. Installing an antivirus application. Using an antivirus application.

12. Personal Firewalls.

Firewall Basics. Firewall types. How firewalls work. Stateful firewalls. Features. Protocols supported. Firewall feedback. Other kinds of attacks. Multihoming support. Outgoing-packet protection. Ease-of-use features. Configuring a Personal Firewall. Allowing access to specific TCP/IP services. Allowing access to all TCP/IP services. Protecting UDP services. Denying access to ICMP. Logging. Setting up notification. Using stealth mode. Configuring a firewall for specific services. Downloading files. Testing a Personal Firewall. How to test your firewall. Testing Mac OS and Multiple Users. Troubleshooting a Firewall. TCP problems. UDP problems. ICMP problems. Network Address Translation. Services and Port Numbers.

13. Analyzing and Responding to Security Threats.

Generating Useful Data. Log files. Log-file format. Real-time information. Detecting Suspicious Activity. Establish a baseline. What to look for. Real-time monitoring. Log-file analysis tools. Finding patterns in your firewall.s log. Is it malicious? Investigating and Reporting Suspicious Activity. Finding network administrators. Creating the e-mail. If you can't contact the network administrator. Understanding Common Access Attempts. The Most Common Attacks: A Case Study.


14. Just Say No to FTP.

What Is FTP? Why Is FTP So Bad? Negative security. How FTP decreases security. A real-world scenario: hacking a Web site through FTP. Things can get a lot worse. What Can You Use in Place of FTP? The Macintosh alternative. Windows alternatives. Other alternatives. If you must use FTP.

15. Home Networking.

Network Address Translation. How NAT works. Concerns about NAT gateways. All-in-One Home Networking Devices. General Security Precautions for Home Networks.

16. Wireless Networking.

How AirPort Works. How AirPort Is Used. Securing AirPort. Too much freedom. Multiple levels of defense. Securing the base station. Public access.

17. Internet Security at Work.

Security Goes Both Ways. Centralizing Security. Network-global firewalls. Remote network access. Dial-in remote access. Virtual private networks. Directory services. Network administration. Windows Machines. Interacting with Windows machines. Preventing cross-platform contamination. Securing Macintosh Servers. General server security. WebSTAR security. AppleShare IP security. Security suites for WebSTAR and AppleShare IP. Mac OS X Server. Policies and Procedures. Inside jobs. Formal security policy. Expect the unexpected. Macintosh Networking in Transition. Macintosh network security in transition. From AppleTalk to IP. From Mac OS to Mac OS X. Transition management.

18. Securing Mac OS X.

The Mac in Transition. Mac OS X General Overview. Unix. Unix for the rest of us. Mac OS X Networking Overview. Client overview. Services overview. Mac OS X Internet Security. What, me worry? Physical security. Managing passwords. Safe surfing. Mac OS X's model for securing services. Securing Mac OS X services. Viruses. Personal firewalls. Detecting and responding to security threats. Just say no to FTP. Home networking. Wireless networking. Internet security at work.



Updates & Corrections

Mac OS X 10.0.4

Mac OS X 10.1

Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar)

Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther)

General Mac OS X update:

A somewhat theoretical security hole has been discovered with Mac OS X if DHCP is used to acquire an IP address (as it is through most ISPs). If someone has access to your network (either physically, or through AirPort), they could pretend they were your network's DHCP server and supply your Mac with faulty authentication information (through an LDAP server that they set up for this purpose) which might allow them to log in to services on your Mac with user names and passwords of their choosing. Such "spoofing" is quite difficult (to say nothing of actually obtaining access to your network), but is theoretically possible.

Apple recommends a simple solution to the problem, which is to configure your Mac to not accept authentication information from an LDAP server, which is quite easy to do. Simply run the Directory Access utility and either disable LDAP entirely or LDAP's use of a DHCP-supplied server. See

Panther (10.3) update:

The following additional security features have been added in Panther (Mac OS X 10.3)

- FileVault: the system can automatically encrypt your entire home directory so that, even if someone has physical access to your machine, they cannot look at your private files. There have, however, been reports of instabilities associated with FileVault in early versions of Panther (10.3 and 10.3.1).

- Password rating in Keychain Access: Keychain access now examines your keychain password as you type it in, and rates that password for you as to how secure it is. The rating is based on qualities we describe in chapter 4 of the book.

- Long password support: some services, including log in, now fully support passwords longer than 8 characters.

- IPsec: the IPsec standard is now supported for VPN access.

- WPA (AirPort Extreme and 10.3 only): if you are using the AirPort Extreme base station, you can now utilize WPA (WiFi Protected Access) to better protect your wireless network and encrypt your data. WPA addresses security weaknesses discovered in WEP (Wired-equivalent privacy) and is highly recommended. However all machines on the wireless network must be WPA-capable.

- iDisk: iDisk is even better integrated with the system. The system can maintain a local copy of your iDisk, increasing performance and allowing you to copy things to and from your iDisk even when you're not online. When you next do connect to the Internet, the local copy is synchronized with your actual iDisk.

Chapter: 18, Securing Mac OS X
Section: Various (see below)
Page: Various (see below)Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) introduces still more changes and additional security issues:

1. Section: Physical Security, Page 357-359

Manual login is now enabled through the "Accounts" System Preferences window.

The "Screen Saver" System Preferences window is now called "Screen Effects."

2. Section: Safe Surfing, page 362

The Mail app now includes a number of secure e-mail features, such as encryption through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and outgoing mail authentication through SMTP.

3. Section: Mac OS X's model for securing services, page 364

You now create accounts using the "Accounts" System Preferences window.

4. Section: Securing Mac OS X Services, pages 365-370

New services include Windows File Sharing, Apple Events (added under Mac OS X 10.1) and Printer Sharing. It is especially important to keep Windows File Sharing disabled (which it is by default) unless absolutely necessary. Since Windows file sharing is one of the most often-hacked services on the Net, if you need to enable it, be sure to use a personal firewall to restrict access to only those users who need it.

Mac OS X 10.2 also includes the new iChat application. iChat enables simple chatting (instant messaging) with other 10.2 users as well as with anyone using the AOL Instant Messenger application.
Communication over iChat should be considered as insecure.
Additionally, any files exchanged could well contain viruses.

5. Section: Viruses, page 371

Apple now includes McAfee's Virex anti-virus protection as part of a .Mac (previously iTools) account.

6. Section: Personal firewalls, pages 371-374

A very basic user interface to Mac OS X's built-in ipfirewall functionality is now included as a tab in the Sharing System Preferences window, providing an easy-to-use built-in firewall solution. This solution provides no logging capabilities, however, making it impossible to detect and respond to most security threats. It also does not provide the ability to block (or allow) access by specific IP addresses. In most cases you will want to look at one of the many alternative solutions available.

7. Section: Just say No to FTP, page 377

Since Windows File Sharing is now included in the Sharing System Preferences window, it is now even easier to avoid the use of FTP for file sharing.

8. Section: Home Networking, page 378

NAT gateway functionality is now included through the "Internet" tab in the Sharing System Preferences window, letting you easily share an Internet connection with other machines on your home network.

9. Section: Wireless Networking, page 378

Full support for administrating AirPort base stations is now included. Access to AirPort networks in available through an icon in the menu bar, as well as through the Internet Connect application.

10. Section: Internet Security at Work, page 379

Mac OS X 10.2 now includes built-in VPN capabilities, through an option in the Internet Connect application. Currently only the PPTP protocol is supported.

Chapter: 18, Securing Mac OS X
Section: Various (see below)
Page: Various (see below)

Mac OS X 10.1 introduces some changes and additional security issues:

  1. Section: Physical Security, Page 357. ALERT!! IDISK UNDER MAC OS X 10.1 IS SIGNIFICANTLY LESS SECURE THAN UNDER PREVIOUS VERSIONS OF MAC OS X. In Mac OS X 10.1 your iDisk is accessed using the WebDAV protocol (see "Other alternatives" in chapter 14) rather than AFP. Like AFP, WebDAV is supposed to not send your password over the Internet, so in that respect it should be as secure as AFP. However the implementation of WebDAV in Mac OS X 10.1, as used with iDisk, violates the WebDAV specification and sends your password in a way that makes it easy for hackers to discover. USING IDISK UNDER MAC OS X 10.1 COULD EASILY RESULT IN DISCLOSURE OF YOUR PASSWORD AND FULL ACCESS TO YOUR IDISK BY OTHERS. NOTE: This problem is fixed in the Mac OS 10.1.1 update. IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE IDISK, BE SURE TO INSTALL THE 10.1.1 UPDATE.

  2. Section: Client Overview, Page: 351. Mac OS X 10.1 implements access to AppleShare servers, through the "Connect to Server" menu item, over AppleTalk as well as TCP/IP.

  3. Section: Client Overview, Page: 352. Mac OS X 10.1 additionally includes an SMB client, allowing the Mac OS X machine to connect directly to Windows machines running the Windows built-in file sharing, or to Windows servers. See "Windows machines" in chapter 17.

  4. Section: Services Overview, Page: 355. Mac OS X 10.1 includes Program Linking capabilities, over TCP/IP only (not over AppleTalk). Program Linking is enabled through the Network System Preferences window.

  5. Section: Wireless networking, Page: 378. Mac OS X 10.1 includes full support for administering AirPort base stations.

Chapter: 18, Securing Mac OS X
Section: Personal firewalls
Page: 374

With Mac OS X 10.0.4, the built-in ipfirewall software protects the Classic environment as well as native Mac OS X. So any personal firewall based on ipfirewall (such as Brickhouse or Norton Personal Firewall for Mac OS X) should protect Classic with this and subsequent releases of Mac OS X.

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