Columnist Takes Common-Sense Look at OS X Security

Despite recent scares -- such as the hacking of a MacBook that involved a third-party wireless device, rather than its built-in AirPort wireless networking -- InformationWeek columnist John C. Welch on Monday published an article in which he concluded: "While you should never be blaséor deliberately ignorant of security issues, the fact is, OS X is as secure as it ever was."

He pointed out that Appleis large security updates this summer, along with all the talk of vulnerabilities in Mac OS X, are simply "the natural evolution of the operating systemis security as it becomes more popular."

While Mr. Welch acknowledged that Mac OS X isnit invulnerable to attack, he noted that, in comparison: "Early on in the history of Windows NT 4, Microsoft Office, and Internet Explorer, Microsoft made some decisions that, while not terrible from a useris point of view, created the nigh-crippling problems you see with Windows today. The worst of these is the administrator account in Windows, and the reliance of too many software packages on that account."

In contrast, Mac OS X doesnit allow users to automatically gain an equivalent level of access to the operating systemis root account, and it ships with its sharing services disabled. Mr. Welch noted: "If youire not sure as to whether you need to enable sharing, I have a general guideline that can help: If I have to ask, iShould I do this?i the answer is ino.i"

The rest of Mr. Welchis column delves into security tips that are common sense for long-time Mac OS X users but should be reviewed by anyone new to the platform.