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Hot or Not: What You Need to Know to Keep Mac OS X Secure

SC-Mag-Hot-or-Not.gifWhen it comes to security, Apple isn’t sitting still. Amol Sarwate, guest columnist for SC Magazine’s Hot or Not column looks at some of the new features inherent in OS X 10.5 that help keep the system secure. According to Apple, these security enhancements were added to 10.5, released last fall:

  • Tagging and first-run warning: Mac OS X 10.5 marks files that are downloaded to help prevent users from inadvertently running malicious downloaded applications. 
  • Runtime protection: New technologies such as execute disable, library randomization, and sandboxing help prevent attacks that try to hijack or modify system software. 
  • Improved firewall: After the new application firewall is activated, the firewall configures itself so that users get the benefits of firewall protection without having to understand the details of network ports and protocols.
  • Mandatory access control: These enforce restrictions on access to system resources. Not even a compromised "root" user can change some settings.
  • Application signing: This enables users to verify the integrity and identity of applications on the Mac. 
  • Improved secure connectivity: Virtual private network (VPN) support has been enhanced to connect to more of the most popular VPN servers-without additional software.

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