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Protect your Mac using an Open Firmware banner
Authored by: cmdahler on Jan 04, '05 09:36:43AM

Just pointing out the fact that setting an OF password doesn't really do diddly to protect your files. It may keep your average joe from being able to use your computer, but there are a couple of ways around the OF password to get at your sensitive stuff.

1. Just pull the hard drive out and mount it on some other computer.

2. Remove or add memory to the computer. This activates a quirk in OF that puts it into a mode in which the PRAM can be reset with Option-Command-O-F. After the PRAM is reset three times, OF password protection is removed.

3. If your computer is swiped by someone who previously had access to it by logging in and was able to get administrative privileges (say, a co-worker), using the Terminal command "sudo nvram -p" will display the entire contents of OF, including the OF password. The password is not cryptographically stored - it's just presented in hexadecimal form.

All of this underscores one of the fundamentals of computer security: no matter how secure your computer may be, if someone gets physical access to it for even a short time, you're hosed. If you've got sensitive data, put it on a FireWire drive or other removable storage device like a USB keychain drive and either use FileVault or PGPDisk to strongly encrypt it, and don't ever let that storage device out of your sight.

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Protect your Mac using an Open Firmware banner
Authored by: Raven on Jan 04, '05 10:02:27AM

The fact remains that the average person who will find your computer will not know Macs and neither will his/her friends...
But just to add to the "putting the HD in another computer" part... Just use filevault... It'll make it alot harder to get to your files even if they do get onto your computer....

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Bad attitude
Authored by: porkchop_d_clown on Jan 04, '05 10:05:43AM

I'm sorry but this is like saying that there's no point in locking your bicycle because the thief might have bolt cutters.

A bios password isn't perfect but it is still an obstacle to be overcome.

Everyone loves a clown, but no one will lend him money!

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Bad attitude
Authored by: Oops on Jan 04, '05 12:29:55PM

I agree with porkchop_d_clown. My father had a way of saying this: "It'll keep the honest person honest." That never made sense to me as a young kid who saw things as very black and white (the way kids do), but it does now that I am older.

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