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Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 12. Accounts, Parental Controls, and Security

In an era when security is the hottest high-tech buzzword, Apple was smart to make security a focal point for Leopard. Mac OS X was already virus-free and better protected from Internet attacks than Windows. But Mac OS X 10.5 is the most impenetrable Mac system yet, filled with new defenses against the dark arts.

You'll spot big and small security enhancements all over Leopard and the programs that accompany it. This chapter covers the whole range of them.

On the premise that the biggest security threat of all comes from other people in your home or office, though, the most important security feature in Mac OS X is the accounts system.

Introducing Accounts

The concept of user accounts is central to Mac OS X's security approach. Like the Unix under its skin (and also like Windows XP and Vista), Mac OS X is designed from the ground up to be a multiple-user operating system. You can configure a Mac OS X machine so that everyone must log in—that is, you have to click or type your name and type in a password—when the computer turns on (Figure 12-1).

Upon doing so, you discover the Macintosh universe just as you left it, including these elements:

  • Your documents, files, and folders.

  • Your preference settings in every program you use:Web browser bookmarks and preferred home page; desktop picture, screen saver, and language; icons on the desktop and in the Dock—and the size and position of the Dock itself; and so on.

  • Email account(s), including ...

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