Apple’s Mac OS X operating system has been rapidly gaining in popularity among security professionals. This can most likely be attributed to its excellent GUI, BSD underpinnings, and increased focus on security features. Apple has taken a proactive stance in developing a more secure OS, and is working hand-in-hand with the BSD community to explore secure standards for the BSD family of operating systems.
The underlying structure of Mac OS X uses many BSD-derived components. Because of this, the configuration, scripts, and firewall are very similar to FreeBSD. File paths are often different, but the concepts remain the same. The examples and walkthroughs in this chapter work on both Mac OS X Versions 10.1 and 10.2.
Mac OS X installs with a pre-compiled kernel that contains support for everything needed to use the OS as a wireless client. There is no need to compile a custom kernel, but if you do want to experiment with different options for the kernel, visit http://www.opendarwin.org to get started. The Mac OS X kernel builds are derived from the OpenDarwin kernel but changed somewhat before release by Apple. Building a custom kernel is a path for the more daring, and technical, user.
Support for the Apple AirPort wireless card is completely integrated into Mac OS X. Configuration is accomplished through the System Preferences dialog boxes. The settings and options are primarily contained ...