It's a sad but true fact that there are people out there who steal or cause mischief. In the Internet Age, they now have incredible reach, able to damage thousands and even millions of computers by using all sorts of technology collectively known as malware: viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, and more. Some of these folks even reach over the Internet or via other networks directly into your Mac to steal or damage data. And then there's the old-fashioned thief who simply steals your Mac, making all its private contents accessible — and some of that information could be valuable for identity thieves or business competitors.
Fortunately, there are many ways to protect your Mac. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard comes with some protection tools, and simply by setting various functions correctly, you can secure many parts of your Mac, as well. For those security areas not addressed within Mac OS X itself, there are applications available to protect you.
So what are the areas of vulnerability? There are four key ones:
The Mac itself. Someone could steal your Mac (or you might lose it and it is never returned by the person who finds it) to get a free or salable computer and any installed ...