1.4. Weighing Convenience against Security

Imagine a man who's paranoid about the security of his home and, as a result, installs six deadbolt locks on his front door, each with a different key. All those locks can increase his security in that they provide additional barriers to a would-be intruder. However, they come with a trade-off: The owner himself must also go through the bother of carrying all those keys and spending the time required to unlock all those deadbolts every time he comes home. He has traded a certain amount of convenience in exchange for a certain amount of security.

On your Mac, you must often — although not always — give up some convenience to get security. If you protect a sensitive file by encrypting it with a password, you make extra work for yourself (typing in the password whenever you want to access the file) in order to get the benefit of preventing anyone else from being able to read it. Although it may take you just a few seconds to unlock the file, it could take someone else hours (or much longer) to guess or crack your password. So, at least the inconvenience you create for yourself is quite small compared to the inconvenience you create for a potential intruder!

Sometimes, the inconvenience of security is so small as to be insignificant, whereas the benefit is great. It's no more difficult to set up a WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) password than a WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) password when configuring your wireless network, but the former provides ...

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