Chapter 13. Accounts, Parental Controls, & Security

In an era when security is the hottest high-tech buzzword, Apple was smart to make it a focal point for Mac OS X. It was already virus-free and better protected from Internet attacks than Windows. But Mac OS X 10.6 is the most impenetrable Mac system yet, filled with new defenses against the dark arts. 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

Like the Unix under its skin (and also like Windows), Mac OS X was designed from the ground up to be a multiple-user operating system. That is, you can set up your Mac OS X so that everyone must log in—click your name, type your password—when the computer turns on (Figure 13-1).

Upon doing so, you discover the Macintosh universe just as you left it, including your documents, files, and folders; your preference settings in every program you use; your Web browser bookmarks and preferred home page; icons on the desktop and in the Dock; email account(s), including personal information and mailboxes; your personally installed programs and fonts; your choice of programs that launch automatically at startup; and so on.

This system lets different people use it throughout the day without disrupting one another’s files and settings. It also protects the Mac from getting fouled up by mischievous (or bumbling) ...

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