Apple Computers stresses as part of its advertising campaign the solid security and nature of OS X. One of the main messages that Apple wants consumers to take away is that Macintosh computers are secure, they don’t get viruses, and they just work.
One of the main features on each Mac to help keep it secure is the built in OS X Firewall. However, many times the firewall software is turned off by default. For example, after installing a fresh version of OS X Snow Leopard I checked to see how secure my system was setup. What I found was that the OS X Firewall was turned off by default.
The Importance of a Firewall
A firewall is a set of software that helps control what can and cannot be accessed on a computer or other device from external sources. Sometimes firewalls are included in computers while additional firewalls can be set at the network level to help keep a collection of computers secure.
Firewalls block unauthorized access to data and other files, or filter through only the applications and individuals with the proper credentials to access the data they should have access to.
Mac OS X has a built in firewall to help keep your data an information safe.
OS X Firewall
The Firewall included in OS X can be accessed and configured through system preferences. To setup OS X Firewall:
- Open System Preferences and select Security
- Select the Firewall Tab. To make changes to the firewall you’ll need to unlock the security around it. Click the Lock icon in the lower left corner and enter your user credentials.
- If your Firewall is off, turn it on by clicking the Start button. This will limit incoming traffic to your computer.
- Click the Advanced button to change Firewall Settings
- From the Advanced menu, you can configure your OS X firewall to block all incoming connection, allow specific applications to communicate through the firewall, allow signed software to receive incoming connections, and run in Stealth mode which keeps your computer from being found by other computers and devices on the network
Apple’s OS X Firewall is a feature to help keep your computer secure from potential hackers, people seeking your data and information, or keeping yourself hidden from others that may be trying to find you on a network.
However, if configured incorrectly some or all of your internet applications may not function correctly as they can’t send and receive the information they need.
If you’re not sure about configuring a firewall, consider other third party Firewall and Security Software for macs and OS X that may work better for you.