PWN to OWN. This is the name of the contest that made most Mac users worldwide seriously think about reading a security book or two to learn about securing their Macs ASAP. During the aforementioned contest a Mac running OS X Leopard was the first to give in to the intrusion attempts. It may not have been the brightest day in Apple’s history but it surely was the one when every Mac owner out there gave a second thought to the “Macs are the most secure” theory.
So, if Macs aren’t as secure as we have previously thought (I did too and even bet on the Vista computer that it would be the first to be compromised), what can we do to defend ourselves against attacks? One way would be to fire up the old integrated Mac OS X firewall and configure it to accept only incoming connections from IP addresses we know.
Although this is a good thing to do, the integrated firewall doesn’t do as good of a job as Apple would want us to believe. If you are not a very experienced user you’ll probably end up just enabling the damn thing and what protection do you think you’ll get? I’ll tell you: not very much because the machine that got “owned” at the PWN to OWN contest had the default settings and it went down pretty fast. More »