How To Keep Data Safe Regardless Of iCloud Lock

By Cory Orlando | Dec 14, 2012 09:35 AM EST

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email

A feature that many people enjoy on OS X is the lock option, which lets users remotely set a PIN for their Mac. However, iCloud's Find My iPhone service requires a password to enter the system upon booting.

Follow us

How safe is the PIN that iCloud offers? Enabling a feature like locking a Mac may sound like a great idea until one delves into it further. The PIN required is only four digits, which means that there are only a possible 10,000 options to cracking the PIN number. Apple does try to deter users or anyone from actually trying 10,000 times by locking users out of entering the PIN number through progressive wait times. Ways around this are by restarting the system and trying again.

While in theory this sounds like a safe and secure way to protect data and files, there are ways around it. The larger issue lies in the OS X lock option is a hardware based lock. If someone were to simply remove the hard drive from their Mac and place it into another successfully, the lock can no longer protect the data.

CNET author Topher Kessler gives three very useful options to users on what they can do to protect their data and files. According to Kessler, these three options joined together would secure your Mac as much as possible. The options are as follows:

"- Use a firmware password instead of a iCloud Pin - A firmware password allows for more characters than the iCloud PIN, offering better security. Unlike with the iCloud PIN, you can still boot to the default hard drive with a firmware password implemented, but it will be much harder to crack.

- Encrypt the drive - Using FileVault in OS X 10.7 and later, you can encrypt the Mac's entire hard drive and set up specific user accounts that can decrypt the drive and boot from it. Setting up this will in effect carry out a boot password and make up for the loss of one when using only the firmware password.

- Redundant encrypted backups - Since a thief my still wipe your system's drive by removing it and attaching it to another system, to make sure your data is safe, be sure to make redundant encrypted or otherwise secured backups."

For users wanting a little extra security on their Macs, Kessler advises to lock things up.

Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

Join Our Conversation

Smartphones
HTC Desire EYE HTC Desire 820, Desire EYE now available unlocked, SIM-free in the U.S.
Sprint Nexus 6 now $50 cheaper outright, on-contract, or with Easy Pay
T-Mobile 32GB Nexus 9 LTE ‘coming soon,’ listed on carrier’s Underground website
Google’s Android One gets the boot from top retailers in India
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Gadgets
Amazon Logo Amazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC Logo HTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google Downtime Google blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
Flipboard for Windows Phone Flipboard for Windows Phone finally available, but requires 1GB of RAM (VIDEO)
Vine gets major update, lets you upload previously-shot videos & more (VIDEO)
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) finally hits Windows Phone – Available as a free download now
Instagram releases Bolt ephemeral messaging app in select markets to challenge Snapchat
Copyright © 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. mobilenapps
Real Time Analytics