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Questions For A Computer Security Expert *Apple IMAC*
Old 02-03-2016, 10:15 PM   #1
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Questions For A Computer Security Expert *Apple IMAC*

2008 iMac bought new in May of that year. OSX Version 10.8.5 Mountain Lion. No aftermarket Internet security software.

I started my taxes today. TurboTax deluxe. Been using it since 1999.
Normally, I finish them in one day, make two back up copies & then delete the TurboTax software.

I was about halfway through, when it came to the point where I could download my financial information from Fidelity.
It wouldn't work. I called Fidelity & found out that the tax info won't be available until February 13

So I had to stop the return at that point. Since I was a little bit upset, I did something stupid. I didn't assign a password to the partially completed return.

Here's my question's

#1: Until I can complete the return on or about February 13, are there any steps I could take help prevent somebody from getting into it & getting my SSN ?
I always unplug my modem, unless I'm only going to be away for a very short period. Is it possible for someone to hack your computer with the
modem unplugged *offline* or online, but in sleep mode ?

#2: If someone was trying to hack while I was working on it, or web browsing, would I be able to tell ?

#3: This is more of a statement than a question, & forgive me if it's a stupid one. My first computer was a 1997 Gateway 2000 running windows 95.
The second was a 2001 HP Pavilion running Windows XP & the third is my iMac
With all three of these computers, I always wondered why on earth it wasn't more simple to apply a password to a certain file/folder ?
Is this just something I'm completely ignorant about ? It just seems like it should be as easy as right-clicking on a file/folder and choosing to apply a
unique password to it.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:23 PM   #2
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On question is this the on disk or online version?
If the on disk version then just unplugging the cable that connects the computer to the internet will do the job. (Assuming you have any security around the computer such as it is at home.

If I recall correctly os/x does require a password to login. (I don't do macs in general). If you logout of the computer then the system password protects everything, unless you physically can insert a dvd into the computers drive an reboot.
Anyway on the windows version of TT there never has been a distinct password protection option. (i.e. the to protect the file). If really concerned and you have a spare usb flash drive copy the file there until your ready to use it then copy it back, and keep the usb drive out of the computer until that time.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:46 PM   #3
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ATTN meierlde

One question is this the on disk or online version?
This is the cd/disc version. The partially completed return is on the computer's hard drive. 'Documents'

If the on disk version then just unplugging the cable that connects the computer to the internet will do the job. (Assuming you have any security around the computer such as it is at home)
I should've mentioned this in my original post. The Mac is password-protected. When I start it, & once it's in screensaver or sleep mode, I have to enter my password.

If really concerned and you have a spare usb flash drive copy the file there until your ready to use it then copy it back, and keep the usb drive out of the computer until that time.
I do have a spare USB flash drive. That's a great answer. Don't ask me why I didn't think of it ?
Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:19 PM   #4
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Based on your replies to meierlde's questions, it sounds like the document is as secure as the other general files on your computer. You likely can reopen the document and apply a password; I don't know for certain as I'm not a Mac nor TurboTax user.
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Old 02-04-2016, 12:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ownyourfuture View Post
#1I always unplug my modem, unless I'm only going to be away for a very short period. Is it possible for someone to hack your computer with the modem unplugged *offline* or online, but in sleep mode ?
Unplugged, no. In sleep mode realistically speaking, also no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ownyourfuture View Post
#2: If someone was trying to hack while I was working on it, or web browsing, would I be able to tell ?
In most cases you wouldn't be able to tell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ownyourfuture View Post
#3: I always wondered why on earth it wasn't more simple to apply a password to a certain file/folder ?
You are logged in with a username and pasword, which is supposed to be linked to one unique person. So no need for individual files/folders with passwords. It is why for every user on your system you are supposed to have a different login.

You may want to share files with other users of the same system, or prevent them from seeing it.

That is why you can set permissions (such as read/write/etc ..) on a file or folder for specific users or groups of users. No specific passwords needed.

If you want to share with others on different systems, try dropbox or googleDrive. Quite easy.

Hope that covers your question.
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:24 AM   #6
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In general no one actually "hacks" into a computer, most malware and virus are invited/allowed in by the user. Also most home computers are not directly exposed to the internet, behind a firewall the computer is not "visible" to a hacker.

If the internet connection is disable/unplugged then it is completely isolated, local access only.

It is very easy to password protect files and folders but it depends on the OS and the files system being used. Win95 (FAT/FAT32) was not designed for this. In XP you had some dependenc on the version, home vs pro. XP and W7 use NTFS and each file and folder can have permissions set by right click and using the security tab. OSX is a unix variant like linux, and have very good security features.
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:34 AM   #7
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I often open a return in progress on TurboTax (I'm also a Mac user) and save it again. I just checked and you can open the return, then choose File>Encrypt and it will let you add the password.
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:32 PM   #8
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I wouldn't worry too much about the security of your partially completed return if you didn't encrypt the file. Very unlikely someone would hack your mac, unless you clicked on something that contained malware, I am no expert, but thats just my opinion.
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:33 PM   #9
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I bought my first Mac last month (MacBook Air) and I saw that it was very easy to encrypt the whole drive, which I've done. This means that if I lose the laptop or have it stolen, as well as it being protected by the login, the drive itself cannot be removed and read without knowing the password.

I've never applied passwords to be TurboTax files in the past or only stored them offline on a flash drive. Maybe I should have been doing that, it certainly sounds like good practice. For years I helped a friend do his returns and always had his return on a flash drive which I gave to him for safe keeping, and each year he would bring last year's previous printed return along with that year's electronic copy on his flash drive.
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:16 PM   #10
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Thanks to all who replied.
Really appreciate it
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:24 AM   #11
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I've been using the Mac version for years.

They've had the encrypt feature but didn't last year. So I created a read write disk image and encrypted it so that I'd have to mount the image with a password to get to the tax file.

Also when done with the return, I save it as a PDF and password protect it. PDFs open much more easily than a Turbo Tax file.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:25 AM   #12
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Oh and you can search for Clam AV for OS X. It's either open source or donation ware.
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