Mac Security: Set a Firmware Password

June 2nd, 2009 by admin in Apple

The biggest risk to your Mac is if it is lost, stolen or physically compromised. If you setup a secure password as discussed previously and the thief can’t login, they can still gain access to all your data using one of the special start-up modes built into all Macs.

These start-up modes include booting from an install DVD and resetting the password, using Target Disk Mode to use your Mac as an external hard disk, or booting into Unix-style Single User Mode.

There is a way to protect your computer by setting a firmware password. The password is written into the computer’s firmware chips on the motherboard and if anyone tries to use a special start-up mode, they will be prompted for that password.

Apple provides a utility for setting a firmware password called Firmware Password Utility.

For Mac OS X 10.5.x, start from the Leopard Install DVD and choose Firmware Password Utility from the Utilities menu.

1. Click to select the checkbox for “Require password to change Open Firmware settings”, as shown below.

Tips & Tricks: Mac Security Fixes: Set a Firmware Password

2. Type your password in the Password and Verify fields.

3. Click OK

4. Click lock icon to prevent further changes

5. Choose Quit from the application menu

Now, if anyone attempts to use any of the special start-up modes, they will be prompted for the firmware password you set.


3 Responses to ' Mac Security: Set a Firmware Password '

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  1. eric said,

    on June 18th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I would like to point out one flaw with this method of protection… It can be circumvented with just a quick search of the net! There is a very easy way to remove the firmware password with a quick little hardware trick AND/OR a longer one that will still allow a determined infiltrator to get at your data.

    The first one I will not list here because I want to make anyone reading this do a little research and I do not want to give away all security secrets. The longer (and some would say more difficult) way is to just remove the hard drive and place it into and external box of some kind. They now have your data.

    The only true way to safeguard your stuff is to encrypt it. We have so many good ways to do this now from PGP (or GPG) to TruCrypt that if you are concerned for your data why are you not doing it?

    Just my $0.02

  2. regreg said,

    on June 23rd, 2009 at 3:51 am

    For Mac OS X 10.5.x:

    On the Leopard Install DVD, no “Firmware Password Utility” was found. The Utilities menu only shows installed utilities on the HDD.

    Where is the “Firmware Password Utility”?

  3. akanksha said,

    on November 20th, 2009 at 6:04 am

    plz forget my pasward it,s urjent

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