Gatekeeper in OS X “Mountain Lion” looks like a step in the right direction

Rich Mogull writing at TidBITS:

There are three ways to attack a computer — gain physical access, hit it over the network, or trick the user into running something they shouldn’t. Macs are reasonably well protected against two of the three.

If you use a strong password and encrypt your hard disk using FileVault, only a sophisticated attacker can get in. Up-to-date Macs are reasonably secure against direct network attacks, and when vulnerabilities do crop up, a combination of anti-exploitation features makes it a lot harder for the bad guys (at least on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion). So for physical and network attacks, we Mac users are in pretty good shape.

But the third kind of attack? Well that’s a bit of a problem, since we humans, even the most paranoid of us, can fall prey to trickery. It’s a problem we haven’t had very good solutions for… until now.

There’s no way to completely protect users from themselves-even on iOS devices you can follow a link in an email that sends you to a fraudulent “phishing” website.

But, Gatekeeper is a step in the right direction that will help protect many Mac users from themselves, at least as far as downloaded software goes…

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