Thursday, April 12, 2007

Apple’s strongest security feature: the Mighty Mouse

We’ve all heard the stories and seen the movies about jealous PC users who break into Mac user’s houses while they’re sleeping and try to mess up their Macs. While Hollywood has perhaps sensationalized the stories slightly (often trying to shoehorn in a love story or car chase), the threat is all too real.

Apple computers have long held a virtually spotless record when it comes to warding off viruses and hacking attacks compared to its Windows-running rivals, but the fact is your Mac is just as vulnerable as any PC once someone has physical access to your computer. Leave your computer unattended for just a minute, and if someone really wanted to, they could quickly drag all your photos or music to the trash and empty it in about 20 seconds.

Apple to the rescue!

Luckily, Apple has got you covered with a $49 ($69 for the wireless version) security device known as the Mighty Mouse. Using a Mighty Mouse virtually ensures your computer will be inaccessible to just about any jealous PC-using evildoer who may wish to do your Mac harm.

Setup

Setup is easy; simply plug the mouse in, and you are good to go. In our tests, the average PC user who attempted to click on something using the Mighty Mouse took approximately 40% longer than with a conventional mouse. Even when they were able to click on something, they actually performed a right click 30% of the time. Those extra seconds add up, and usually allowed us time to get to our office and flick the lights on and off, thus scaring them away.

Total lock down

For the ultimate in security, Apple allows you to assign its Exposé feature to the Mighty Mouse (you can do this in System Preferences> Keyboard and Mouse).

If you assign Exposé’s “All Windows” function to the Mighty Mouse’s scroll wheel (middle button), the average PC user will only be able to perform an endless cycle of causing your windows to slide back and forth, never getting close to damaging or deleting any of your files. In our tests, all PC users walked away in frustration in under 2 minutes when the Exposé feature was applied.

Buying advice

The Mighty Mouse acts as a veritable Fort Knox, protecting your Mac from unwanted access the way no other device can, and it looks great doing it. We say $49 is a small price to pay to to get that little extra piece of mind that comes with knowing you’re files are safe from PC-loving evildoers.

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