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Fundamentally similar to UNIX and Linux, the Mac OS uses the same read, write, and execute UIDs, along with the owner, group, other GIDs, as well as ACL (Gagne, Galvin & Silberschatz, 2013). While the Mac OS uses a number as the identifier for the UID, it also adds a short name and a long name as additional identifiers. The long name is usually the first and last name associated with the users account, and is used externally as an identifier for the users
benefit. The short name is attached to the UID number, and is used internally as an extra identifier. The Mac OS also uses the ACL to prevent unauthorized users from installing software or changing system settings. Like Windows, UNIX, and Linux, Mac OS offers to two basic accounts, administrative and standard. While the administrative account grants full access like other operating systems, the standard account can be further broken down into managed (parentalcontrols), guest, share only, system, and group accounts, which all have further custom settings (Kissel, 2010). All four operating systems offer forms of drive encryption, with similar password based keys for locking and unlocking encrypted files. Windows uses the NTFS with a standard encryption key as its default form of encryption. Only administrative accounts can set up an encryption key password, which is used for encrypting and decrypting files on the hard drive. Encryption is active by default, but cannot be turned off in some versions of Windows. A recovery key is created when the administrator Microsoft account is set up in order to decrypt drives if the encryption key password is lost (Gibson, 2011). Newer versions of Windows offer BitLocker, which offers encryption for internal and external drives. BitLocker is turned off by default, and requires registration of a recovery key password when activation for the first time, but offers a wide range of customizable settings for encryption (Gibson, 2011). The Mac OS comes standard with two different encryption options. Disk Utility allows the user to create an encrypted image of a drive containing any files they choose. The user can then work off the disk image, which keeps data encrypted even while the file is open. FileVault is off by default, but canbe easily activated by creating a password. Once initiated, FileVault encrypts all the files in the user’s home folder and automatically encrypts new files saved there from that point on. The user enters their FileVault password at the beginning of their session and files are automatically
encrypted when saved and decrypted when opened (Kissel, 2010). Unix and Linux operating systems have many options for file or drive encryptions. Even a single file can be encrypted withsimple syntax. The standard method is the crypt command, which creates a secret key that will encrypt of decrypt the file (Siddiqui, 2002). While there are many encryption options available for most UNIX/Linux systems, they use syntax instead of a GUI, which may be more difficult for the average user than changing a control panel setting (Keller, 2005).