For better or for worse, when it comes to internet security, I'm a novice. I know enough to secure my data. Indeed, since I carry around client data I keep everything locked up tight in an encrypted sparse image as I demonstrated in screencast #__. But in terms of people getting into my system via internet sniffing I know very little. Since some internet security specialists are raising alarm bells over the fact the Mac Firewall is defaulted in the "off" position, I spent a little time reading up on things last night. Apple goes to some length explaining the Leopard firewall right here.
There seem to be two camps on this issue. One group of experts say that the sky is falling and you should never ever turn your Mac on without the firewall enabled. Another group says you probably don't need your firewall so long as you are behind a decent router. Among those in the second category are Steve Stanger and John Foster (at least I think it was John .. sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly who is talking on MacBreak Tech). Steve actually explained that there are some times when a Firewall is a very good thing. He used a hotel network as an example, but explained that when you are sitting at home or work behind your router, it really doesn't make much difference. I trust John and Steve and decided I'm not going to get overly excited about this. I'll probably turn it on when I'm not at work or home but otherwise I'll leave it off. To each his own but that is me. I live dangerously. You'll have to excuse me now. I plan to go run with scissors.