|Column Tag:||Tools of the Trade
By Dave Kelly, Ontario, California
FileGuard Offers Protection and more!
ASD Software of Montclair, California has recently released their System 7.0 compatible version of FileGuard, version 2.7.1. FileGuard has been the leader in many reviews published in the past. In addition to genuine file protection, FileGuard offers some features that developers will want to know about.
Most users will buy FileGuard to provide security and protection on a Macintosh that is shared by several people. An example of this would be a workstation in an office or factory. If youre developing software on a workstation like this, you will want to protect your own workspace (folders, files, etc ) against other users, even if you trust them. FileGuard will allow you to set privileges on folders in the same way that you would on a file server volume. A very important protection feature is that you can protect your system folder and other critical folders from tampering by other users. A protected folder looks just like a folder would if it were protected on a file server. System 7.0 alias files are supported too.
In an office environment, privileges set for file sharing (in System 7.0) from your computer are identical to privileges set up for users that use your Macintosh. Although FileGuard isnt a network product, FileGuard serial numbers are recognized over a network. You can carefully plan out how much privilege to give each user. That privilege will be supported when they sit down and use your computer with FileGuard. In this respect, FileGuard resolves concerns about security on systems that are sharing files with System 7.0. Now the files can be safe no matter where the user goes to access them. This capability cannot be taken lightly, especially in a busy office with many people sharing files.
FileGuard will keep track of which users have used your computer in a user log. The log lists who logged on your system, when they logged in and out, and the total time logged on. Each users privileges are configured separately so you can restrict their usage to the functions that you specify. For example, you can set it up so that some users cannot insert floppy disks, or copy files. Yet they can still use the computer for what they need to do. FileGuard may appeal to some of you for this kind of protection, but there are other features you will find useful.
In particular, version 2.7.1 offers application launch control. That means that you (the system administrator) can specify which applications can be launched by others. The administrator can still launch any application, but other users may only launch the applications that you specify. This would eliminate the problem of someone using ResEdit and destroying something accidentally. The problem with this application launch control is that the application can be set to either launch or not. You cant specify which users can launch which application. If you need that kind of control, you should put the application in a folder and set the privileges so that only a specified group of users could access the folder. If you are the administrator and the only person authorized to use ResEdit, then you could make use of application launch control.
Another feature that will appeal to you is FileGuards ability to lock up applications on floppy disks. For example, you could copy your application to a floppy disk and then time protect your application with FileGuard. Time protection lets you place a time limit on the application so that it cant be launched after the time runs out. The time may be set from zero to 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds. The time starts from the first time the application is launched. An application on a floppy disk must be moved to a hard disk to run and copies of the application cant be run. FileGuard allows you to copy the file (to the trash or another disk), but you cant run the application without removing the protection with FileGuard.
If you dont like timed protection, you can specify the number of times that the application may be launched instead. Once again the application must be copied to a hard disk and copies of it wont run. You may only want to copy protect your application. The application can be copied to a hard disk, then once it is run, copies of the application wont work.
Of course there are easy ways of getting around this protection, though most users wont be aware that the protection exists until it is too late. If the users knows to make a copy of the application first, then the original could be copied and it would still run. The whole reason for this kind of protection is to keep your work from spreading around without authorization. In general, I am very much against copy protection, but for demo copies I can see that this method might be useful.
FileGuard deserves its five mouse rating (MacUser). You can find more reviews on FileGuard in MacUser, May 1990 and April 1991. FileGuard comes highly recommended just for its file security and access control. It should be considered for creating your demo disks and other protection needs. [If 24 hours is enough for you. - Ed.] There is no restriction or license fee on the number of applications you can protect.
For more information, contact:
4650 Arrow Highway, E-6, Montclair, CA. 91763
Phone: 714/624-2594, FAX: 714/624-9574
Retail Price: $249 for single product; $795 for Office Pack of
5 copies; $1295 for Office Pack of 10 copies.