I thought I understood file sharing
July 1, 2011 4:42 PM   Subscribe

I use file sharing to trade info between a couple of computers in my home and I'm not confident that I had it configured correctly. Is there any way kind of "log" in OS X that will tell if some sneak has been accessing my files?

I had Snow Leopard file sharing (set to share my public folder) to trade files with my wife's macbook.

Sorry that I've got such a patchy understanding/recollection of this following bit: for a long time, I've noticed that my computer's local host name is listed in one of the finder headings on my wife's MacBook. When she connects to it, she's able to access all my volumes and files (not just the shared folder). I probably should've dealt with my settings when I first noticed this.

The other day, I noticed another icon (beige box with a blue screen=PC?) with a long numeric name was listed on her macbook right below my local host name. It wasn't connected, just listed. I figured it was just somebody else in the surrounding houses who had file sharing turned on and it was listed the same way surrounding wifi networks are listed. I went to my own macbook and under devices> local host name>network I found the same PC icon but a minute or so later, it disappeared from the window. Am I just paranoid?

I sorry if this all is a bit rambling, but I guess I'm really trying to find out if there is any way to know if/who may be accessing my files and or password info during the last few days.

I have a wifi (airport) network for both macbooks and an ipad, if that matters. I've also turned off sharing for the time being.
posted by bonobothegreat to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Could you have accidentally enabled Windows Sharing on either of the OS X machines? That would cause the beige icons to show up in the Finder window and network browser.

Also, you have password protection enabled on your Wifi network, right?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:14 PM on July 1, 2011

I don't think Windows sharing was enabled -the file sharing option was set to AFP, though I'm not sure if that addresses what you are asking.

Yes, my wifi network password says it's WPA2 Personal.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:44 PM on July 1, 2011

Have you considered DropBox? Great way for sharing files.
posted by bprater at 7:32 PM on July 1, 2011

Came in to suggest Dropbox as well. It has LAN syncing too, so could be a good solution.
posted by backwards guitar at 8:20 PM on July 1, 2011

having the PC show up doesn't mean that you have Windows file sharing turned on, but that the PC has file sharing turned on. so even if somebody with a PC is accessing your WiFi network, the odds are they won't have seen any of your stuff (assuming you have Windows file sharing turned off, and they haven't specifically installed software to attach to an AFP server).

WPA2 is an enormous improvement over the old/broken WEP standard for wireless security, but if your SSID (wifi network name) is on this list and your password is on this list then you'll want to change them, since there are automated tools that will trivially let someone get on your network.

DropBox might be convenient, but they have a shitty security record.
posted by russm at 12:44 AM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

WPA/WPA2 with a strong password: sufficiently secure.

Anything else: not.

If your WPA2 password is not already strong, make it strong; then see if the weirdly named box still shows up. If it does, it's on somebody else's network, your Mac is offering you the opportunity to attempt to connect to it, and it was probably never a security issue for you.
posted by flabdablet at 7:09 AM on July 2, 2011

It sounds like I don't need to worry too much, then. We also share files over Dropbox but I started to use file sharing for bigger files. I think I might just go back to thumb drives.

I'll leave this thread unresolved for one more day, just in case somebody can tell me if there's an activity log I should check, just to be sure. I'm feeling better about it, though. Thanks.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:20 AM on July 2, 2011

It doesn't sound like you had anything compromised. File sharing access is logged, however, in /Library/Logs/AppleFileService/AppleFileServiceAccess.log. You can use Console (/Applications/Utilities/Console) to look at the current log and a few archived ones, which will be date-stamped in the filename.
posted by aaronbeekay at 1:27 PM on July 2, 2011

I can only find /Library/Logs/AppleFileService/AppleFileServiceErrors.log but I'll mark this resolved and carry on with my life.

Thanks all.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:05 PM on July 4, 2011

Do you use Parallels on your Mac, by any chance? I've noticed that when I do, my virtualized Windows machine will appear in my Mac's list of available networks, just as you describe.

If that's the case, it may mean that your wireless network remains perfectly secure - you may just have a local instance (your virtualized Windows) broadcasting its availability.
posted by owls at 9:42 AM on July 5, 2011

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