NEWS FROM THE LAB - Friday, February 17, 2012

Mountain Lion's Gatekeeper: More Control For "You" Posted by Sean @ 14:34 GMT

Yesterday, Apple released Mac OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview. From a security perspective, its most interesting new feature is Gatekeeper, which restricts installation of downloaded applications based on their source.

"Allow applications downloaded from: Mac App Store; Mac App Store and identified developers; Anywhere"

The default setting is reportedly "Mac App Store and identified developers" which means that developers will have to sign up to Apple's Mac Developer Program ($99 annual fee) if they want to reduce friction. Based on the text in the image below, it seems that even if users opt to install from "Anywhere", Mountain Lion may still nag users that the application doesn't have a Developer ID associated with it.

Apple Gatekeeper, The Developer ID program

And that certainly is not a bad thing, at least in terms of system security. Developer fees and installation prompts will almost certainly create overhead costs that steer Mac's ecosystem towards security.

Gatekeeper also begins to solidify Mac's walled garden.

In the future, when Apple decides to further close its platform, device drivers could also be required to use Apple Developer IDs. Apple is famous for its focus on user experience, and it isn't really very difficult to imagine it revoking third-party peripheral drivers in order to "secure" that experience.

No matter how many times I view the image below, I keep reading it as: more control – over – you.

Apple Gatekeeper, More Control For You

But that's how Mac enthusiasts like it, right?

By 2014, I expect somebody out there will be jailbreaking their Mac…