People boast about OSX Security, yet I find it very hard to find a comprehensive manual in regards to any equivalent Services and the ports they use. I am aware of lanchd and launchctl and Lingon is quite a handy utility, however the information is quite overwhelming, as there are so many different agents and daemons running.

Basically my question is, which one of those daemons and agents are safe to disable in order to eliminate OSX attack vectors based on exploits found on those agents? Are Daemons and Agents the equivalent of what we call Services on Linux systems? And finally, why is OSX perceived to be safer than other Operating Systems?

  • Why is OSX perceived to be saver than other Operating Systems: Because of this.
    – tylerl
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


Actually, daemons on OS X are equivalent to what is called daemons on Linux too. Both systems share a Unix ancestry. OS X is derived from FreeBSD. If you want to understand how security works on OS X, some Unix experience is advised. Sections 4 and 14 of the FreeBSD handbook would be relevant.

On a general basis, you should mind services (or daemons or whatever way you wish to name them) which offer an external entry point. The netstat -an command will show you what ports currently correspond to some server code, but those which are bound to (aka "localhost") are not actually reachable from the outside -- so they are "safe".

OS X has the reputation of being "safer than other OS" because Apple invested a lot in a communications campaign which repeated that idea ad nauseam, until it stuck. One must admit that when it comes to Public Relations, the people at Apple are really skilled.

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