Front Row Easily Circumvents Parental Control

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If left accessible, Front Row can easily circumvent Parental Controls and open iTunes, Safari, and Terminal, even if limits have been placed to prevent these applications from being opened.

Using Mac OS X’s Parental Controls, administrators can create managed accounts and only allow for certain applications to be opened. This can be useful for families with children, school labs, booths, or public computers where limiting the Mac to one or two applications makes senesce.



Recreate this scenario:

1. In System Preferences, create a new account and select the Parental Controls tab.


2. Checkmark ‘Finder and System’ and select the ‘Configure’ button.


3. With either ‘Some Limits’ or ‘Simple Finder’ selected, under Applications only allow on trivial application, such as Calculator.


4. Log into the limited account. Verify that Calculator is the only application you can open.


5. Hit Command-Escape to launch Front Row.


6. Navigate to the Movies section, and the to TV Shows.


7. Front Row will hang as it attempts to browse your empty iTunes Library. Force Quit iTunes by hitting Command-Option-Escape.


8. iTunes should remain open after quiting Front Row. iTunes is now open, despite limits being set to prevent this. If the account is using the Finder with only ‘Some Limits’ (that is, not the ‘Simple Finder’) try launching iTunes from the Applications folder while iTunes is still running. Despite iTunes being open and running, a dialog box appears:


You do not have permission to open the application ‘iTunes’.


9. To open Safari, from iTunes’ Help menu, select ‘iTunes Service and Support’. To then open Terminal, in Safari’s address bar enter:

telnet://


10. A user can open any number of applications from Terminal. At Terminal’s command line enter:

open /Applications/TextEdit.app

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