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I noticed that things in my clipboard survive a reboot - love it, very convenient. But I'd guess that's written to disk, and if I had physical access to your machine, I could reboot it and access the file the has the clipboard contents in it. It's gotta be secured in some way, right?

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+1 for noticing the clipboard persistence - I'd never noticed that. Is it new in Mountain Lion? – CajunLuke Sep 21 '12 at 14:11
Also: it doesn't have to be secured. If someone had physical access to my machine, the contents of the clipboard would be the least of my worries. As I don't typically keep passwords or credit card numbers on my clipboard, there are much better places to go poking around my machine for stuff that'll cause problems (like my browser history). – CajunLuke Sep 21 '12 at 14:13
Wow! Why isn’t this advertised! – duci9y Sep 21 '12 at 14:15

You are correct that this information is not secured. This is a very common scenario across most apps on the system when you don't see the keychain dialog to access data. Luckily, there are simple countermeasures you can enact to secure your information.

Placing a password on your account so that it does not log in upon a reboot will protect your clipboard and all other files on the disk from an idle snooper.

Next, establishing FileVault encryption on the whole drive will stop almost all amateur and some professional attacks as long as your passcode isn't available or guessable.

Lastly, a screensaver lock and timeout will reduce the window of a sleeping or unattended Mac can be snooped on without knowing your account password.

There are also apps that clear the clipboard on timed intervals if that truly is your only security worry.

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