By default every Mac broadcasts its name on the network it is connected to. This technology is also known as Bonjour. It allows someone to share files or configure a printer with just a few clicks and without any technical knowledge of the other end’s network configuration. There are a few scenarios where you may not want your computer’s identity broadcast to everyone. When you are connected to a public WiFi spot or when you are on a network with other people you do not know, it can be a good idea to hide your computer’s identity. Your security configuration should prevent unwanted access, but by obscuring your computer’s identity you can prevent someone from knowing your computer is there in the first place.
In our data center we have hundreds of Macs. To cut down on network chatter and obscure system identities we do not allow bonjour advertisements on the network. Previously this required editing a plist file by hand within a terminal. It only takes a few moments, but it requires some technical skills and could have dire consequences if done improperly.
We have created a preference pane that disables bonjour advertisements with a click of a mouse. It currently available for OS X 10.7 (Lion) and can be downloaded here.
Update: Our new disable bonjour script can be found on http://code.macminivault.com/