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Mac OS Malware – What you need to know

It’s finally happened.  Mac’s have finally reached that magic threshold where more and more people are purchasing MacBooks and iMacs.  The “bad guys” have recognized that and are writing Mac OS malware, viruses, and ransomware.  Yes, they are specifically targeting the Mac OS.  They’ve had years of practice on Windows machines.  They know Mac users are a bit more discerning, so their malware needs to be even more subtle to trick those Mac users.  Their products look like the real thing – a real email from Dropbox, a real pop-up from Adobe.

It’s a jungle out there, so don’t think you’re immune just because you have a Mac!mac os malware

Two versions that are targeting Macs are MacSpy and MacRansom.  MacSpy does the usual data scraping, browser history harvesting, etc. MacRansom is a straight-up ransomware.  The cost to retrieve your data is about $650-750.  You can read more about them in this article from Dark Reading.

Another Mac OS malware that’s spreading is installed when you think you’re installing an Adobe upgrade.  You do get the upgrade, but you get a “snake” program as well.  For anyone interested in reading more, check out this article.

Another Trojan, named OSX/Dok, is also relatively new and spreads it’s program through a sophisticated phishing email.  So far, it seems to be targeting primarily European Mac users.  Checkpoint says that:

“This new malware – dubbed OSX/Dok — affects all versions of OSX, has 0 detections on VirusTotal (as of the writing of these words), is signed with a valid developer certificate (authenticated by Apple), and is the first major scale malware to target OSX users via a coordinated email phishing campaign.”

Have you learned something about Mac OS malware? If you found this helpful, please forward it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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3 Steps to make your iPhone screen more efficient

Are you one of those people who have to scroll through four or five pages on your phone to get to the application you are looking for?  I’m here to tell you that your iPhone screen can be much more efficient, and you can make it easier to find your importaniphone screent apps.  (Here’s what my home iPhone screen looks like – so easy to find my most used apps!)

  1. First, you need to think about which apps you use multiple times a day.  Those are the apps that belong on your Home or first iPhone screen.  It’s simple to drag and drop them to that first page.  Put your index finger on the icon for that app and hold it there.  Don’t tap it!  After about 3 to 5 seconds, it will start to “wiggle”.  Then you can move the app by dragging it.  If it’s not already on the first page, drag it towards the left until the previous page appears.  Continue doing that until you are on the first page of your phone.  Then you can drop it onto that page.
  2. Next, you might have noticed that some of your apps are related.  For example I have several apps I check for the weather, several for News, and several for sending messages.  I have grouped those apps together so that they are all in one place.  Again, hold the icon for one of those apps until it starts to “wiggle”.  Then drag it on top of the app you want to group it with.  Your iPhone will give the grouping a name.  You can change that name by clicking the small “x” next to the title, and typing in your own name for that group.
  3. Lastly, once you have all of your apps in different groups, it is easier to “drag and drop” them to the Home page or a second page.  I try to keep all of my apps on just two pages.  The first or Home iPhone screen is where I have the apps I use the most.  The second page has the apps I don’t use every day or even once a week.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your fellow iPhone users!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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4G Service – What the heck is that?

Have you ever wondered what 4G service is? Have you wondered what the code is next to your cell phone bars of service?  For example, right now my iPhone shows 4 dots (out of 5) and the code LTE.  It looks like this:

LTE or 4G service

 

 

 

What the heck does this mean?  And sometimes when I complain to Chris about my lousy cell quality he’ll ask me what kind of service I have.  Invariably the answer is “3G”.  What the heck is that?!  Basically, my phone is currently providing me with 4G service so that I can surf the internet and send videos to my friends with wild abandon!

A little history:

When we first started using cell phones, they were for voice and simple texting only, which doesn’t take as much bandwidth as data does.  Gradually, the sophistication of the phones, and the service provided on the cell towers, improved.  Using vast amounts of creative thought in naming each new improvement, they were named 2G, 3G, 4G, and the yet to be released 5G.  (The “G” stands for Generation, so the 4G or 4th Generation phones are better than the 2G phones.)

I like the way PC Magazine explains the difference in the different generations:  “1G was analog cellular. 2G technologies, such as CDMA, GSM, and TDMA, were the first generation of digital cellular technologies. 3G technologies, such as EVDO, HSPA, and UMTS, brought speeds from 200kbps to a few megabits per second. 4G technologies, such as WiMAX and LTE, were the next incompatible leap forward, and they are now scaling up to hundreds of megabits and even gigabit-level speeds.”

At the beginning of this year, AT&T shut down their 2G network.  It was state-of-the-art when it was first introduced in 2000, but 17 years later it’s totally obsolete.  Engadget put it this way:

“The shutdown is also a reminder of just how far mobile data has come since 2G hit the scene (in the US, at the turn of the millennium). EDGE was considered fine at a time when any mobile data was a relative novelty, and the most you did with it was check email or surf the most basic of websites. Now, even a modestly-sized app or photo download would absolutely crush 2G — the modern mobile internet depends on speeds that are orders of magnitude faster. We can only imagine what it’ll be like when 3G bites the dust and LTE is considered the baseline.”

4G Service

According to Wiki, LTE or 4G service provides your phone with technologies that “include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.”

5th Generation

The 5G technology is still being defined, but you can expect to see it in the next year or two.  In the meantime AT&T and Verizon are launching pre-5G which will increase speeds and decrease latency.

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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4 Ways to Tell if the Person Calling You is Not a Scammer

This may seem counter-intuitive, but I don’t think you should always answer your phone.  More and more, the person on the other end isn’t someone you know.  They just want to sell you something, or scam you, or they just want to see if they’ve got a working phone number on their call list.

So, how can you tell if your caller is legit?  Spoiler Alert: I saved the best one for last!

1. Their name and phone number pop up in the caller ID, and you recognize the name.

Many times I receive a call from “Unidentified Caller” or “Number Blocked”.  Why should I answer those calls? I primarily use my cell phone but my carrier only sends me a number, not the full caller ID info.  That is why I always add every caller to my contact list.  If it ends up being a sales call or a scammer, I block the number from being able to call me in the future.

Sure, this means I sometimes miss a call from my kid when she’s lost her phone and had to borrow a friends.  But then, she always leave a message.

What a Scammer will say to you: "We just want to make sure your machine is okay."

What a Scammer will say to you

2. When you don’t answer, they leave a voice mail.

Legitimate callers leave a message. It’s a friend or family calling from a new number.  It’s your Dry Cleaners calling to let you know you left a credit card in your shirt pocket.  To be sure, this isn’t a sure-fire way to filter out the junk calls.  I get plenty of messages that start with “If you want to make $1000 each and every day then please listen to this entire message.” But, for me at least, it works 90% of the time

3. Their phone number doesn’t show up on 800 Notes.

There are several websites that let you check the caller information.  I’ve found that 800 Notes generally has current info. You won’t always find out exactly who is calling you, but you can tell, if a lot of people are reporting the same number, that it’s not someone you want to talk to.

4. They don’t tell you that your computer has malware or isn’t up-to-date. (Scammer for sure!)

Recently, we’ve had several people call us to repair their computer after they’ve had a conversation with “Microsoft” or their “Internet Service Provider”.  There are variations, but it comes down to the same basic thing:

a) “Microsoft” or “Dell” calls to let you know that your Operating System is out of date and you need to update it right away.  The caller would be happy to update it for you, if you’ll just give them remote access to your computer.

b) Your “Internet Service Provider” or ISP calls to let you know that you have a terrible virus and you are spreading it all over.  Again, they’d be happy to remove all the malware.  You just have to give them remote access to your computer, and generally pay between $75-500 for the privilege.

Unless you’ve have already signed up for a service where you have asked a company to scan your computer on a regular basis, no well meaning person is going to call you to “help” you with your computer.  When someone remotely accesses your computer, they will generally add malware to it, not remove it!

If you’ve given a cold caller remote access to your computer, and now you’re worried that they installed a virus or other malware, give us a call.  We’ll do a complete scan of your machine and remove all the malware we find.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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Two Factor Authentication

What is Two Factor Authentication?

Two Factor Authentication (TFA or 2FA) or Multi-factor Authentication refers to a practice commonly used by financial institutions and other sensitive applications to make sure that the person signing into an account is really that person and not a hacker. It is used above and beyond the usual login credentials. You may have used 2FA without realizing what it was called.  Like me, when I first encountered it a few years ago, you may have been annoyed that your bank was asking you to prove your identity when you’ve already entered your username and password.

Can you explain that again?Two Factor Authentication Code

Your UserID and Password together make up the first factor of authentication. The second factor is a code that is known only to you.  For example, when you receive a six digit code on your cell phone to provide after you’ve entered your password.  Another example is commonly used with credit cards.  The credit card number, expiration date, and the sneaky code on the back are all available to someone with the card in their hands.  2FA would ask you for your billing zip code.

Why is 2FA important?

Two Factor Authentication provides another level of protection for your accounts.  It will work with your computer, your tablet, and your phone.  It helps to ensure that your sensitive information isn’t available to hackers.

According to Secure Envoy: “With standard security procedures (especially online) only requiring a simple username and password it has become increasingly easy for criminals (either in organised gangs or working alone) to gain access to a user’s private data such as personal and financial details and then use that information to commit fraudulent acts, generally of a financial nature.”

Want to learn more?  Check out these articles:

  • https://www.cnet.com/news/two-factor-authentication-what-you-need-to-know-faq/
  • http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2456400,00.asp
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-factor_authentication

We recommend that you enable Two Factor Authentication for all of your email, financial, and other sensitive accounts.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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