The Biggest Lie in the Computer Industry?

What’s the biggest lie in the Computer Industry?  It’s the myth that Apple’s don’t get viruses.

Geek For Hire has been out there fixing computers since 2001 and we’ve seen just about everything. When someone tells me they have a Mac, or are switching from a PC to a Mac because Mac’s don’t get viruses, I have to respectfully disagree.

As early as 2012, Apple changed their stance about viruses on their machines. According to the Huffington Post, in June of that year, they changed their verbiage from:

“Safeguard your data. By doing nothing.”

To:

“Safety. Built right in.”

In the last few months, we’ve been seeing more and more viruses on Mac machines. Everything from lots of adware and pop-ups, to “a lady’s voice keeps telling me to run my virus scanner”, to what’s commonly being called “scare-ware”.

What’s out there?

  • Malware is the general term used for any malevolent or bad software that can get loaded onto your computer.
  • Spyware is software installed on your tech device without your knowledge or consent. It collects information about you and relays it to an external person or organization.
  • Adware is frequently called pop-ups. This is where you get lots and lots of pop-ups with advertisements. Lots of people just live with this type of infection not realizing that it’s often accompanied by other more malicious malware.
  • Virus is the most common term used by “real” people for all of these types of infections.
  • Scareware is similar to Adware in that it generates a pop-up. In this case though, the pop-up tells you that your machine has an infection and you need to visit a particular website RIGHT NOW to get the virus removed.

How to keep your computer safe? Be careful what you click on! Don’t open attachments in emails. Don’t click on ads on the websites you visit. Above all, make sure you select an anti-virus program that continually upgrades their software and pushes those changes to your computer. We recommend ESET’s NOD32 anti-virus protection for Mac’s and PC’s.

Did you think Apple machines were impervious to viruses and other malware? What steps do you take to keep your machine safe? Let us know in the comments below!

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 fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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Beware of Click Bait!

This morning, I was doing one of my morning rituals which includes reading through the recent posts on Facebook, and found that a friend of mine who lives on the east coast, liked a story. I worked with him many years ago. He was the manager of a major project which I worked on for many years. This was the largest project in my career, and I know that this system is still “alive” today because I have served a local customer twice who is dispatched by this system. Since I respect my friend, and he doesn’t casually like everything, the things that he does like tends to get my attention. The first thing I did was to like the story too.

The story told of a mother beating her son on national television because he was participating in the recent riots in Baltimore. My friend liked it, so it must be legit. I clicked on the link to the story, which went to a blogsite which I had never seen or heard of before. The content of the page had only a brief retelling of the title of the story, plus several advertisements, but there was no link to the salacious original video that grabbed my attention. Since I didn’t see what I expected, I thought this was a problem with the tight security settings of my daily browser (Firefox, with several add-ons), so I copied the URL from my “high security” browser and pasted it into my “low security” browser which works with everything (Internet Explorer), and fetched the page. The same page was displayed, but this time with many popup advertisements (pop-over and pop-under) which were really concerning to me. There was no salacious video or a link to it. I shut this down fast.

Still being interested in the salacious story, I went to YouTube and searched for the general words of the title of the story, and found several direct links to the video – without additional advertisement or commentary.

In this case, I fell prey to “Click Bait”. I saw a story that interested me, thought it was legit, and clicked on it. It wasn’t legit. I will be doing a total system scan of my computer to check for any residual nastiness.

If you think you’ve fallen prey to “Click Bait”, the best thing to do is to scan your machine for anything malicious. If you need help, give us a call!

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 fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area. They can provide remote service throughout North America.

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Car-Hacking…

I read an interesting report released by Senator Markey last month.  His office was concerned that appropriate measures were not being taken to secure cars and trucks on American highways.  With most modern cars having built in WiFi, Bluetooth and other technology, they wondered what happened to the collected data, and how vulnerable the cars were to outside influence.  Turns out they were right to be concerned.

Here are their key findings:

  1. “Nearly 100% of cars on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusions.
  2. Most automobile manufacturers were unaware of or unable to report on past hacking incidents.
  3. Security measures to prevent remote access to vehicle electronics are inconsistent and haphazard across all automobile manufacturers, and many manufacturers did not seem to understand the questions posed by Senator Markey.
  4. Only two automobile manufacturers were able to describe any capabilities to diagnose or meaningfully respond to an infiltration in real-time, and most say they rely on technologies that cannot be used for this purpose at all.
  5. Automobile manufacturers collect large amounts of data on driving history and vehicle performance.
  6. A majority of automakers offer technologies that collect and wirelessly transmit driving history data to data centers, including third-party data centers, and most do not describe effective means to secure the data.
  7. Manufacturers use personal vehicle data in various ways, often vaguely to “improve the customer experience” and usually involving third parties, and retention policies – how long they store information about drivers – vary considerably among manufacturers.
  8. Customers are often not explicitly made aware of data collection and, when they are, they often cannot opt out without disabling valuable features, such as navigation.”

Most striking to me was this sentence:

“The diversity of responses received by Senator Markey shows that each manufacturer is handling the introduction of new technology in very different ways, and for the most part these actions are insufficient to ensure security and privacy for vehicle consumers.”

While it’s unlikely that a particular car will be targeted for hacking, the privacy issue is concerning to me. Read your manual or check with your dealer to see if there is a way to turn off data collection. It may be as simple as turning off your GPS feature, but check with your dealer to be sure.  If you have an older car without GPS, OnStar, Bluetooth, etc., you likely do not have to worry about this.

Here is the Press Release from Senator Markey’s office along with a link to the original report: http://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/markey-report-reveals-automobile-security-and-privacy-vulnerabilities

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 fourteen years.  He is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service to the Denver/ Boulder/ Front Range area.  They can provide 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, but I’m tempted!   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 when you sign up.)

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