Are Macs immune to malware?

Windows computers tend to deal with an assortment of malware, but many people fail to realize that even Apple computers face similar threats. As cybercriminals have become more adept at finding exploits and other vulnerabilities, more and more Macs have also fallen prey to malware. Here are some threats you need to look out for to keep your Mac safe.

What are the threats that can affect your Mac?

There are several forms of malware that hit Apple products, and their effects can range from ones that are merely annoying to downright destructive.

  1. Adware – These are unwanted programs that bombard users with pop-up advertisements. Some malicious adware piggyback spyware like keyloggers and keyboard sniffers onto their deployment protocols, allowing them to record your typing habits and monitor your browsing behavior.
  2. Sniffers – These are usually designed to detect certain words on a web page and in a person’s typing pattern in order to trigger the keylogger. For instance, when you type your password, sniffers can activate the keylogger to copy the information you type and steal your login details.
  3. Trojan horses – These can infect both Macs and PCs, and they are often deployed through fake software installers or unsecured updates. They parade as legitimate software that actually contain a nasty surprise once installed. A notorious Trojan horse for Macs is the MacDownloader, which attempts to steal personal data stored in iCloud Keychain.
  4. Macro viruses – These attack computers by running a code that can take screenshots, format hard drives, corrupt files, deliver more malware, and access webcams and microphones. They are triggered when a user opens an infected macros-enabled file, hence the name.
  5. Ransomware – Macs managed to hold off ransomware for a while, but nowadays, even they can be vulnerable to it. KeRanger was one of the first big ransomware outbreaks in Macs. After remotely encrypting the computer and hibernating for three days, KeRanger would issue a .txt file containing instructions for decryption in return for one bitcoin.

Telltale signs your Mac is infected

Now that you know what kinds of malware your Mac could be affected with, here are some ways to tell if your computer is infected with one:

  1. Pop-up ads – If you’re seeing more pop-ups on your computer than usual, your computer is probably infected. An unusual amount of banner ads and pop-ups may mean that your computer is due for an update and/or a virus scan.
  2. Slowness – Mac users fear one thing above all: the spinning wheel of death. This little rainbow-colored spinning cursor wheel indicates that the computer is having trouble processing at usual speeds. This slowness can often be caused by overwhelming requests from simultaneous processes — likely of dubious origin — running in the background.
  3. Browser issues – Viruses sometimes do weird things to Safari or Google Chrome such as change its homepage or redirect a preset landing page to a site you’ve never seen before. If your browser starts behaving oddly, crashes regularly, or is often unresponsive, your Mac might have a virus.

Computer security is a matter of importance no matter what operating system you use. Reach out to our experts for an assessment of your network today.

This post was originally published on this site

Setting up your brand-new MacBook

When setting up your new MacBook, it’s important not to rush through the setup process. Otherwise, you might miss out on several key steps that will help make you get the most out of it. Here’s a guide to setting up your MacBook, plus some useful tweaks to further improve its performance.

Go through the basics

When you first turn on your MacBook, a setup assistant will walk you through the process of configuring your computer. The assistant will prompt you to select your country and language, as well as create a user account and Apple ID, if you don’t already have one.

You’ll also be asked if you want to enable the following services:

  • FileVault – encrypts your hard drive
  • iCloud Keychain – manages passwords and Wi-Fi credentials on Apple devices
  • Find My Mac – helps track down lost Apple devices together with the Find My app
  • Touch ID – MacBook’s built-in fingerprint reader, which can be used for signing in to the device and apps, switch users, and approve Apple Pay purchases

Check for updates

Apple releases regular updates to macOS. If a new one has been released since your MacBook was built, there’s a way to make sure you don’t miss out on the latest features and patches. Simply click the Apple icon on the upper-left corner of your screen and select System Preferences. If any updates are available, install them by clicking on Update Now or More Info to see the details about the updates.

Choose a default browser

Safari is the default browser on Apple devices, and many users prefer it over other browsers for several reasons. But if you don’t like Safari, you can easily change your default browser to Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox. Simply go to System Preferences > General and select the browser of your choice.

Configure the Dock

The Dock is used to launch and switch between applications on macOS devices. By default, it’s located at the bottom of the screen, but you can move it to the left or right by going to System Preferences > Dock. Under “Position on screen,” choose Left or Right.

You can also make room on the Dock for the apps that you frequently use. To add an app to the Dock, open it and right-click on its icon in the Dock. From the menu that appears, go to Option > Keep in Dock. To remove apps that you don’t need from the Dock, click on its icon and drag it to the desktop until “Remove” appears above the icon.

Set up Siri

Apple’s virtual assistant is enabled by default on your MacBook, but if you prefer not to use it, go to System Preferences > Siri and uncheck the box for “Enable Ask Siri.” You could also switch Voice Feedback to Off if you want to mute Siri and get responses to your queries as text displayed on your screen.

If you do decide to keep Siri around, you can choose a language and voice for your assistant as well as the apps Siri can learn from and make suggestions. You can also customize a keyboard shortcut to activate Siri.

Flip the scrolling direction

By default, moving two fingers down a MacBook’s trackpad makes the view scroll down an open document or website on your screen. You can change your trackpad’s scrolling direction so that the same gesture makes the view scroll up. Go to System Preferences > Trackpad, and under the Scroll & Zoom tab, uncheck “Scroll direction: Natural.”

Set your screen to lock automatically

Keep unauthorized users out of your MacBook by setting the screen to lock automatically after the system has been idle for a while. Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. Under the “Require password…after sleep or screen saver begins” option, select “immediately” from the drop-down menu.

Download and install iOS apps

The latest crop of MacBooks run on Apple’s M1 chip — this means that MacBooks and iOS devices now share the same processor architecture. This allows you to install and use compatible iOS apps on your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Mini.

To download iPhone and iPad apps onto your MacBook, go to the Mac App Store. Note that not all apps in the store are macOS-compatible, but developers are working on optimizing their apps for MacBooks, which means it may only be a matter of time before your favorite iOS apps become available for your new computer.

Got questions about your MacBook or other Apple devices? Get the answers you need and more from our experts. Give us a call today.

This post was originally published on this site

Setting up your brand-new MacBook

When setting up your new MacBook, it’s important not to rush through the setup process. Otherwise, you might miss out on several key steps that will help make you get the most out of it. Here’s a guide to setting up your MacBook, plus some useful tweaks to further improve its performance.

Go through the basics

When you first turn on your MacBook, a setup assistant will walk you through the process of configuring your computer. The assistant will prompt you to select your country and language, as well as create a user account and Apple ID, if you don’t already have one.

You’ll also be asked if you want to enable the following services:

  • FileVault – encrypts your hard drive
  • iCloud Keychain – manages passwords and Wi-Fi credentials on Apple devices
  • Find My Mac – helps track down lost Apple devices together with the Find My app
  • Touch ID – MacBook’s built-in fingerprint reader, which can be used for signing in to the device and apps, switch users, and approve Apple Pay purchases

Check for updates

Apple releases regular updates to macOS. If a new one has been released since your MacBook was built, there’s a way to make sure you don’t miss out on the latest features and patches. Simply click the Apple icon on the upper-left corner of your screen and select System Preferences. If any updates are available, install them by clicking on Update Now or More Info to see the details about the updates.

Choose a default browser

Safari is the default browser on Apple devices, and many users prefer it over other browsers for several reasons. But if you don’t like Safari, you can easily change your default browser to Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox. Simply go to System Preferences > General and select the browser of your choice.

Configure the Dock

The Dock is used to launch and switch between applications on macOS devices. By default, it’s located at the bottom of the screen, but you can move it to the left or right by going to System Preferences > Dock. Under “Position on screen,” choose Left or Right.

You can also make room on the Dock for the apps that you frequently use. To add an app to the Dock, open it and right-click on its icon in the Dock. From the menu that appears, go to Option > Keep in Dock. To remove apps that you don’t need from the Dock, click on its icon and drag it to the desktop until “Remove” appears above the icon.

Set up Siri

Apple’s virtual assistant is enabled by default on your MacBook, but if you prefer not to use it, go to System Preferences > Siri and uncheck the box for “Enable Ask Siri.” You could also switch Voice Feedback to Off if you want to mute Siri and get responses to your queries as text displayed on your screen.

If you do decide to keep Siri around, you can choose a language and voice for your assistant as well as the apps Siri can learn from and make suggestions. You can also customize a keyboard shortcut to activate Siri.

Flip the scrolling direction

By default, moving two fingers down a MacBook’s trackpad makes the view scroll down an open document or website on your screen. You can change your trackpad’s scrolling direction so that the same gesture makes the view scroll up. Go to System Preferences > Trackpad, and under the Scroll & Zoom tab, uncheck “Scroll direction: Natural.”

Set your screen to lock automatically

Keep unauthorized users out of your MacBook by setting the screen to lock automatically after the system has been idle for a while. Go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. Under the “Require password…after sleep or screen saver begins” option, select “immediately” from the drop-down menu.

Download and install iOS apps

The latest crop of MacBooks run on Apple’s M1 chip — this means that MacBooks and iOS devices now share the same processor architecture. This allows you to install and use compatible iOS apps on your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Mini.

To download iPhone and iPad apps onto your MacBook, go to the Mac App Store. Note that not all apps in the store are macOS-compatible, but developers are working on optimizing their apps for MacBooks, which means it may only be a matter of time before your favorite iOS apps become available for your new computer.

Got questions about your MacBook or other Apple devices? Get the answers you need and more from our experts. Give us a call today.

This post was originally published on this site