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Time For Security Software Mac

Time to Take Security Seriously

The malware-free times of Mac users are behind us permanently. Mac OS X Trojan, MacDefender, Mac Security, Mac Protector (and the biggest of all) Flashback (is back). Although Apple has a small segment of the computer market, its owners are a richer demographic. “If you can spend (US)$2,000 for a MacBook, you’ve got money”. “Cybercriminals are smart… These bad guys want to get a look at the ‘Mac’ user’s bank accounts now.

Target Acquisition

First, with the release of Windows 7, it’s time to stop making fun of Windows for having swiss cheese for security. Microsoft made security a major focus for this operating system, and it did make some solid progress in the job of plugging the old leaks that plagued Windows users for years.

Second, Macs are apparently not much more or less secure than Windows machines. That’s right, all that “Macs can’t get viruses” and “OS X is such a secure operating system” bravado is not completely accurate. Remember, Man makeable is Man breakable.

Most security experts agree that although Windows computers are more likely to experience an attack than Macs, They are not less secure.

This is essentially a market share issue. It makes economic sense for cybercriminals to use a piece of malware to attack the greatest number of machines possible; if you’re an entrepreneur (criminal or legitimate), you want to get the most bang for your buck. Attacking Windows machines is more lucrative because there are so many more of them. (Granted, older and unpatched Windows machines are easy targets regardless of market share, but that’s beside the point.)

In other words, the reason your Mac has never been infected with anything has less to do with your operating system and much, much more to do with the fact that most criminals simply haven’t bothered to create very many malware attacks for Macs. But, as you can see, this is no longer the case.

The Attack of Flashback

The Flashback Trojan is the biggest infection experienced by Mac users to date. Malware programs are designed to harvest user information that can be sold to third parties, or used for fraudulent activities. Flashback was initially detected by Russian Antivirus firm Dr Webb (and confirmed by security giant Kaspersky on April 9, 2012) to be quietly running on upwards of 700,000 Macs. Users are lured to infected Web pages that send a malware downloader to their computers as soon as they land on the page. Once the Trojan is installed it sends a message to the intruder’s control server with a unique ID to identify the infected machine. By introducing the code criminals are potentially able to control the machine. To see if your infected you can Download FlashbackChecker from Github.

Interestingly, Flashback Trojan is a Java vulnerability, and the actual exploit is OS independent, so (malware writers) don’t have to know how to write an OS X exploit. The result is that 98% of infected systems are Macs. Infections are not just resident to operating systems, the mitigating issue is increasingly the ‘browser’. Browsers do not care what OS you’re using.

The Macs have outpaced the PC industry for 23 straight quarters. As more people buy Macs we will see more Mac OS X targeting (malware). The weak point In this particular instance; the malware writers were targeting Java (a runtime which is used for anything from enterprise applications to popular 3D games). HTML5–a Web standard in progress that Apple, Microsoft, and other browser makers are helping to build–holds the same type of threat for future attacks.

How To Stay Safe

Today, the argument about which OS (operating system) is better is more or less moot. This is because although viruses and other “classic” types of malware still exist and are threats, you’re more likely to be hit with a social engineering attacks such as phishing which depend on tricking users into giving up personal information, visiting a poisonous Web site, or clicking a bad link. If you don’t fall for the traps, you’ll significantly reduce your chances of a malicious attack. Additionally, many attacks come through vulnerabilities in Web browsers and software, which has nothing significant to do with which operating system they’re running on.

To protect our computers from threats, we have to be wise about the places we visit, how we act there, and where things come from. Be aware of clicking suspicious links or downloading suspect software. Always keep your security (virus) signatures, applications and operating system patched and up-to-date.

Time For Security Software

There doesn’t yet appear to be a general consensus on which security application you should use to keep your Mac safe (if any). Mac OS X has some security measures built in, such as a firewall and timely security updates, but those are minimal measures at best. There are several third-party options available, including products from Kaspersky, ESET, Panda, Trend Micro and Norton.

No matter what security measures you take, the best ones will always include you being smart about your computing habits. In computing as in the real world, using common sense and good judgement is the best way to stay safe.

Advantages and Features of Mac Computers

Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard

A Mac’s operating system, Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, is faster, easier to use, and more reliable than Windows. It has built and maintained this position because Apple has based Leopard on a principle of constant innovation. You can therefore achieve more by doing less.

Apple has created the comprehensive applications that come with Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard to give you a fully-rounded computer life at home or in the office. Every Mac has iChat, for example. This enables you to have four-way video chats and conferences, and share the contents of your screen. You also receive iLife, software that beats anything a PC can offer for producing and enhancing music, photos, videos and DVDs.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, however, is Apple’s web browser, Safari. This is the fastest web browser on any platform in the world with features that are a pleasure to use. For instance, put a word in the “Find” box and Safari highlights the matching text and dims the surrounding page, making a search even quicker to complete.

Leopard and Windows

Nonetheless, just because Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard is faster and better than Windows doesn’t mean that Apple ignores users who are new to Macs and more familiar with the Microsoft operating system. To make the transition from PC to Mac as smooth as possible, every Mac has Boot Camp. This allows you to run Windows just as though you have a PC.

If you wish, you can also run Windows side by side with Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard. First install Parallels Desktop for Mac or VMware Fusion followed by Windows. You can then switch from Leopard to Windows as you please.

Other software

Another great feature of Macs is that every major piece of software, including Microsoft applications such as Office 2008, is available in a Mac version. This is useful if you want to retain files on a Mac from your former PC. The Mac equivalent of the software enables you to continue using these files without having to abandon them.

Moving files

The process of moving your files from a PC to a Mac is straightforward. Just download the files to a USB or FireWire hard drive and then plug this into your Mac. Alternatively, use a network, or ask your Apple shop to do the job for you.

Networks

There’s always a certain amount of pressure to conform to the type of computers used on a network at home or work. Macs, however, can join any network either wirelessly or with an Ethernet cable and function perfectly. In fact, as described here, if the other computers use Windows, you can easily load this and have the clear advantage of running the Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard system as well.

Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi capability for network and Internet connections applies to all Macs. You don’t need to buy a separate wireless link: every Mac has Apple’s AirPort Extreme, which enables you to access the net wherever there’s a suitable Wi-Fi network.

Viruses

Of course, when surfing the net most people are aware of the ever-present danger of spyware and viruses. But Macs don’t need special anti-virus software because Apple constructs them on a stable UNIX foundation and ensures security is a key built-in feature. Apple maintains this security by offering regular free updates and by having the Safari web browser warn you if you’re downloading a suspect file.

Dependability

It’s a load off your mind to be able to trust a Mac’s resistance to viruses and spyware. Just as important is the confidence you can have in a Mac’s reliability. Unlike many PC manufacturers, Apple creates both the hardware and software of each Mac. This results in computers that are not a combination of different brands but holistic units.

The main advantages of this approach are consistent performance and high working speeds. When you switch on a Mac, it comes to life far more quickly than a PC, which takes a while to check the different aspects of its system. A Mac also crashes or freezes far less often than a PC because its components and applications work so well together.

Peripherals

This is not to suggest that you must use Apple brand peripheral devices such as printers, cameras, and hard drives. On the contrary: Apple installs hundreds of peripheral drivers in each Mac so that it recognises most peripherals the moment you connect them wirelessly or via the USB or FireWire ports. This means you speed up the whole process of using a new device for the first time and also keep the Mac’s hard drive free of additional software.

Ease of use

Such ease of use is a characteristic cited by owners as one of Mac’s chief benefits. Everything about a Mac is coordinated to produce a computer that fulfils a wide-ranging set of tasks in as simple a manner as possible, without compromising creativity and fun. From the clarity of the display and ergonomic features of the keyboard, to the most sophisticated graphics software, Apple has made each Mac’s hardware and software simple and accessible. This is why Macs prove so popular in schools and colleges.

Environmental concerns

These design considerations extend to the environmental impact of Macs. Macs are quiet to run and use the latest electrical developments to reduce power consumption. Apple also run a trade-in and recycling scheme that ensures Macs are either refurbished and sold on, or are broken up with the least possible harm to the earth. This is yet another advantage of dealing with a company that takes its responsibility to you and the world at large very seriously.