The Safe Mac

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Avast’s man in the middle

Posted on February 24th, 2015 at 12:47 PM EST

warning

The security community is ablaze with news of Superfish being pre-installed on some Lenovo computers. The primary issue concerning experts is that Superfish replaced SSL certificates, used for ensuring secure connections on the internet, with its own certificates. It turns out that the same behavior is being exhibited by software that many people are inclined to trust: Avast’s anti-virus software! Read the rest of this entry »

23 Comments


Apple cracks down on adware

Posted on February 13th, 2015 at 7:25 AM EST

e-biohazard

Apple has used the XProtect anti-malware protection in Mac OS X to block a few pieces of adware in the past. Yesterday, they cracked down on adware again, adding a slew of new items to XProtect’s signatures, used for identifying and blocking malicious apps. Three are updated signatures, while one is for adware never before blocked by XProtect. Read the rest of this entry »

28 Comments


OpinionSpy is back!

Posted on February 9th, 2015 at 8:08 PM EST

e-biohazard

OpinionSpy first appeared in 2010, installed along with a number of screensavers made by a company named 7art, as well as a few other applications. OpinionSpy – officially called PremierOpinion by its developers – was spyware disguised as marketing software. It was described by Intego at the time, who attributed to it the ability to capture data from the infected Mac as well as from the network it connected to, as well as having backdoor functionality. Read the rest of this entry »

22 Comments


How serious is Thunderstrike?

Posted on January 19th, 2015 at 10:59 AM EST

e-biohazard

A few weeks ago, Trammell Hudson demonstrated a way to permanently infect a Mac’s firmware using an exploit involving the Thunderbolt port on recent Macs. There has been a lot of very excellent information written about this, such as Rich Mogul’s Thunderstrike article in TidBITS. Although I can’t really provide any additional information, I can at least give readers my own perspective. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tech support scam pop-ups

Posted on January 6th, 2015 at 7:14 AM EST

warning

The internet has been awash with all manner scams for a long time. The variety boggles the imagination, ranging from Nigerian princes wanting to pay strangers exorbitant sums for help moving some money, to Facebook posts asking if it’s really you in this photo, to “one weird trick” for just about anything you might want to do. Although not exactly new, one of these scams has seen an upswing in recent months: the fake tech support scam. Read the rest of this entry »

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A look back at the malware of 2014

Posted on January 2nd, 2015 at 4:34 PM EST

e-biohazard

As most Mac users know, Macs don’t get malware. Unfortunately, what most Mac users know on this topic is actually wrong! There actually is Mac malware out there, there’s just a lot less than there is for Windows. Fortunately, in 2014, new malware appearances have dropped since 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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Genieo adware causing Safari crashes

Posted on December 21st, 2014 at 6:57 AM EST

e-biohazard

Over the last week, I’ve been seeing a lot of reports of Safari crashes on Apple’s discussion forums as well as via personal e-mail. All seem to be running Yosemite with Safari 8. Interestingly, in almost every single one of these cases, the Genieo adware was found on the machine. In every case where Genieo was found, removing Genieo solved the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

58 Comments


Downlite adware blocked by Apple

Posted on November 21st, 2014 at 7:24 AM EST

Happy Mac

Macs infected with the Downlite adware have been prevented from accessing my AdwareMedic site and portions of The Safe Mac for several weeks now. (See Adware blocking AdwareMedic downloads!.) This appears to have been done in an attempt to prevent people from removing this adware from their Macs. Fortunately, this also may have led to Downlite’s demise: it is now identified as malware by Apple! Read the rest of this entry »

50 Comments


Major iOS insecurity!

Posted on November 11th, 2014 at 7:32 AM EST

e-biohazard

I don’t usually write about iOS security issues here, because, well, there aren’t any! Okay, maybe iOS isn’t really all that rosy, but it’s been pretty secure overall. Malware has existed for iOS for some time, but required jailbreaking the device (ie, hacking it to remove security and allow apps to be installed from sources other than the App Store). Unfortunately, that changed yesterday, as FireEye has announced a method they are calling the “Masque Attack” that can be used to install malware on iOS devices that have not been jailbroken. Read the rest of this entry »

6 Comments


About the latest Avast false positive

Posted on November 8th, 2014 at 11:13 AM EST

warning

Yesterday, I reported on an issue with Avast identifying my site’s RSS news feed as MacOS:WireLurker-A. However, that post changed over the course of the day, as further testing showed that my initial assumptions were slightly off and more facts came to light. Today, after having had some time to allow the dust to settle, I’m going to try to clarify what happened in layman’s terms. Read the rest of this entry »

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