The Safe Mac

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MacDeals adware found on file sharing site

Posted on July 6th, 2014 at 8:45 AM EDT


A reader brought a new piece of adware to my attention last week, called MacDeals. This adware appears to be fairly simple, consisting of nothing more than Chrome and Firefox extensions. More interesting than the adware (which I have added to my Adware Removal Tool) is the distribution method. Read the rest of this entry »


Avast installs adware!

Posted on July 4th, 2014 at 8:40 AM EDT


It would appear that Avast has joined the ranks of adware peddlers, as reader Fred Maxwell brought to my attention yesterday. Sometime around December of last year, a SafePrice option was quietly added to the avast! Online Security browser extension. This extension is available for Chrome and Firefox, but apparently not for Safari as far as I can tell. Read the rest of this entry »


Screenshot extension injects ads

Posted on June 19th, 2014 at 7:55 AM EDT


One of my readers was recently having problems with advertisements being injected into web pages, and none of my ad removal instructions or my Adware Removal Tool helped. After almost a week of working on the problem, it turned out to be caused by one particular Safari extension: Awesome Screenshot. Of course, this led to a whole new kind of investigation! Read the rest of this entry »


Russian iCloud hackers arrested

Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 9:03 PM EDT


A couple weeks ago, a number of iOS users in Australia and New Zealand had their devices locked with a ransom message, by hackers who had gained access to the victims’ iCloud accounts through still-unknown means. Today, Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that two hackers had been arrested for iCloud hacking. Just as there was much bad reporting of the Aussie hack by mainstream tech press, the inaccurate reports about these arrests have already begun. Read the rest of this entry »


Gameover trojan does not affect Macs

Posted on June 3rd, 2014 at 9:44 AM EDT


There have been a lot of people concerned about malware like Gameover, ZeuS, Cryptolocker and others recently, usually right after an outbreak of news reports. It’s important to understand that these are all Windows threats, and do not affect the Mac in any way. If you’re using a Mac, you need not do anything to remain safe from these things; you are safe by nature of using a Mac. Keep an eye on this site to be alerted to new Mac malware, when it appears, and read my Mac Malware Guide to learn how to keep yourself safe.


Australians getting locked out of iOS devices

Posted on May 26th, 2014 at 5:50 PM EDT


There is a rapidly-growing topic on Apple’s forums right now in which Australians seem to be having iOS devices getting locked remotely. The affected devices are displaying a message claiming that they have been hacked by “Oleg Pliss” and demanding that a $100 USD payment be sent to a particular Paypal account. Read the rest of this entry »


Vidx adware pretends to be video plugin

Posted on May 23rd, 2014 at 8:55 PM EDT


Something called Vidx has been teasing me for a little while now, with some tantalizing hints but no concrete leads. Today, one of my colleagues pointed me to a website where it can be downloaded. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing with it today, and it isn’t much different from other adware, except for one particular trick. Read the rest of this entry »


Uninstall Adobe Shockwave immediately!

Posted on May 22nd, 2014 at 7:01 AM EDT


Yesterday, Brian Krebs announced a shocking discovery: Adobe Shockwave Player includes an Adobe Flash Player component that has not received any security fixes since January 2013! This is a very serious security failure on Adobe’s part. I won’t be surprised if Apple blocks the current version of Shockwave, as they have done with vulnerable versions of Flash and Java in the past, but don’t wait for that to happen… remove Shockwave today! Read the rest of this entry »


The myth of the dangerous cookie

Posted on May 21st, 2014 at 11:08 AM EDT


Cookies have achieved a near-mythological status as harmful these days. Most people don’t have a clear picture of what they are, but nonetheless, many believe that cookies should be deleted regularly, or even blocked entirely. Often, this is based on advice from forums or even computer techs. The rumors of the hazardous cookie have gotten so prevalent that it’s worth asking the question: are cookies really as dangerous as everyone says? Read the rest of this entry »


Are ad blockers worthwhile?

Posted on May 5th, 2014 at 10:51 AM EDT


These days, everyone recommends using an ad blocker of some kind to prevent unwanted advertisements from showing up in the web browser. Seems like a good idea, right? Well, maybe not. It’s a bit unconventional of me, and is sure to generate some controversy, but my advice would be not to use an ad blocker. Yes, I hear the chorus of yelling and objections I just caused, but hear me out. Read the rest of this entry »


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