The Safe Mac

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Implications of celebrity photo iCloud hack

Posted on September 2nd, 2014 at 9:28 AM EDT


If you haven’t seen it in the news yet, I’m sure you will soon: the hackers who obtained and published nude photos of a number of female celebrities allegedly got those photos by hacking the iCloud accounts of those celebs. It’s unclear at this time whether iCloud was actually involved or whether news media have noticed two separate stories and glued them together. In any case, though, an iCloud vulnerability was real, so how concerned do we need to be? Read the rest of this entry »

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The unchecked growth of Mac adware

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 2:40 PM EDT

Adware was unheard of on the Mac just a couple years ago. The first Mac adware appeared in 2012, and it was the only one to appear that year. Since then, adware has seen an exponential rise that promises to bring the Mac down to the same state as Windows, where adware infections are very common. Most people just want to know how to get rid of adware, but the questions we need to be asking are what is causing this sudden growth, and why is it being allowed to grow unchecked? Read the rest of this entry »


What to do if your Apple ID has been hacked

Posted on August 10th, 2014 at 8:51 AM EDT


Apple IDs are a popular target for hackers. This is not only because Apple devices have become so popular, but also because Apple IDs typically provide purchasing power. With an Apple ID, a hacker can purchase music and movies in the iTunes Store or apps in the iOS App Store or Mac App Store on someone else’s dime. Typical symptoms of an Apple ID hack are a sudden inability to log in or strange purchases showing up in your purchase history or on your iOS device. So what do you do if you believe your Apple ID has been hacked? Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


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