Worried about your Mac getting hacked?
Over last the six months, there’s been a huge increase in the number of online scams that affect Mac owners.
The interesting fact is that your Mac isn’t hacked… your computer is simply used as a tool to hack you.
No matter how smart you are… the natural reaction to most threats is to act quickly. You act out of fear and that is what these scam artists depend on.
Before I explain one of the most popular scams, there are a few things you should know:
- Established companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Bank of America, Western Union, Macys, etc,. will never contact you online and ask for information.
- Legitimate companies will never ask online for money to resolve any security matter.
- Agencies like the FBI, DEA, ATF, Department of Justice, etc,. will not contact you online requesting money.
- There are no viruses on the Mac.
- There is malware, but… this will not damage your computer and is generally easy to remove with a program like Malwarebytes For Mac.
- No-one can tell you that your Mac is infected with anything unless you allow access to the computer or they are executing a legal warrant.
- Always remember, Macs are very difficult to hack. People are pretty easy to hack… as you’ll see.
What’s The Scam?
You’re browsing the internet using Safari, Firefox or Chrome and you go to a website.
Your browser freezes.
A message appears with a warning that:
- We’ve datected suspicious activity.
- Your computer is infected.
- Your data could be completely wiped
- Your financial information is at risk
- Your personal information is at risk.
- You’ve broken the law.
You may be told that all operations have been suspended on the computer for your safety.
And, you will ALWAYS be given a number to call.
What Happens Next?
Most peoples immediate reaction is complete panic and they reach for the nearest helping hand… the phone number.
Only it’s not a helping hand, it’s more like reaching into a bear trap.
NEVER, EVER CALL THIS NUMBER.
NO-ONE IS ON OR IN YOUR MAC. Your browser has simply opened a page that plays a warning animation and freezes your browser.
Take a minute. Calm down.
How Do I Fix the Problem?
This is so easy….
- Go to the black Apple in the top left-hand corner.
- Choose Force Quit.
- Quit the frozen browser.
Now… when you go to open your browser again, hold down the SHIFT key as you double-click it. This opens the browser without opening any prior tabs.
If you’re concerned there may be offending Malware on your Mac, run Malwarebytes for Mac.
If you need reassurance, call your bank, store or other company directly using a phone number you know to be genuine.
I Called The Number. What Do I Do?
When you call the number:
- You end up talking to a “tech.”
- They persuade you to let them onto your computer.
- They say your computer is riddled with viruses.
- They can fix everything for $500.00. You hum and haw… and then the hard sell starts…
To get out of the process:
Close any screen-sharing program you are using with them. Force Quit the application if necessary (see instructions above.)
Cease all communication. Ignore threats or warnings. Do not respond.
HANG UP. When the call back HANG UP AGAIN.
In “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” there’s a great line of dialogue that sums up what gets a lot of people into trouble – “The fear of offending can be stronger than the fear of pain.”
So… don’t be polite, make excuses, or listen… just HANG UP.
Have a trouble free weekend.
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