VIRUS & MALWARE REMOVAL
Viruses and Malware are generally targeted at PCs running Microsoft Windows as they provide a bigger market and are at the core of most business systems. Unfortunately, Macs are no longer immune.
Think you have a virus?
Almost everyone reacts with total panic.
Malware is designed to evoke this response. In this state, you can’t think clearly and you make bad decisions.
The first thing to do is calm down. That frozen screen or threatening email you are looking at is an illusion. No-one has gotten into your computer, but criminals are attempting to hack the weakest component in this scenario. And that’s you.
TYPES OF ATTACKS
Although attacks are becoming more sophisticated, criminals still rely on a number of relatively simple techniques that continue to provide them with a steady stream of income.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them… to avoid becoming a victim.
When Malware takes over Safari, Chrome or Firefox the screen generally freezes and you are presented with a flashing warning that . . . ‘Your Data Will Be Erased’ or ‘The F.B.I. Will Be Contacted’ or some other nonsense. No matter how many times you close and open your browser that flashing warning stays in the middle of the screen.
The thing is, this isn’t a warning, it’s just a piece of animation running in a loop.
This is usually pretty simple to fix – Force Quit your browser. Then hold down the option key and double click on the browser icon to re-open it. This keystroke command tells a browser to open with a single fresh window . . . and the problem is gone.
The second type of browser hijack replaces your search engine. It looks like Google . . . but you’re actually using a foreign search agent that shows you only what it wants you to see.
‘WeKnow’, ‘Chumsearch’, ‘Safe Finder’, ‘Searchme’ and ‘SearchMine’ are common forms of this malware.
It’s becoming increasingly sophisticated and can be extremely difficult to remove.
Adware is an infection that comes in many forms. The two most common are pop-ups and the loading of unwanted browser pages showing items for sale.
The hackers sell advertising to companies because, believe it or not, some folks actually buy this crap.
Phishing emails attempt to elicit information from you with some form of plea. They generally include:
A sob story
- ‘The delivery of your order was canceled’
- ‘Due to a recent attack on our database’
- ‘We wanted to make you aware of unauthorized access to your card data’
- ‘My funds are trapped due to a civil war in my country’.
A request for information
- ‘Please fill out this form’
- ‘You should update your details now’
- ‘Please confirm your account’
- ‘Contact the F.B.I., S.S.N. or F.D.A. using this form’
A punishment or reward within a limited time frame
- ‘You have 48 hours after reading this letter’
- ‘If we do not hear from you within 7 days…’
- ‘The money will be sent directly to your bank account’
- ‘You are eligible to claim a tax refund’
It may look good, but if you go down that trail it will end up costing you money.
These are scary… but don’t let fear cause you to follow the instructions.
The email generally states that the writer has video of you in a compromising position and that a copy will be sent to everyone in your address book unless you pay a certain amount of money within a limited time period. Generally, these idiots spell badly, have terrible grammar and insist on being paid in Bitcoin.
The thing to remember here is that millions of these emails are sent out every day. Only a few people have to pay for the enterprise to be profitable.
Actually assembling footage of you, compressing it and sending it to all your contacts would be a total waste of time.
So… don’t worry.
Adobe Flash Clickbait
When you come across a page/pop-up that requests you to install Adobe Flash . . . Don’t do it.
This is one of the most common Malware delivery devices.
Adobe will never ask you to install anything. Adobe updates are done using Apple’s System Preferences tab.
When you browse the internet, don’t click on anything that tells you to click on it.
If you receive a strange email, trash it. Banks, credit card companies, stores, etc will never email asking for information.
No legitimate institution will ask to be paid in Bitcoin
If you think you should click on something in an email . . . don’t click on it.
Install any Mac updates as soon as they are available. Just don’t the mistake of upgrading your entire operating system unless you know what you are doing. Most Mac updates are labeled ‘Security Update’. A macOS update will say something like ‘Upgrade to macOS Mojave’.
Use the free version of MalwareBytes For Mac to scan your computer and eliminate threats.
Just remember, the best anti-virus software in the world won’t protect you . . . if you are the weakest link.
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