Over the past few weeks I’ve had a surge in queries relating to adware, malware, and ‘viruses’. I put viruses in quotes because they’re not actual viruses but, to the end user, what’s the difference: they’re all infections of sorts.
When I get such queries it’s not so much my job to investigate the how, where, why. It’s more a case of getting the problem resolved, and remove the adware quickly. With this in mind, I’ve found the first and best course of action is to download and run MalwareBytes. It’s free. I’ve found it to be very effective and resolves most problems in minutes.
Malwarebytes used to be called AdwareMedic, who’s ‘parent’ site, The Safe Mac, is also very informative, covering specific malware, scams, and security threats that affect the common Mac user. Well worth keeping an eye on.
Alternatively, if you want to remove the adware manually, follow the instructions found on Apple’s Adware removal article.
MacKeeper, a rubbish app, now available with added adware.
While MacKeeper is considered a useless app on its own, from a company that is untrustworthy (read all about it here), it seems there’s another version out there that comes injected with adware, which then plaugues your browser with popups, prompting you to download more software to fix non-existent issues, with warnings designed to induce panic, and offers of technical support to resolve threats, all for a fee. Don’t buy into any of these. It’s likely that such versions of MacKeeper where obtained from an affiliate / third party website, such as Softonic.
The real MacKeeper
This isn’t a MacKeeper review. I’ve read enough to not install it. Looking at the main MacKeeper website, one of the features which may draw people in is something they call Human Inside. Remote technical support, in other words. But why use layman’s terms? In the YouTube promo video, while at a MacWorld trade show, they say, “A live, human expert is integrated into the software” and “It combines the complex algorithms of the computer technology with technical expertise and creative thinking of a live support representative” . It all sounds like something out of Chris Morris’s Brass Eye.
It is nice to know that you have someone to provide a helping hand when you need it (by the way, as well as offering technical help, remote support is something we provide). I have no idea how good their support representatives are, but they claim they are Apple certified.
Macs, and Internet Security
There’s an article on Apple Discussions entitled Viruses, Trojans, Malware – and other aspects of Internet Security which I think everyone should read! It will take you 20 minutes, and possibly save you hours of frustration and hardship down the line. These threats are not going away, we all need to educated ourselves.
Third party download sites.
It’s not just MacKeeper that has ‘infected’ versions floating around. You may find trusted apps available from third parties such as Softonic, SourceForge, and many others, I’m sure. If you want to download any app, either get it from Apple’s Mac OS App Store (Apple Menu, top left->App Store) where all apps are vetted, or ensure you go directly to the developer’s website. Don’t download from a third party, such as Softonic, SourceForge, Macupdate, or download.com, to name a few.
MacWorld: Friends with MacKeeper?
I used to buy MacWorld magazine, before they went all digital. Their website continues to provide good tech resources, tips, and reviews but, I have a few niggles. Their website is bloated with ads, their daily newsletter looks like a clickbait list, and they seem to be sitting on the fence with regards to MacKeeper. Yes, it’s an article explaining how to uninstall MacKeeper, but it avoids the question as to why you might want to, altogether. Is this anything to do with MacKeeper attending the MacWorld trade shows for the past 4 years? And here’s another one: ZipCloud. I haven’t used it, but today I’ve had a customer saying he’s receiving emails from ZipCloud prompting him to activate his account and install the ZipCloud software. Doing a search for reviews I found this, yet MacWorld gave it 4 stars.
What do I use?
For antivirus, I was recommending Sophos, but this is known to slow the computer down. So, I’d go with ClamXav. Once every while I’ll repair the startup disk permissions on my Macintosh HD by using Disk Utility, which can be found in /Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities. I have Apple’s built in firewall enabled: Go to System Preferences->Security & Privacy->Firewall. . For checking what’s taking up space on a hard drive, DaisyDisk is excellent. If I’m not sure about a website, I’ll Google, ‘websitename review”, and if my browsing / internet is running slowly, I’d run MalwareBytes to check for AdWare.
If you’re ever looking for official Apple Technical Support,the best place to start is Apple’s Official support, here(UK).
And that’s about it, really. By now, I’m fairly wise to scam websites, dodgy software, phishing emails, and the like. But such threats are becoming more widespread and harder to spot so, never say never.
Stay safe, people!