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avast! Professional Family Pack

Scams, Virus’s and other Cyberbullies:

Has your computer ever been infected by virus’s or malware? Have you ever had a pop up telling you to call a number because your computer was infected with a virus? I’ll try to tell you what to look for and what to avoid in the following article to keep you safe and sound.

Just like a human virus, we can do preventive measures, vaccines, and avoidance of potential threats, and still get the flu. So, keep in mind you can do everything right and still get a computer virus. Since we sell Apple computers we always tout their robustness against getting a virus over a PC. What makes the Mac so much better than a PC? This fact was more clear cut a few years ago, but for the most part still holds true today. The Apple operating system ( the program that manages hardware and software ) is based on UNIX.

Developed in the 1970’s, UNIX is a very robust and bullet proof operating system which makes a great base for Apple to build their system overtop of. Apple’s OS X series of software, much like Linux, was purpose built to make use of the inherent security designed into the UNIX operating system, and to help protect your computer from outside threats. It’s also about safety in numbers too. Even though Apple is one of the most popular computers in the world, they make up a small share of the overall computing systems with Microsoft making up the majority of operating systems on the market. This makes Microsoft a bigger target to go after with thousands if not millions of virus’s set to attack.

Over the past year or so we’ve seen Apples coming in with internet scams and malware, so the bad guys have found a way in, if not through the computer but through you the user. They have fake pop ups, malware that piggy back malware on good software downloads and a few other nasties to break their way into your computer.

So, what is the difference between malware and virus’s. Malware is any code designed to infect your computer and make it do things you don’t want it to do such as redirect you to different web sites, or steal your information off the computer. Malware can include viruses, spyware, adware, trojans, worms, and more. A virus is a specific type of malware designed to replicate and spread, infecting existing files similar to the human version.

PC computers use an antivirus program to find and contain viruses or malware. You can run an antivirus on an Apple computer, and our service techs usually install AVAST to help protect against things on an Apple. On the PC we usually recommend AVG, Malwarebytes or Trend micro, but there are dozens of others on the market. Norton, Kaspersky, Bitdefender and McAfee are just a few. They all are only as good as how up to date they are kept and if they can recognize the virus. If they don’t recognize the virus then they can still allow your computer to become infected. In other words there is no silver bullet.

Even if your running an antivirus, keeping away from unknown websites and downloading from reputable manufacture’s can help keep you protected. Even on an Apple computer, watching where you go and what you download is very helpful. On a few occasions I’ve had a pop up on my Mac, generated by the OS, asking whether I want to continue with the current download or not? If I wasn’t trying to download anything and I feel this was a fraudulent download, then I can cancel the download and the threat is over.

On the Apple computer you can be relatively safe by downloading things from the APP store. Apple approves all content on the APP store and keeps track of it. Having a problem with items from the APP store is very very rare. If you need to update something like Flashplayer or another update that isn’t from the APP store then look for the company that designed the program update such as Adobe for Flashplayer, and go to their web site only for updates. Malware and other scams always hide in the shadows of the internet, not usually the legitimate known websites. Just keep a open eye to where you go and what you do on the internet. Also keep those Antivirus programs as up to date as you can.

So what about scams. If you get a pop up that says your computer is infected and to call a number for repair, don’t do it. These are sometimes hard to avoid so the best thing to do is not panic and never, never, never call the number in a pop up that claims they can fix your computer. This is a scam and is NEVER good. No one from the outside can tell whether you have a virus or not. Microsoft will never call you. Apple will never call you and tell you your computer has a problem. What these scammers will do is take remote control of your computer and then demand money to fix it. They sometimes demand hundreds of dollars. We have even had customers who have lost thousands of dollars to these thieves. Always know who is helping you with your computer, and don’t let them remote control your computer. Keep in mind, the local computer repair companies need your business, not someone from another country. Keeping your money local helps all of us out.

Keeping a computer clean and free of malware is not easy. The best you can do is keep yourself educated about the problem. Make sure your running a good antivirus on your windows PC, and if you’d feel better run one on you Mac too. If you get a pop up don’t panic and don’t call the number. Call Sunrise instead. We can and will help you.

The next time we will talk about Mackeeper and other programs to avoid at all cost.

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