Once installed a Trojan horse can do almost anything a Windows virus can do EXCEPT TO SPREAD TO OTHER MACS. Meanwhile they can be recording keystrokes and stealing all sorts of data.

Some of these Trojan horses are distributed with pirated software and others now come with offers of free programs.
The example quoted later is of a really cool FREE screen saver.

I have warned friends and colleagues for years never to send me FREE greeting cards that take me to some animated web-site; ditto for those pesky party invite sites that keep a list of all guests. These sites may not be setting you up for Trojan horse, but they are mining a list of active e-mail addresses that they can sell to the folk who to hawk shady pharmaceuticals, stock market scams and the like.

Always keep this in mind: If the service is Free, it is not likely a charity: they will have a business plan to make money.

Now please have a look at the links below. These are not intended to put you into a panic. Just to educate you on proper Internet Hygiene.

Many of these reports come from people who sell Mac Anti-Virus programs, so there will be a natural bias.

As for anti-virus programs, many are more trouble than they are worth, but if you do experiment with software or do a lot of downloading of music, TV shows, and Movies, there are programs that can just monitor your “Downloads” folder without putting a lot of strain on your computer.








March 8, 2011

iPhoto 11 Upgrade, but take precautions

The last time I sent out this mini newsletter I had cautioned against upgrading iPhoto to iPhoto 11. I was remiss in not following up that Apple had repaired the program with the repair provided through
“software update.”

One never knows for sure with an iLife Install Disk if the program needs to be updated or not, so it’s a good idea to install the software and then run software update before you let the program update your iPhoto LIbrary. Also good computer hygiene is that you always have an update backup especially of irreplaceable data, typical of most photo libraries.


Get Ready for OSX Lion 10.7

Sometime this summer Apple will launch its next version of OSX. Each version gets us closer to the impossible goal of having a perfect operating system, and Lion will bring new benefits.


Lion is expected to create some “orphans.” Core duo and older Intel Macs may be out of luck, and not able to install this new version of the OS just as Power PC Macs were not able to upgrade past Leopard to Snow Leopard.

The other orphans may be some of your software and the documents you created with that software.

It is still early to know for certain, but some testers of the beta versions of the next Operating System, Lion (10.7) have remarked that the OS no longer supports “Rosetta.”  Rosetta is the brilliant software that was able to convert the old Power-PC programs on the fly to function on the Intel platform.

One major program that is likely to be orphaned is the venerable Appleworks. Although Pages and Numbers will open your AppleWorks word processing and
spreadsheets. There is no program, alas, that will let you edit or even open Appleworks database files or the Draw layout pages that could combine bitmap and vector graphics with word-processing and spreadsheets: a spectacular software innovation it its day!

My advice for these programs is to open then while you still can and save the data files as spreadsheets and the Draw pages as Acrobat pdf files before it is too late and you will lose the ability to view the content of these files forever.

Before you update to Lion when is becomes available, please give me a call or read various Mac news sources to see what the compatibility situation will be.

You may think that you are “scott-free” if you have never owned a Power PC (G4 G5 etc.) Mac. In fact you may still have programs that require Rosetta on your hard drive. Small software companies (like the Canadian Tax Preparation TaxTron, use the compatible style of software because their market is not very large and they need to include Power PC users as well as Intel users to make creation of their excellent economical software available to the widest audience.

If you have a few of these programs that have valuable data and you want to buy time while still enjoying the added features of lion, I suggest creating a bootable disk, on an external hard drive, of your current system (Snow Leopard) with all of your current software. This will enable you to access these files until you upgrade hardware to a model that may not let you run an older version of OSX.

Mac Malware

First let me assert that there is not a known OSX virus in the wild that can infect a properly updated Mac, except if the user allows it.

What I mean by a virus is some bit of malware that you can get just by having your computer connected to the Internet or by receiving an email from some cyber-creep.

The Mac has always been vulnerable to phishing schemes and to what are called Trojan horses.

A phishing scheme is when you get an email or an Internet window opens up saying that such and such bank or credit card company wants you to log on and give one of your passwords. Banks never do that. Another scheme that has afflicted Windows users is a browser page that pops up saying it has scanned your disk and has found viruses; you are then encouraged to send money for them to clean up your computer.

Even though this scam had all the design elements of Windows OS, some Mac users someone got roped in.

Trojans are another problem entirely. These are full blown programs that purport to be one thing, but, in truth, they are something quite else. They may purport to be a photograph, a song, or even a cool program. Sometimes they claim to be viewers that will let you view the files that they offer as “bait.” Since these are full blown programs, your computer will prompt you for an administrator user name (most Macs run as Administrator Accounts meaning that YOUR id is the Administrator ID).

I see that the new App Store does not allow programs that force installation at Root level to be sold on their site.

An example of a good, safe program that needs Root installation is Microsoft Office. Only fear programs that do not come from a reliable  source