5 easy ways to keep out of harm’s way on your Mac

As a popular choice for many across the world, Macs are a tough option to beat. Giving consumers a hardy, almost virus-resistant model that won’t land them in trouble. It’s a misconception, however, that Macs are completely bulletproof from threats, and it’s critical that Mac users understand the dangers that lurk in the dark. Fortunately, there’s a few things you can do to ensure you’re not putting your machine on the line—here’s our top 5 ways to keep your Mac safe when using the net.

1. Recognise OS updates

Yes, yes, the pop-ups can get annoying, but they’re there for a reason. Like the Microsoft updates, these little notifications are a constant reminder that you’re not keeping your computer up-to-date. Give your Mac the best chance at security by updating OS software when it becomes readily available—these usually contain critical security upgrades that are paramount to the security of your system.

2. Update your apps

Just like your OS software, keep your applications at the latest version possible. Sometimes apps—especially from third-party platforms— can become outdated quickly. When this happens, hackers and other threats can compromise them, making their users vulnerable to threats. Keeping your apps updated will ensure you have the latest security measures from the developers, implemented on your device.

3. Use a good firewall and antivirus program

It’s all too commonly assumed that firewall software is just for PCs. Wrong. Your Mac still requires protection, so opt for a good program to keep viruses and other dangers at bay. Searching the App Store is a good start, but it’s critical that you look into obtaining a more comprehensive piece of software for long-term use. If you’re not sure which one to use, computer technicians like our Cairns team can assist you.

4. Good passwords are important

It may seem obvious, but many of us still don’t put enough thought into the passwords we set. Make sure you choose lengthy, hard-to-guess passwords that no one (including those you know) would be able to guess. Simple, but effective.

5. Keep your confidential information confidential

When shooting off emails, keep all of your private data out of them. Unless you know how to encrypt an email, your messages are actually not so confidential. Keep passwords, account details and other information away from these messages and double check attachments before you include them.

While these tips are handy, they may come a little too late if you’ve already got a Mac that’s playing up because of a security breach. If this is the case, our services for Mac repairs in Cairns can assist you. Message or call us today for a free quote on 07 4036 1320.

The computer dilemma: upgrade or replace?

Your computer is your professional lifeblood – and let’s face it, it’s pretty vital for personal things as well.

Whether it’s a desktop, a laptop or a tablet, your computer should be able to handle everything your working life and your personal life throws at it.

But sometimes you can reach the limits of what your system is capable of. Maybe a certain program doesn’t run fast enough, you’ve got a limited amount of storage capacity left, or the screen and keyboard are just starting to look a bit worn.There are two options: treat the computer like a Hot Rod and upgrade the systems with some supercharged new parts. Or just get a completely new computer with all the bells and whistles you need.

Both choices solve the same problem – they make your computing life better. But which one should you go with?

The advantages of a computer upgrade

Upgrading your existing computer means you swap out some of the legacy parts for newer, faster versions. You can replace just about everything from the memory to the hard drive with the very latest technology.

The advantage you get from an upgrade is a modernised computer that’s still the model you know and like. However, that’s also the disadvantage – your computer essentially remains the same, and even though you’ve replaced some parts, others may still need changing further down to the line to keep up with the times.

The advantages of a computer replacement

If you decide to replace your existing computer with a newer, faster model, all of your problems should be solved in one go.

A new computer brings state of the art technology into your working and private life instantly, without any need to open up the case and replace parts. If your current operating system is modern enough, you can transfer all your files and settings to your new computer, including your programs pictures and other files.

Value for money is key

The main consideration when deciding whether to upgrade or replace your computer should be value for money.

If an upgrade to a few components brings your computer up to scratch, it’s worth pursuing. But if you need to buy a huge array of new parts and to get them installed, perhaps it’s better value to simply buy a new computer that meets the specifications you’re after.

At Computerman IT, we can help you make an informed choice regarding your computer in Cairns. We have a wide range of parts for upgrades and lots of new model computers for replacements, and we will help you find the best solution for your needs

Business websites: no longer optional

By 2020, 70% of people worldwide will own smartphones. In Australia alone, the figure is already at 75% and it’s changing the way consumers behave. When hearing about a new or existing business from a friend, family or other source, the first response will usually be to look it up online. More often than not we also locate our restaurants, newsagents, supermarkets and shops from their listings online – listings that link directly to websites.If your Cairns business does not yet have an online presence, it needs one. In the 21st century, it’s no longer optional, but essential if you want to reach all of your target demographic. If that’s not convincing enough, here are three more advantages to having a website for your company.

1. Accessibility

Accessibility is an extremely important quality for a business in a society that is becoming less tolerant and less patient. These days, a consumer will likely give up his search completely if your business can’t be found within a very short period of time. Unfortunately, the lack of a website will most likely mean a lack of customers as they opt for easier options. Having a website easily fixes this and will ensure that any potentially missed customers have the potential to become loyal consumers.

2. Image

A website will do more than just promote what you’re selling, it’ll also promote your company’s entire image. For example, if you’re trying to portray your company as modern and stylish, a well-designed website can do this without even saying anything. Good website design for your Cairns business tells your consumers you’re professional and easy to contact, which is something you don’t want to pass up.

3. Sell your company, in your own time

Advertising, while having its place, is a very limited form of getting your business’s message across. It will generally be in one format with restricted word counts and/or a time limit. With a website, however, you can overcome these restrictions and portray what your business has to offer the way you want, without restrictions.

We hope you can see the benefits in creating a website for your business. With a salesman that never sleeps, goes on holidays, or asks for a raise; why wouldn’t you get a website for your business?

Protecting your computer from viruses, a short guide

In the past they were mostly harmless, prank type applications which could have an animated man walking across your screen or all of your jpg files deleted through a love letter email. As time goes on, however, viruses, along with their effects are becoming much more sinister. From trojan horses which can completely wipe your system, to remote desktop viewers which can unknowingly aid the theft of your personal information, it’s good to be prepared. How, though, can you make sure that your computer has a robust enough defence system to ensure you stay protected from viruses?

(1) An Antivirus Program

Arguably the most important protective measure, an antivirus program can be vigilant where you cannot. By consistently scanning your system for all types of viruses, you’re effectively setting up a second pair of eyes in the fight against malicious software. Keep the software updated and it will keep most, if not all, viruses out of your computer by identifying and deleting them before they cause any further damage.

(2) A Firewall

A firewall differs from an antivirus program in that it monitors traffic and connections for anything untoward, while an antivirus program scans pre-existing software and files. The combination of the two will ensure that no viruses get in and any you may have already accidentally downloaded or opened are detected and deleted without any further complications.

(3) Personal Precautions

While the last two points were about software that handled anti-virus efforts for you, this pointer is about precautions you can take yourself. Keeping your computer updated, checking email attachments for validity and configuring your pop-up and privacy settings on your browser all help in protecting you against untoward software.

With these three simple tips you can ensure you don’t fall victim to a virus which could have potentially devastating consequences. If you need help installing anti-virus software or you need virus removal services in Cairns, our on-site computer services, same day virus removal services and security related checkups will have you well supported.

So, if you’ve fallen victim to a virus, need help with the three above tips, or are just generally concerned with the security of your device, Call Computerman IT on PH: 07 4036 1320 for assistance.

Is Mac Defender a Virus?

Is Mac Defender a Virus?

Short answer…Kinda. It’s not going to completely destroy your mac but its not good to have on your computer. It is classed as malware so it has a potential to do malicious things to your computer. It’s a first for the Apple OS but its no reason to panic and disable your internet connection. We are not experiencing the downfall of Macintosh, but you should start paying more attention to your security online with your Macs

What is Mac Defender

Mac Defender is a fake antivirus program that tries to trick you into installing it on your OS X system (there is also a Windows variant). The program can be automatically downloaded to your computer through a malicious site or a pop-up might appear in your browser trying to convince you to download the rogue app. Once Mac Defender is running on your system it will try to trick you into handing over your credit card information. Mac Defender tells you that your system has malware and claims that apps such as the Terminal are infected. It may also open browser windows and visit porn sites in an attempt to scare you into thinking you have a virus. Then the rogue app offers to fix your problem if you purchase the full version of Mac Defender. Once it has your credit card information, the porn pop-ups disappear, but now the bad guys have your credit card details. Source: PC World

The danger

When it comes to online crime, you can split it into  four categories: Viruses which spread throughout networks, malware which attack web browsers, malware that that poses itself as legitimate software (like Mac Defender) and online scams such as ebay scams and search result poisoning. Macs users have commonly been attacked by online scams but as more people buy Apple Mac, its only natural to see the other kinds of attacks rise.

How to remove Mac Defender

Removal of Mac Defended is quite simple. Apple has provided an official guide to remove Mac Defender. Please refer below:

How to avoid or remove Mac Defender malware in Mac OS X v10.6 or earlier

Learn how to avoid or remove Mac Defender malware in Mac OS X v10.6 or earlier.
A phishing scam has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender “anti-virus” software to solve the issue.This “anti-virus” software is malware (i.e. malicious software). Its ultimate goal is to get the user’s credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes.The most common names for this malware are MacDefender, MacProtector and MacSecurity.Apple released a free software update (Security Update 2011-003) that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. The Resolution section below also provides step-by-step instructions on how to avoid or manually remove this malware.

Resolution

How to avoid installing this malware
If any notifications about viruses or security software appear, quit Safari or any other browser that you are using. If a normal attempt at quitting the browser doesn’t work, then Force Quit the browser. In some cases, your browser may automatically download and launch the installer for this malicious software.  If this happens, cancel the installation process; do not enter your administrator password.  Delete the installer immediately using the steps below.
  1. Go into the Downloads folder, or your preferred download location.
  2. Drag the installer to the Trash.
  3. Empty the Trash.
How to remove this malware
If the malware has been installed, we recommend the following actions:
  • Do not provide your credit card information under any circumstances.
  • Use the Removal Steps below.
Removal steps
  1. Move or close the Scan Window.
  2. Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor.
  3. Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window.
  4. Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity or MacProtector.
  5. Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit.
  6. Quit Activity Monitor application.
  7. Open the Applications folder.
  8. Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name.
  9. Drag to Trash, and empty Trash.
Malware also installs a login item in your account in System Preferences. Removal of the login item is not necessary, but you can remove it by following the steps below.
  • Open System Preferences, select Accounts, then Login Items
  • Select the name of the app you removed in the steps above ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector
  • Click the minus button
Use the steps in the “How to avoid installing this malware” section above to remove the installer from the download location. Source: Apple

Do i need antivirus software for my mac?

Do i need antivirus software for my Mac?

This is the question we get asked a lot on jobs around Cairns. Whilst it is a simple question. The answer is not. Before we speak about whether purchasing an antivirus is the right move, lets briefly talk about antivirus software in general.

One of the most important things to understand when considering purchasing an antivirus program is they’re not perfect. In the windows environment, it is common knowledge that at least 10% of virus’s will get past your antivirus system. Whilst this number is reduced (improved) on some mac systems, no antivirus is perfect and some do nothing at all.

Another important fact – no antivirus software will prevent a zero day attack.  When new threats appear online a number of people must be infected before antivirus companies will notice and start to gather enough data to create a virus definition. Between the time of initial attack and the release of an update to your antivirus programs, millions of computers can be infected. This means even a perfect antivirus system is still completely useless for a period of time after the release of new malware (viruses). A good example of this is the MacDefender malware that prolifically infected mac systems. It was achieved simply by modifying the trojan enough to slip through the definitions created by the antivirus companies.

Lets come back to the question. Should you buy an antivirus system for your mac. At this point in time the latest version of Mac OSX protects against all known malware. Due to the way OSX is programmed it is inherently more secure then other operating systems on the market. However, as previously mentioned, it cannot protect you against new malware, neither will your Antivirus software. As Mac OSX becomes more popular it will be become more attractive to cyber criminals. This will increase the risk of browsing the internet unprotected. A good example of this is the increase in adware infections in OSX system in the last few months. Also with credit card fraud on the rise it becomes prudent to enhance your security with an antivirus system. As the saying goes “its better to be safe than sorry”.

When it comes to business, we always recommend installing an antivirus. When operating a business, there is increased risk of using the internet without security software. With the hundreds of emails, attachments and websites that you access every week you become more susceptible to attack. Also if you become infected you could spread the virus to all your contacts and be blacklisted from sending emails.

It is worth noting that your security is only as strong as the weakest link, and that weakest link is you. Good decisions on the internet translate to good security. Bad decisions translate to infections. If it looks suspicious it most likely is. But if you need a second opinion, then a reputable antivirus program is the way to go.

Which antivirus software should i choose.

There are many different brands on the market. Some get better over time, some get worse. Some are very basic and others packed full of security features. Over the years we have come to trust one brand when it comes to internet security and those that have spoken to us know we recommend Kaspersky. Whilst it isn’t a perfect antivirus system. It’s the best one we’ve seen yet. It’s packed full of antivirus features that will protect you from cyber criminals and malware attacks. It also has banking security functions to prevent criminals from recording your keystrokes and stealing your banking password. Further, unlike some security systems Kaspersky Total Security includes a robust firewall as well as an antivirus for extra protection.

Should you get antivirus software for your mac: the verdict.

Quite simply, if you have a mac at home for general internet browsing and limited emails from friends, then your risk of infection or cyber theft is low. Accordingly, as long as you have kept your Mac up-to-date you most likely wont need security software. On the other hand, if you use your computer for banking or business purposes, then we absolutely recommend you secure your computer with an antivirus program. The risks of criminals getting access to your banking information or infecting your office with a virus is just too high to ignore.

For any further questions you may have about security or if you need us to drop in to assess your current virus situation please do not hesitate to contact us.

Note: If your office environment includes a server system please speak to us about a customised antivirus solution before purchasing any antivirus software.

Netflix Setup in Cairns

Netflix Setup Cairns

As most of us have already heard (thanks to being bombarded by advertising), Netflix is finally here. Big business is touting it as the end to piracy, consumers are excited that we finally receive a premium entertainment streaming service at a fair price. No doubt if you’ve got Netflix setup in Cairns, there is a good chance you’ve already spent a whole weekend on the couch watching your favourite TV shows and movies. If you haven’t got Netflix yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!. Maybe you need a bit more information, so here it is… As mentioned earlier, Netflix is a premium entertainment streaming service delivered through the use of your internet connection, Netflix customers are able to stream and instantly watch a selection of movies and TV shows in standard definition, high definition and 4K ultra high-definition (if your tv supports it) With a broadband connection and a subscription to Netflix, subscribers are able to watch whatever they like, whenever they like, on any Netflix compatible device of their choice. Users are able to switch between devices on the fly, pausing and then continuing to watch on another device at home or on the move. When launched, Netflix announced that the service would be available on “smart TVs, tablets and smartphones, computers and a range of internet-capable game consoles and set-top boxes”.

How to get Netflix in Cairns

If your viewing Netflix on a computer its very simple. You sign up to the service by visiting the Netflix website and fill out the online form to sign up. For new customers you get one month free to test out all the features (and get hooked to the service). After the first month you will be charged a monthly subscription fee depending on the level of service you have selected.

Great! I have Netflix on my computer, but what about my TV?

Well, this is where it can get a little tricky. If you have a modern smart TV you’re in luck. Most smart TV’s allow you to download the Netflix application from their app store. Once downloaded and installed you just need to sign in on the device and start using Netflix, its that easy. If you have an older TV, this is where things can get a little tricky. If your TV is not smart or internet enabled you will need to buy a 3rd party media streaming device to connect your TV to the internet and stream the content though the device. We recommend using an Apple TV or a Chromecast to do this, both are equally as good and around the same price.

Cool, i’m watching Netflix in Cairns

Thats it, its pretty simple once you know what you’re doing. If you’re already watching Netflix, then you probably haven’t bothered to read this conclusion. If you’re still having trouble connecting then we would be happy to help. Contact us today and book an appointment and one of our technicians will have you setup on Netflix in Cairns today!