Opinion

DIGI-PIXELS: Musings about malware attacks on Macs

Photography columnist Norman Silverstone transforms his living room into a gallery space for Days With the Arts studio tour in Port Alberni earlier in June (2013). - Photo courtesy Norman Silverstone
Photography columnist Norman Silverstone transforms his living room into a gallery space for Days With the Arts studio tour in Port Alberni earlier in June (2013).
— image credit: Photo courtesy Norman Silverstone

I am sitting in our living room looking at giclées and framed photographs, some of them taken back in the 1980s. Les and I have opened our home for “Days with the Arts”: I have taken the living room to display my photographs and Les has the dining room to showcase her one-of-a-kind socialite/hostess aprons and her famous little handy tote bags.

Today being day two, we have been averaging about two people per 1½ hours. Almost all of the tagged people that look at my prize-wining photographs say the same thing, “What wonderful photographs”, as if they are in a art gallery or a museum.

The day started off fine, sunny with a promise of getting hot but by now (1 p.m.) the day just seems to be getting so much longer and quieter. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”.

I say “ If you don’t roll with the punches then you will get flattened”. And now for something completely different.

F-secure has reported that new malware has been found for Mac OS X. The malware is a backdoor application that seems to take screenshots of your computer and uploads the info to remote servers. The malware is being called OSX/KitM.A.

It is a small application called macs.app that runs when you log in to your Mac. Then it takes regular screenshots that it places in a folder in your home directory called MacApp.

Here is how you can find if this malware is on your computer. Go to System Preferences, click on Users and Groups, click on your user name, then click on the Log-in Items tab. If the macs.app is there then remove it so that it cannot launch when you log in.

Have a look in the Downloads folder, the home directory, as well as the Application folder, to make sure that the malware has not planted itself there.

Another good little free application for the Mac is CCleaner ( the first C stands for Crap). CCleaner will clean out the junk that has accumulated over time: temporary files, broken system permissions, and other problems. This will give your computer more speed as well as freeing up some precious room on your hard drive.

Be aware that CCleaner will not root out viruses, malware, spyware etc.

I use a very easy free program called ClamXav to check for viruses on my computer as well as checking the incoming mail. By the way, if you are using MS Office on your Mac, go to Word preferences, click on Security, and make sure that the box is checked that says “ Warn before opening a file that contains macros”. Otherwise you could open an e-mail attachment to find a nice juicy virus ready to attack. Whoops, too late, once the attachment is opened, you have the virus.

Don’t be a victim, protect yourself.

Any questions?  E-mail me at nsilverstone@telus.net or see me online at www.silverstonephotos.com.

 

Norman Silverstone teaches photography through North Island College and Eldercollege in Port

Alberni.

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