‘Flashback’ virus shows Macs more vulnerable

I hope the very legitimate sense of security Mac users have long had isn’t turning into a false sense of security. “For years, Mac users have been able to believe that they are safer than the average computer user and turned their noses up at antivirus software. But as Apple’s market share has grown, so has the threat to Mac users’ security,” the Washington Post reports. Specifically, the Post was referring to a virus called “Flashback” that may have infected “up to 600,000 Macs … mostly in the United States and Canada” which seem now to be part of growing bonnet.” A botnet is a network of “bots” (also called “zombie networks”) that are basically compromised computers – infected computers that are obviously no longer controlled entirely by their owners. Flashback “should be a wake-up call to those who still think that their Mac is invulnerable to attacks like this,” the Posts added. The security advice offered in the article sounds a whole lot like what PC owners have been told for very a long time:

* “Keep updated versions of Java as they come and automate … computers to check for security updates regularly.
* If you haven’t already, “bite the bullet and install some kind of antivirus software … which should also clean up any machine that’s been infected.”
* “Don’t click on links in emails that you’re not absolutely sure have come from someone you trust. The same goes for opening attachments.
* “If a URL looks suspect, don’t click on it no matter how ‘hilarious’ a video is said to be. Don’t believe promises from ads that sound too good to be true and don’t agree to download any software that you didn’t specifically set out to find.
* Any time you put personal info like a credit card number into a form online – e.g., when shopping on the Web – make sure that you see an ‘https’ at the start of the Web address. “If you don’t see it, there’s a chance you’ve been redirected to a fake site, particularly if the signal that you’re on a secure server has been there before. Try typing in the address of the Web site you want again – don’t hit refresh – or try an alternate method of getting what you want done.”
* I would add one more: Talk with your kids about that security common sense in the bullets above!


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