Tag Archives: Time machine

How to Check For Malware on the Mac

Macintosh Malware and Antivirus Support

Stay safe from virus and malware activity on your Macintosh with these simple tips.

Do you think your Mac has been infected by malware or a virus? It’s always possible, and here’s some ways to check.

Is it a virus? Is it malware?

First of all, don’t blame every single problem on malware or a virus. Many problems on the Mac appear to be virus related, but, actually are system related. If you’re not surfing underground sites or downloading software from places you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t have any virus or malware activity. In the off chance that you do get a virus or malware, here are some basic things you should do to get rid of the malware or virus on your Mac.

Let’s start with the browser.

Google Chrome for the MacOn the Macintosh, you have a few choices for web browsers. The big three browsers that most people use are Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Of these particular browsers, we prefer Google Chrome as our day-to-day browser. Google chrome for Mac is a fairly lightweight browser, has great security controls, and doesn’t seem to have the issues that the other browsers tend to have. Another great feature of Google Chrome is that it has Adobe Flash built right into it. This means you’re not hounded by the constant warnings to upgrade Adobe Flash. This is not to say Safari and Firefox are not safe, we just have a better track record with Google Chrome across-the-board. It’s wise to be careful what extensions you do load into Google Chrome. Only stick to known good browser extensions that are featured on the Google app store. if you do need to stick to using Safari as your daily web browser, you should turn off the extensions. Extensions and toolbars are a common way for malware and viruses to get into your Mac.

Use free Malware and Virus checking software

The best free software we have found to detect malware on your Mac is Malwarebytes. This software is remarkably easy-to-use, and can be run once or twice a week to check for any malware on your Macintosh based computer. We’ve been surprised a few times to find that we actually did have malware and the software has found it and deleted it every single time. This software doesn’t run automatically; you will have to run it by yourself once in a while. Another great piece of software we have found the check for viruses and malware on a Mac is from the company Sophos. This free software does run continually on the Macintosh and is also a good, lightweight piece of software for checking viruses and malware on a Mac. Apple can also detect and defeat certain malware from their end which is built into the Macintosh operating system. This is obviously not the best option because you have no control over what it finds and what it gets rid of.

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Backing up your data is a wise move

With good data backups, a good portion of malware and viruses shouldn’t affect your data. Even better, have multiple backup options so your main data backup doesn’t get infected. We prefer multiple hard drives, and Google Drive as our backup options. Apple provides the Time Machine software that can back up every single Mac for free. All you have to do is provide an external hard drive for this option to work.

Be incognito whenever possible

Most browsers today offer an incognito mode, Or stealth mode, which hides your browsing activities. If there are sensitive sites you travel to, using one of the stealth modes may help limit the malware and virus activity on your Mac. The stealth mode can stop tracking and automatically turn off cookies on these sites as you visit them, which aids in your protection.

Stay away from filesharing and torrent sites

A lot of virus and malware activity on a Mac comes from filesharing and torrent sites. You should limit access to the sites if at all possible, especially if other family members are using the Mac. A good option in this case is to use a DNS filtering service such as OpenDNS to stop people in your household from accessing these and other dangerous sites.

Everyone should not be an administrator on the Mac

If your Mac has multiple users, and all them are set up as a administrators, this is not a good situation. This simply means that anybody using the Macintosh has full privileges on the Mac. They would actually be able to install any piece of software, including malware, that they deemed fit. Changing these users to standard users is a great way to bypass this problem. By making them standard users, they don’t have the privileges that an administrator would have. Therefore, they would not be able to make any changes on the system at all. By teaching these users good browsing habits, you should be able to limit the amount of malware and virus activity on your Mac.

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How to Configure Time Machine on Your Macintosh

Time Machine is one of the most important items that comes with every Macintosh computer. This is the software–not hardware–that automatically backs your critical and important data up in case of total loss. You will have to purchase an external hard drive (purchase here) before you can use Time Machine.

What exactly is Time Machine?

To make sure your data is completely backed up on your Macintosh, you should use the built-in backup software, which is called Time Machine. This software is on every Macintosh that is running OS X 10.5 or later. The Time Machine icon is in your menubar, and looks like this:

Time Machine Icon

Once you locate this Time Machine icon, click on it and choose “Open Time Machine Preferences…” from the pop-down menu. This will bring you here, to the main Time Machine preferences window:

Time Machine preferences

From here, you want to make sure you have actually selected your external hard drive as the hard drive Time Machine will start to use. Simply hit the “Select Disk…” button and you will see the window to choose your external hard drive:

Time Machine Disk Choice

At this point, simply select your external hard drive from the list (there may only be one choice, depending on how many external hard drives you have plugged in!) and then hit the “Use for Backup” button. A message asking to reformat, or erase, this hard drive may appear. If you have no critical data stored on this hard drive (it should be empty since you just bought it) then proceed with the erase. This will initiate the hard drive and get it ready for backup!

Make sure you have the large ON and OFF switch turned to the ON position.

Close this window and Time Machine will begin the backup process, which could take hours. When it’s complete, you will see something like this in the Time Machine menubar icon, which states when the last backup successfully occurred–keep in mind, Time Machine backs up every hour while the hard drive is plugged in:

Time Machine Done

Feel free to contact Capital Mac with any questions about backing up your important data with Time Machine.

Why (and how) do I need to backup my Macintosh?

Backup Your Macintosh with Time MachineComputer backup is one of those things like airbags; hopefully you will never need it, but, it’s there regardless. On average, today’s 3-5 year old Macintosh is going to blow a hard drive. You know, that place where every single photo you have EVER taken is stored. EVERY single document you have typed since the early days of college. That James Brown song that you found on some strange website 14 years ago. Now, imagine if all of that data was just……gone. It happens and it’s not Apple’s problem. When you walk into an Apple Store Genius Bar with this problem, they will kindly ask you if you backed up BEFORE the computer is in a death spiral. Since I’ve performed that very job for Apple, I can assure you that more than 50% of those customers answered “What is backup?” At that point, your Genius will probably sigh and begin the long, sad, awkward conversation on how you just lost all of your data. Read more below the fold.

Fortunately for you, faithful Apple soul, the answers you seek before this catastrophe are about to be laid out before you. First step, get a hard drive. I’m going to make this VERY easy on you and give you a link to the very hard drive I’m talking about–a simple 1 terabyte hard drive that will back up your computer–any computer–for about $70 bucks. Click here to go buy that on Amazon and get your data SAFE. That hard drive is about a small as a deck of cards and connects to your computer with ONE simple cable. That’s it.

You’re probably thinking: “Once I plug in this mysterious hard drive, what do I do to get it backing up?” Easy. The answer is click on “OK” when you see a message that states “Do you want to use Time Machine to backup your personal data?” Just say yes. Time Machine is the built-in software that allows your vulnerable Mac to back itself up to this new magical hard drive. As a matter of fact, it will save your life to the point of backing up EVERY SINGLE HOUR while that hard drive is plugged in. This is literally one of those set-it and forget-it moments thanks to Apple.

From that point on, your data is safe and secure!

Capital Mac is ready and able to talk about any of your data backup needs. Let us know by contacting us today–we can get you a hard drive and go over your backup options!