A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Hooptedoodle #212 – Technology Yawn Hour – Mac Viruses

Good Heavens - THEY are going to terminate my account - I must do something really
stupid without delay. This screen courtesy of EasyShopper, I believe - interestingly, the target
URL for this screen is something to do with a mortgage portal. Why don't these creeps just
go and die somewhere? 
For a few years now I have been using a Macintosh as my main computer. I still have a desktop Windows machine, because it is much better for some jobs, but the Mac is my main internet tool. One great advantage this brings is that I have almost forgotten about viruses – the Apple architectures are less vulnerable to malware anyway, but also the relatively small potential-victim base makes the OS X world less attractive to those sad little single-cell organisms who spend their nights attempting to wreck the internet by contructing viruses.

I’ve had a few minor jolts this week. First came from an invitation to update my installed (Mac) version of Adobe Acrobat. I accepted this, as one does, and very quickly got an alert that an unauthorised browser extension was being installed – Joyround. I attempted to cancel the installation, but my Safari browser went very strange immediately afterwards. My homepage was changed to an unfamiliar Google search request screen, and all new opening tabs showed the same screen. Google Calendar, which I use on my desktop and my iPhone for all family and business schedules, also began to behave strangely, interrupting the normal functionality with a recurring pop-up screen (which I couldn’t exit) inviting me to apply for a fancy deal on an iPhone6.

I corrected my browser preferences, and I ran a Mac malware checker, and found and eliminated the aforementioned Joyround abomination. Sorted – I am back to the normal Mac world of calm, except that I seem to be getting intermittent advert interruptions from something called EasyShopper – I’ll see if I can find how to get rid of this. The stupid screen shown at the top of this post is courtesy of EasyShopper, as far as I can tell.

Discussion with my son reveals that he recently had to reinstall Adobe Acrobat on his Windows laptop, because an update seemed to have put an undesirable extension onto his web browser.

Corrupt this
Watch your step. Carry a baseball bat at all times. If you get an invitation to bring Acrobat up to date, check that it is genuine and what you are installing – even if it is a kosher upgrade you may find that you have Chrome as your default browser afterwards if you do not carefully uncheck the necessary boxes.



2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the warning. Like you, I use a Mac at home almost exclusively now, borrowing my wife's Windows machine as needs may be. I recently had to help her uninstall Win10, which makes me all the more thankful for Mac. However, one does, as you say, get smug about safe internet practices so thanks for the cautionary tale.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michael - I progressed a little further since writing. I spent years with the dread of viruses installing themselves as fake versions of operating system files, or torpedoes in the registry department - leaving Windows behind has made me a bit dozey. On the Mac, malware seems just to get installed as an application - if you have a look at your current applications, any oddities are explicit. I found Joystream and EasyShopper installed as applications, both as at 22:11 yesterday - pretty sure this came about because of supposed Acrobat update - so just uninstalled them. I also set my Safari preferences back to defaults and set up my homepage and new tab choices. Seems to be fixed now.

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