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Secure Your Mac From Harmful Viruses

Sep 5, 2008
Up until quite recently, a Macintosh user was able to remain mostly free from harmful worms and viruses on their computers. This is partially because of the fact that as Mac OS X is Unix-based, the operating system is relatively secure against such attacks. Another possible reason could have to do with the fact that Mac has had a smaller market share than its main competitor. However, this entire situation changed a bit on the 14th of February 2006, when a new virus was introduced that specifically targets Macintosh users.

A file, 'latestpics.tgz,' presents itself as a tar-shipped screen shot from Mac OS 10.5. This file first struck at a popular site for Mac-based rumors and info; visitors to the site quickly discovered that the file was a worm. Although this worm won't cause any real damage to the Mac it strikes, it instead infects your list of buddies on iChat. This worm will affect Macintosh computers running OS X 10.4 or later on a Power PC machine (not Intel). Sophos and Symantec have started to respond to the problem, but there isn't an easy workaround in place at the moment. An official security patch will probably be released by Apple, but in the meantime, users can add a folder with an action that will alert them if something has been added into the input management folder.

To activate, go to:

Library / InputManagers /

Then, right click (or control click) on the folder. Select *enable folder actions* if the folder is not yet enabled.

Right click or control click again on the same folder. Select *attach a folder action.* Then, select *add new item alert script* from the default folder, Folder Action Scripts.

When the task is completed, you will receive an alert the next time a file tries to place itself into the InputManagers folder.

REMEMBER: This is only a work-around, not a complete fix. If you have an antivirus program that does contain a real fix for the problem, you should use these sources to solve the problem rather than those listed above.

Here are some tips for gaining better security for your Macintosh:

1 - Run AV

2 - Require that your machine collect a password after waking from sleep or screen saver

Apple Menu > System Preferences > Security > Require Password

3 - Add an administration account in order to install software and complete other tasks. Have a non-admin account for regular use

Apple Menu > System Preferences > Accounts > Add Admin Account. Next, downgrade to *standard,* remember password, log out and in again

4 - Use secure passwords that use numbers, letters, and symbols. Turn off automatic-login

/ Applications / Utilities / Keychain Access - then click the *change keychain password dialogue.* Select password and enter the type and length in the assistant

5 - Enable the firewall and turn off unused sharing features

Apple Menu > System Preferences > Sharing Services. Uncheck those you don't use.

Apple Menu > System Preferences

> Sharing > Firewall > Start!!

Following these tips can help keep your Mac more secure from viral attacks.
About the Author
Nick Pegley is VP Marketing for All Covered: Technology Services Partner for Small Business, providing local disaster recovery consulting and technology services in 20 major U.S. metro areas.
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