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Malware reports are showing up again, so it's time for safety reminders. We aren't immune to malware, but I've yet to see a nasty that could install itself without user permission. Don't automatically give permission to every dialog box that pops up. Look at it. Read it. Are you trying to install something? Modify something? No? Then don't give it your password. I grumble every time the iTunes Store or the App Store asks for my password, but it's for my safety, so I don't grumble much. 

Safari is my browser of choice, and there are a couple of things you should do with it to help protect your computer. The default Downloads folder in your home directory is nice, but I have all files downloaded to my desktop. I want to see what's downloading. Change it in Safari Preferences under the General tab. You can always move files when you are done with them. And while you are there, make sure that you don't have "Open "safe" files" checked. Open them when you are finished browsing. 

Using Firefox instead? Yep, there are similar settings under Firefox Preferences. Check the Security Tab, You want these items checked.

Set your downloads location under the Firefox Preferences General tab. You can also have it open the Downloads window when downloading a file. Do it just in case something is downloading instead of opening in the browser.  Safari does this automatically. It's just a little thing, but at least you'll be warned if something is downloaded to your computer.

Whatever browser you use, check the preference settings. The right settings can give you just a bit more security. And please, don't automatically click okay or type your password without thinking about it. Stay safe.

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  • ViewRoyal

    The only type of “malware” there is for the Mac, is software that requires the user to purposely install it themselves on their own computer. It is the equivalent of a total stranger coming to your home with a thumb-drive and saying “I’ve got some great software here for you, but I need you to install it yourself. Go ahead, you can trust me. After all I am a total stranger… who else would you trust”.

    Unlike Windows users, Mac users have nothing to fear from viruses that install themselves without the user’s involvement or knowledge. This is because, although there are tens of thousands of Windows viruses (and many more popping up each day), there are zero (0) viruses for Mac OS X and never has been one in the 10 years that we have used this OS. That says a lot about the Mac’s security (and the little need for Mac anti-virus software) vs. the total insecurity of the Windows OS.

    • les kern

      You don’t need admin rights to run applications downloaded as apps instead of installers. While the payload might not be as damaging, there is still room for clever scumbags to cause a bit of havoc.