Windows 10 Pre-Release Announcements

Windows 10 Logo

The much anticipated release of Windows 10 is right around the corner. Microsoft will be unveiling its latest software product upgrade in the upcoming weeks as reported by numerous tech news authorities.

 

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Yosemite Fixes For Distorted Video in Adobe, Safari Performance Issues and More

Yosemite Software Update

 

The have been a rash of problems with Apple’s new Yosemite upgrade. These will eventually get ironed out with software updates or with recommended workarounds. We will be going over the most common problems that some Mac users who have recently upgraded to Yosemite are experiencing. Additionally we will go over some fixes to these Mac OS problems.

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Problems with the OS X Yosemite Update and How to Fix Them

Problems With The Yosemite Update

 

Apple’s new operating system, Yosemite, offers Mac users many benefits and new features. However this recent, new OS upgrade has been causing strange bugs and quirks in the software. We will discuss some of the most common problems as well as some simple tricks you can try to fix them.

 

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Tis the Season for Heightened Cyber Criminal Activity: Tips on How You Can Protect Your Data

Cyber Threat Increase During Holidays

 

The holidays are key times for cyber-criminals to exploit the risky behaviors of unaware Internet users. According to an annual survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting, more people than ever before are planning to buy their Christmas presents from an online source this year.  As such a growing number of services for online shopping are offered on these platforms and IBM anticipates a significant increase of cyber-crime related to computer scams and identity theft.  Doing your shopping online with just a click of your mouse is often the simplest way to shop for many people, but it can also be dangerous.

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Data back-up storage

Data Back Up Lifesaver

The importance of backing up can not be stressed enough and lot of people don’t realize this until its too late. Considering how often hard drives fail, data back-up is crucially important for anything that can’t be afford to be lost. Sometimes failing hard drives are recoverable, but often data is completely lost.

 

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What Happens When A Hard Drive Fails?

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Mavericks and Security

Apple’s Yosemite is expected to be released in mid- to late October, and with all the hype, is looking to be quite the upgrade from Mavericks. The weeks following the release of new software or operating systems is always a bit rocky, however. Even though new software is thoroughly tested, it is unlikely to find each and every bug or incompatibility can be found before the release. Regardless, a lot of Mac users are very eager to upgrade, but should we just yet?

Taking a look at the hiccups and timeline of the Mavericks release can provide a context of what could go wrong. This is by no means a predictor of what will go wrong, just a guideline of the risks with jumping on the bandwagon the second the software is released. The risks range from slight nuances to major security issues.

10.9.0
In the first weeks that Mavericks was released, one major issue caused a lot of headache for users; the new Mavericks and Western Digital (WD) external hard drives had some compatibility issues. The problem was very specific, occurred most often when the external hard drive was used with WD’s proprietary software, that is the back-up data software that was provided when the drive was purchased. The results, however, were countless drives whose data had been lost and corrupted. A month later, WD released software that addressed the issue, although a number drives were unfortunately permanently corrupted1.

10.9.1
The first major update for Mavericks was released in mid-December of 2013. This fixed a lot of little nuances from the “dot zero” release. The most anticipated being the fix for Gmail and iMail2, making the two work together more streamlined. With this release, some code was overlooked that created a significant security risk for users. A security check in server authenticity while connecting to the server was missing. This allowed a man-in-the-middle attack to happen. This means that information sent from the computer through the network is intercepted and viewable by an attacker, who is looking for sensitive information like bank accounts and passwords. The patch, found in the 10.9.2 update, was not released until February of 2014 3.

10.9.2
Man-in-the-middle vulnerabilities are very serious, and the patch addressing it, among other things, was released in February 2014. With it, a few security holes again. The most serious having been the logging of Apple credentials via iBooks, which wasn’t patched until 10.9.44.

10.9.3
This patch for Mavericks addressed small code inconsistencies (which essentially all patches do) and thankfully left no major bugs–except the credentials access through iBooks was still not addressed5.

10.9.4
This update did not see any major security bugs and finally fixed the credentials access through iBooks.

10.9.5
The supposed last non-security update for Mavericks was released on the 17th of September of this year, around the same time the Shellshock bug was gaining media attention (even though the shellshock vulnerability has been accessible for years). The Shellshock bug allows unauthorized users to remotely issue commands on the exposed computer. Although Apple was aware of the bug in mid September, the patch for specifically this vulnerability wasn’t released until two weeks later, which received a lot of criticism from security experts; even now only two components of Shellshock have been addressed5.

What does this mean for Yosemite? It would be wise to hold out a week or two before downloading the initial dot zero release. This same bugs as Mavericks won’t happen exactly, but because Apple can’t test for each and every thing before release, other variants are expected. It is worth noting, however, that Apple allowed a public beta of Yosemite, which will certainly minimize the amount of things that will come up. Regardless if you decide to wait or dive in right away, always make a back-up.

MacKeeper Removal

Now you know what MacKeeper is, but you managed to install it and now you want to get rid of it. There’s a few ways to go about getting rid of it, depending on what was actually installed. If you downloaded the application straight from the website, the uninstall will be extremely simple; however, people usually find themselves having installed a publication of the app that comes bundled with adware and is increasingly difficult to completely remove. Here are some guidelines.

Before you start, if you used MacKeeper to encrypt your data, you need to decrypt it first. This is very important, otherwise you won’t be able to access this data after you complete the uninstallation.

 

Standard uninstall:

Open Finder and navigate to “Applications.” Find MacKeeper in the list and drag it to the trash can on the dock. Follow uninstall instructions. Empty trashcan. Reboot. Done.
 

 
MacKeeper received a lot of negative press because their earlier versions were very difficult to install. If you downloaded the most recent, untampered version, the uninstall is simple as that. (If you managed to install MacKeeper from 2012 to earlier, refer here for uninstall directions)

If you tried the standard install and MacKeeper is still there, had errors uninstalling or you’re continuing to get pop up ads, try the following.
 

Extended uninstall:

There are two ways to go about the extended uninstall. Automatically, with an application specifically targeted to remove adware, or manually deleting files associated with the adware.

Adware Medic(formerly AdMedic) is a simple, free application that scans your files and deletes those associated with adware. Simply select the option to “Scan for Adware” and once completed, Adware Medic will present to you a list of files associated with adware. You then can delete the offending files, reboot, and you’re good to go.
 

 
If you’d rather not rely on some other software for whatever reason, you can navigate to the files within Finder and just delete them yourself. The downside to this is that adware is always changing and finding new locations or new names to be installed under. You also run the risk of potentially deleting important system files, so use this method AT YOUR OWN RISK. If you are not comfortable identifying and deleting system files, stick with using the Adware Medic application.
 
The adware that sometimes gets bundled with MacKeeper is referred to as the VSearch trojan.

Start with deleting the following files:

     /Library/LaunchAgents/com.vsearch.agent.plist

     /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.vsearch.daemon.plist

     /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.vsearch.helper.plist

     /Library/LaunchDaemons/Jack.plist

Empty the trash can and reboot the computer, and then delete the following files:

     /Library/Application Support/VSearch

     /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/Jack

     /System/Library/Frameworks/VSearch.framework

     ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ConduitNPAPIPlugin.plugin

Empty, reboot. Go to your browser plugins for Safari and whatever other internet browsers installed on your system. Remove any extensions that are unfamiliar to you, or that contain “Spigot,” “Trovi,” or “Conduit” in their names. Empty trash, reboot and your system is good to go. If there are still pop ups, there is likely something more going on in your system. Feel free to comment here or post in Apple support if you need further assistance.

Is MacKeeper Worth It?

Is MacKeeper Worth It?

 

mackeeper

A lot of Mac users will proudly proclaim that their machines will never catch a virus. While this does have some truth to it, there are still plenty of security vulnerabilities in Macs (take the “Shellshock bug” from last month for example). There are a number of software security packages available, some of them free but most of them aren’t. The most familiar ones is MacKeeper, due to its aggressive advertising campaign and controversial reviews. So, what is MacKeeper really and which side holds their water?

 

Mackeeper is a collection of security and antivirus utilities exclusively for Macs. There are four components that make up the suite:

 

  • Security: Includes anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-theft. The anti-malware scanning engine refers to a database of known malicious websites and automatically blocks them. The anti-theft features uses iSight photos and detailed reports to the registered user so the laptop can be tracked down.
  • Data control: Includes data control for file encryption, file recovery, backup software and data erasure that permanently deletes files that can not be recovered.
  • Cleaning: Includes a disk cleaner, duplicate finder, files finder filter, disk usage report, and smart uninstaller, which allows the utility to completely uninstall applications or plugins that have been moved to the trash but still remain on the hard drive.
  • System optimization: Includes update tracker, login items, and default apps.

1281723007_one-app

A very big criticism of this software is that most these utilities are natively built into Mac OSX; the rest of the utilities are not really required and don’t improve performance with the MacKeeper bundle, unlike their claims. Including features such as:

 

 

  • Mac automatically removes “junk files” in the background (without any software assistance or user action);
  • the Gatekeeper feature keeps untrusted applications from being installed removing the need for a separate “anti-virus” application;
  • iCloud has anti-theft features built in;
  • there is no need to have another utility to notify you that there are updates for apps to be installed–this is done automatically through the apps themselves and the App Store.
  • Disk Utility enables the user to encrypt files;
  • Time machine can be used to create and manage back-ups

 

shredder

One of the few utilities that might be somewhat useful, such as the “shredding” tool, however this is only relevant to magnetic hard drives. If a user needs that kind of utility, it is much easier to search the App Store for a single use, free utility that does not come bundled with other processes that slow down your computer. MacKeeper, not only has a reputation for bloating your system, is also known to be notoriously difficult to remove, which makes it very inefficient for a single need. Guides like this can assist the users through the process, but quickly becomes convoluted.

 

 

MacKeeper’s advertising tactics have not benefitted them in their reputation. They use tactics such as pop-up and pop-under ads that bypass safari’s default ad-blocker, though this isn’t the dirtiest of their tactics. TheSafeMac.com has reported ZeoBit buying a domain name very close to one the name of one of their competitors. What ZeoBit did then was write a fake review on the page and plastered a big giant “download” bottom of the page, which redirected the users to download MacKeeper and not the software they made a fake page about. After backlash, ZeoBit removed the download links.

 

ZeoBit has responded to a lot of the negative feedback they’ve received. They claim that the negative PR campaign is run by one of their competitors (a competitor that they will not name). Also, ZeoBit allegedly has only 3% of their purchases request refunds (which they have 365 days to do so), providing evidence for customer satisfaction. They also claim that the uninstallation is as simple as dragging and dropping the icon into the trash, even providing step by step instructions on how to get rid of the software. Lastly, ZeoBit defends its use of pop-ups and pop-unders as spreading the good word about MacKeeper. They claim a lot of users are happy with MacKeeper, and how to inform the public about their product is through advertising.

 

Regardless, their claims and questionable software has gotten the company into trouble. At the beginning of the year, a woman filed a class action lawsuit against ZeoBit for false advertising. The software, as described in the lawsuit, claims that all computers are in “critical condition” after the software scans the machine, even brand new machines, and requires a repair by purchasing the software. After purchasing, the woman filing the lawsuit says that MacKeeper “provides limited antivirus and firewall protection, and deletes some temporary files, but does not meet other promises.”

mkverboten2

So what is the final word on MacKeeper? As it stands right now, the software doesn’t provide enough benefit to deal with the cost and headaches associated with it–it is a lot simpler to find single, one use utilities to get the job done that isn’t already a feature of Mac OSX. As for the court case, it was only filed at the beginning of this year, so a decision has not been made yet, although it is eagerly awaited.

machanic

1 http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/mac-really-need-tools-like-mac-keeper/

2 http://www.thesafemac.com/beware-mackeeper/

3 http://www.applegazette.com/feature/exclusive-mackeeper-says-unethical-competitor-trying-to-tarnish-our-reputation4 http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/05/06/Pennsylvania-woman-sues-company-that-promises-computer-security/stories/201405060191

4 http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/05/06/Pennsylvania-woman-sues-company-that-promises-computer-security/stories/201405060191

SoundDown Party At First Friday Art Walk On Santa Fe At The Gallery At iComputer

iComputer Denver Mac and PC Repair and IT Network Support

SoundDown Party At First Friday Art Walk
On Santa Fe At The Gallery At iComputer
First Friday Art Walk At iComputer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us for a night of fun and dancing on First Friday at the Gallery at iComputer during the Art Walk on Santa Fe. We will be featuring artists Greg Pak, Neil Yukimura, and Stephanie Albrecht. Also, SoundDown Party will be demoing their new product.

First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe in Denver always draws a big crowd with the locals. The Art District on Santa Fe is a unique area of Denver that is nationally recognized for the art and artists that are displayed throughout the over 60 different art galleries participating in the free First Friday Art Walk event, which is held from 6 PM – 10 PM every first Friday of every month. iComputer partakes in these events with a showing of local artists and music. During every First Friday Art Walk Santa Fe is filled with street performers and food trucks, there are many different activities for attendees of all ages.

This month we will be featuring artists: Greg Pak, Stephanie Albrecht and Neil Yukimura. Additionally SoundDown will be demoing their new products, as the “Silent Disco” debuts in Denver. The owners of SoundDown, Peter Hoang and his business partner, Carlos Luis Padilla, have taken this idea previously seen in SF and NY, to a new level. The SoundDown Party guys have developed a whole new way to have a dance party. Come check it out at iComputer.
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iMac 20 inch 2008 

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Do You Back Up? – iComputer’s Techs Can Set You Up With A Reliable Data Back Up Solution For Your Home Computer or Business Network

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For Your Home Computer Or Business Network

Be Proactive! 

Hopefully you have never experienced any data loss but if you have you know that it can be pretty devastating.  Take preventative measures before disaster hits and make sure you have all your important files backed up.

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