Should you be running Mac Antivirus software in 2013?

On the heels of last week's post about the latest Java vulnerability, I came across an article over the weekend by Rich Mogull, TidBITS.com's security editor. Here is the first paragraph of his article, followed by a link to the entire story:

"It has been over four years since I wrote “Should Mac Users Run Antivirus Software?” (18 March 2008). Although much has changed since then, my recommendations mostly haven’t. While Macs aren’t immune to malicious software (malware), and we even experienced one reasonably widespread incident in 2012, malware on Macs is still not nearly common enough to recommend antivirus software for everyone. And while antivirus tools are effective against certain known attacks, they often don’t provide the level of protection people expect." [Emphasis mine]

Read the entire article here.

His bottom line opinion (in bold above) is exactly what I've been saying for years. Even though there have been more frequent threats identified as affecting Macs in recent months, I still think they're rare enough (as well as being relatively benign in their threat levels) that the downsides of running A/V software on your Mac full time aren't warranted.

There are a few instances where I might feel differently, one of which was mentioned in the comments appended to the above article. The example given was one where a particular user frequently uses flash drives to share files between Macs and PCs. In that case, running A/V software would be a good way to stop the potential spread of PC viruses via the flash drives.

If you still want to run a Mac A/V package of some sort, Sophos has a decent free option, and Intego's products are also well-regarded.

Happy (and healthy) surfing!


Java trouble, again!

As many of you have read by now, there's a new Java vulnerability making headlines, and I've gotten a lot of emails asking about it. Back in April of last year I wrote a blog post about the Flashback trojan, and one of the security suggestions that resulted from the whole ordeal was to disable Java in your browser (and possibly elsewhere). If you'd like to read more about the current issue that has a lot of folks concerned, check out this link:


And below, excerpted from my post last April, are instructions for disabling Java in Safari, Firefox, or system-wide:

...consider turning off Java altogether in Safari. Go to Preferences in Safari, and click on the Security tab, then uncheck the Enable Java checkbox:

UPDATE: Several folks have asked how to disable Java in Firefox. Here are the instructions:

Open Firefox's preferences, go to the General tab, and then click on the "Manage Add-ons..." button in the lower right corner. That will open another Firefox window, showing a list of plug-ins, one of which is the 'Java Applet Plug-in'. Disable that plug-in, and you should be good to go...


To be even more secure (and aside from your browsers), you could disable Java system-wide. I don't recommend this, however, unless you're positive you don't use any Java-based programs (CrashPlan uses Java, for example). If you want to disable it, you will need to go to your Applications folder, find the Utilities folder within it, then a program called Java Preferences. Open that, and uncheck all the boxes under the General tab, as seen below:

Unfortunately, the online world just seems to get riskier as it gets more powerful. Keep reading your daily news to learn of the latest threats, and check back here for the details...


Mac Classes - January 2013

Happy New Year everyone!! Phew, we made it through the holidays; I hope you all had a grand time with the ones you love.

I've got some exciting news to share for 2013! Check it out below...

Class list for January 2013:
Sat., January 12th, from 10 a.m. to noon: iPhoto; Ridgway Town Hall
Sat., January 26th, from 10 a.m. to noon: Numbers; Ridgway Town Hall
Wed., January 30th from 5-7 p.m.: FREE iPad/iPhone Overview; Ridgway Library

Read on for the details...

 To kick off the new year, on Saturday, January 12th, from 10 a.m. to noon, I will once again be offering my in-depth class on iPhoto. Come learn everything there is to know about Apple's powerful digital image organization/editing program. Is it finally time to get your photo library under control, with the added bonus of learning how easy (and fun) the process can be? Well then, this is the class for you! I will be covering both the latest version (iPhoto '11) as well as the previous ('09) version. Cost for this class is $20, and it will be held at the Ridgway Town Hall. No sign-up necessary, and it's open to drop-ins, so come if you can!

 Then, on Saturday, January 26th, from 10 a.m. to noon, I'm offering a comprehensive class on Apple's Numbers program. I've had several requests for this class recently, so if you're interested in learning the ins and outs of Apple's spreadsheet program, as well as finding out just how user-friendly a spreadsheet app can be, then be sure to join me on the 26th. This class is also $20, also at the Ridgway Town Hall. No sign-up necessary, as above; don't miss it!

***Now for the big news for 2013***:

 The Ridgway Library has given me the go-ahead to switch up my regular FREE Mac OS X Overview class, which takes place on the last Wednesday of every month. Starting this month, I'm going to alternate monthly between the Mac OS X Overview and an iPad/iPhone Overview! So, this month I'm going to start with the FREE iPad/iPhone Overview on Wednesday, January 30th from 5-7 p.m. These overview classes are always held in the computer lab at the Ridgway Library. There are only eight seats available, and the Library has asked that I handle the sign ups, so give me a call at 970-417-8434 (or drop me an email) if you'd like to attend. (Be aware that first-timers take priority over anyone who has taken the class before, but there are often openings for repeaters).

For the iPad/iPhone Overview, you'll need to bring your own device. For the Mac Overview, there are six Macs in the computer lab, so only two of the eight attendees need their own laptops. This class is beginner-oriented, but we cover some different things every month; repeat attendees are encouraged (when there's room)!

Take care everyone, and have a great month!!

As always, let me know if there's something else you'd like me to consider covering in the Saturday sessions.