Posts Tagged ‘Macintosh’

Are Macs Really More Secure Than PCs?

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

For years, Apple has claimed that Macs are unassailable to attack, while rebuking Windows as being filled with security holes. Now not only has a Trojan been able to infect Macs and create a botnet, but many famous researchers caution that the Mac’s Operating System is more vulnerable than both Windows or Linux.

There has been a lot of media hype recently about the detection of the world’s first Mac botnet. On downloading a pirated copy of iLife, Mac users found that their machines were corrupted by a Trojan which opens a port on the local connection hosts by acting as a back door.

While addressing the Trojan, Apple claimed that the chances of being infected by this virus is negligible. But the very fact of its existence, and a botnet run by it, proves that Apple’s declaration that Macs are impenetrable to attacks is simply false.

Hackers say that they find Macs less secure than their present Windows equivalent. They say the code quality, in terms of security, is superior in Windows. Apple has fallen behind as far as security is concerned in the last several years.  This is largely because the spotlight has been on Window’s OS but not as much on Mac’s.

The general perception that Macs are invulnerable to attacks is fast changing. On the contrary, more people these days assert that Macs are far easier to exploit than Windows. The steps taken by Windows to ensure that it is harder for an exploit to work are not followed by Mac. This makes hacking into Macs so much easier as one does not have to jump hoops and deal with all the anti-exploit measures that can be found in Windows.

The security aspect also has to do more with the operating system than with the target program. Firefox on Mac is very easy to hack into. The underlying OS does not have built-in anti-exploit patches. Firefox on Windows is another matter altogether, rated one of the most secure browsers across all platforms.

There is another simple explanation as to why Macs are easier to hack into than Windows.  Bugs that pop up on all platforms are mostly the same, but it is very difficult to write an application for Windows. Hence, it is equally difficult to write an exploit for Windows, making hacking Macs comparatively easier.

From the start, Mac has had a UNIX foundation. This is why several years ago Mac was more secure than Windows. But the latest kinds of Trojans can override all the UNIX protections and hence the edge that Mac has held over Windows has been nullified and Macs are now inherently less secure than the latest versions of Windows.

There is also the belief that Apple’s polished reputation has little to do with its hardware, but is all because of excellent marketing. It may be that the legend of the Mac’s superior security is more about marketing genius and less about actual facts.

So for those in the Mac community who are still under the impression that the Mac is invincible: Sorry to break it to you but that is a thing of the past.

You can find more great articles, resources and free downloads for the Mac at Macintosh Tools.

Macintosh Tools has the latest articles, resources, software and tools for your Mac.

How to Reinstall Mac OS

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

The instructions in this article can be used to reinstall the operating systems of a wide range of MAC systems.

Insert MAC OS X Disc

The first step to reinstalling the operating system of your MAC PC begins with putting in the CD/ DVD with the OS X software into the disk drive. While pressing the [C] button key one has to restart the computer system. Once the computer has started up you will be given the option to “Continue” which you choose for the first two screen pages that appear. After this, the third page displays all the crucial information which is relevant to the installation process. After this information is presented, the subsequent two pages too have to be allowed to go further, which the user does by clicking on the Continue tab. Once this has been done, you will be presented with the Terms of License which you must read through carefully. Post this, if you agree with all the terms and conditions presented therein, you will click on the Agree tab to further the process.

Customize your installation

The next step involves choosing the details regarding the volume and the hard drive that one wishes to configure the OS X on. After deciding upon the volume you can choose to open up the Options tab and choose whether or not you wish to store the previous operating system in the archives. A folder known as Previous System can be used for storing the original operating system and one can also choose to save the old Users as well as the original network configurations.

Follow instructions and wait…

After this one has to let the installation process go on. This step can take a little long as the entire system needs to be configured. One only has to follow the automatic prompts that are provided by the computer system itself. You will be requested to begin a new account where you shall have to fill in a User Name and a Password to correspond with it. It is advisable to choose the “password hint” option to remind you of the same if you forget it at a later stage. The password is crucial to your system as it is required all through the process and even later, when you use the PC on a regular basis. Without this password you will not be able to modify or alter your system settings in any way and you will be unable to add new features or programs at a later stage.

Personalize your MAC

The next step involves choosing the personalization features such as those of selecting the date, the day, the time zone and such. Once such custom settings have been decided the installation process is finished. Now one needs to start the computer again to initiate the newly installed operating system. Upon the start up you might be asked to install a variety of different software. These updates are provided by the operating system to inform you of the different options available to you.

The re-installation process is now complete!

For more Macintosh tools, resources, articles and freebies visit: Macintosh Tools

10 Cool AppleScripts You Should Try

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

The scripting language built in to the Mac’s OS is referred to as AppleScript. It uses an English-based language to automate tasks on the Mac. AppleScripts are located in your Library/Scripts folder and the Script Editor can be launched by double-clicking a script where it describes what the script does and you can run it by clicking Run.

Here is a list of 10 cool AppleScripts that you should try.

1. Add to Folder Names

With Add To Folder Names you can add something at the beginning or end of all folder names on the front-most Finder window. Items on the desktop will be used by the script, if no Finder windows are open. This saves a lot of time as you don’t have to go through a large group of folders one by one just to add something to the folder name.

2. Add to File Names

Similarly, Add To File Names changes files in the front Finder window, instead of folders.

3. Trim Folder Names

The next two scripts are the opposite of the two mentioned above. Trim Folder Names lets one trim the text from the beginning or the end of a folder. This helps in altering the folder names that you want to change or shorten.

4. Trim File Names

Trim File Names is similar to Trim Folder Names, except that instead of folder names, this can cut the start or end of file names.

5. Finder Windows- Hide All

All the Finder windows that are open can be minimized into the dock by using the Finder Windows – Hide All script.

6. Finder Windows-Show All

Finder Windows – Show All will do the exact opposite, and bring all Finder windows that are in the Dock back out onto the Desktop.

7. Crazy Message Text

On running Crazy Message Text, a dialog asks the user to type the text to create the “crazy” mail message with. After entering text and on hitting OK, a Mail message is created, on which the text is pasted with each letter in a different size, font and colour.

8. Create New Message

The Create New Message Script is useful to browse the Web or RSS feeds. It lets you make a Mail message from whatever application you’re in at the moment. A small dialog asks the receiver’s name, address, the subject, content, signature, and the “from” address. After clicking OK, Mail opens and the message that you entered can be sent.

9. iTunes Remote Control

The iTunes Remote Control is the perfect substitute for an iTunes controller. On running the script, a dialog pops up and you can make iTunes “pause”, “play,” or “stop” among other commands.

10. Clipboard Viewer

The Clipboard Viewer script shows a dialog with whatever is on the clipboard. If you have a file copied, the filename will be displayed.

The Scripts folder contains tons of other cool Applescripts. And what’s more, You can even customize or even write your own AppleScripts!

For more Macintosh articles, resources, tools and downloads visit Macintosh Tools

Quick Tips to Secure Your Mac

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

The Mac is a series of Personal Computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. One of the features of the Mac that gives it an edge over other computers is its safety and security, which far outstrips any of its competitors. Here are a few easy tips for the security of your Mac.

Update the OS with Security Patches

The simplest way to ensure the safety of your Mac is to update the Operating System with the latest Security Patches on the net by going to the Apple option on the menu bar and then selecting the Software Update option. The Mac can also be set to check for Software Updates automatically and it will check for these updates daily, weekly or monthly, as per the user’s preference. The URI Antivirus website gives free McAfee VirusScan downloads which can be updated regularly and automatically.

Password-protect your Mac

Password-protecting is another way of securing your Mac. Under the Apple option on the menu bar, in System Preferences there is an Account Preferences pane. Here the password can be changed and you can also generate one, if you can’t think of a strong one yourself, by clicking on the icon key. It is essential to have a strong password to prevent brute force attacks.

Customize the Physical security settings

In addition to all this, the user can further enhance the security of the Mac by availing of the physical security settings. Automatic login can be disabled and after sixty minutes of inactivity, the Mac can be set to log off automatically. Also, once the Mac is on sleep or screen saver mode, it can be set to ask for the password to log back in. All these features can be activated by going to the Apple option on the menu bar, and then selecting System Preferences and then clicking on the Security Preferences pane.

Activate your Firewall

Keeping the Mac’s Firewall turned on 24X7 also helps to keep it secure. This can be done by clicking on the System Preferences on the Apple option in the menu bar. In System Preferences, click on the Firewall tab and click Start to activate it.

Keep a backup of all data

Keeping a back up of all the data on the Mac is also advisable. This can be done in two ways. One is to copy all the files into a USB or a Firewire external storage device and the other way is to burn CD or DVD back ups of all the data on the Mac.

Turn off Bluetooth/Wireless Systems

Bluetooth and Wireless Systems are easy targets for local hackers. Hence, it is very important for the security of the Mac to turn off these features when they are not in use. This is a very simple procedure. By clicking in the Bluetooth or wireless logo on the top menu bar, the user can turn it on or off. So every time he/she wants to use the Bluetooth, it can be turned on and when he/she is finished with it, it can be turned off.

You can find many more security articles and resources at Macintosh Tools. We update daily and bring you everything related to Macs.

PC Or Mac – Take the Plunge!

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I am sure we have all been overwhelmed with the PC-Mac wars, but what is all the fuss about? Let me tell you, I have been an avid PC user for the past 10 years or so, and have even started to make a little money on the side using all the knowledge I have retained from all those Microsoft classes. Computer repair is something that I enjoy, and something that I will continue to enjoy, but the thought of me giving the Mac a whirl never dawned on me.

I found myself in a local AAFES (yes I am in the military) looking at their various laptops. I skipped the Mac’s like always and began to look at the Vista based PC’s. I am not sure what I was thinking, but I decided to see what the Mac had to offer (I quickly skipped the PC’s – unusual for me). Mac’s can be a little pricey, but I was ready to give them a shot. The lowest priced Mac book (that is a Mac laptop of course) came in at a whopping $999. This is fairly expensive compared to the lower end Laptops that HP and Acer manufacture. In the end I found myself sitting in my room with a Mac book that I have never used before or knew very little about. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Up until this point, I have always been pro Microsoft. To this day I don’t find anything wrong with Microsoft, it’s just that I am wondering why I waited so long to experience something new. I think this is society’s problem. We are all too worried about change. If you know something, why learn something else? That is the methodology that many American’s live by, but every American should know that the incentives could potentially outweigh living as a person refusing change. The truth of the matter is that a Macintosh is very simple to use (very user friendly), easy to learn, and in my opinion runs much smoother than previous Microsoft platforms. The Mac runs on the Leopard Operating System, and does not demand the resources that Microsoft’s Vista requires (if you own a Mac you probably have no more than 2 GB’s of RAM and are happy with it). I remember asking the clerk why the Mac book only came with 2 GB of RAM. Now I know why. This type of computer does not run inane services in the background thus giving the user a clean and smooth experience. The applications are a whole other story that I will save for another time. To be short, applications will give you the ability to turn your Mac into a personal assistant. There are thousands of applications that are available, and to me these help simplify life.

The overall feel of a Mac is something that I would have never imagined. I took pride in being pro Microsoft/anti Apple in the past, but now I feel as though I am one in a thousand that will actually take the plunge. Do yourself a favor and experience something new. I am not endorsing Apple in any way shape or form; I am simply stating my opinion. I look forward to exploring deeper into the Mac realm, so that I will someday be able to understand the operating system the way I understand Microsoft’s. So far so good for Mac; two thumbs up!

shawn.kowalczyk@yahoo.com


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