Antivirus, Apple, Enterprise, Internet Security, OS X

Do I need an antivirus for OS X?

Do users need an antivirus for OS X? This is a question which has been hovering around for a while,…

Do users need an antivirus for OS X? This is a question which has been hovering around for a while, the answer though, is different today than it was a few years ago. Chances are if you are a user of Apple’s popular OS, you might be mistaken to believe that you are well protected against viruses and other dangerous threats.

Although Apple has designed a built-in security system for the OS, has it been successful enough in keeping the system completely immune to malware and viruses? Or should you really consider some additional safeguard for your Mac?

Yes or No? 

More of ‘Yes’ than ‘No’. It definitely is recommended that you get an antivirus for your Mac. Though it is not as vulnerable to threats as the Windows Operating System is, OS X isn’t as secure as it once used to be. While the built-in security system still does a pretty satisfying job in protecting the system, it is still far from capable of keeping all the malicious threats at bay.

According to the trend that is visible, it is set to get worse. However, for the home users that make up the majority of the population of Mac users, the built-in security system should suffice.

“But, I thought Mac OS X was incredibly safe..”

It absolutely was! Unlike Windows, Apple’s sandboxed OS makes it tougher to hack. In fact, a few years ago if Mac users ever installed an antivirus, it served hardly any purpose except preventing malware from passing on to Windows users.

For a long time, hackers either couldn’t find an exploit or weren’t necessarily bothered in doing so. However, it hasn’t been the case forever. Macs have been cracked and are now more vulnerable to malware and viruses than ever before. Although the majority of the risks still target Windows PCs, Apple user’s must be warned that it is their turn now!

So, what really happened? Why has the once almost immune OS become vulnerable today?

Like everyone in this world, hackers and cybercriminals have a purpose in doing what they do. And that being, accessing your information through the devices you use to later monetize them in one way or another.

For years since the launch of Apple’s Mac OS computers, hackers didn’t really have a reason to target them as they were pretty content with Windows PCs. However, since the popularity of the Mac OS X increased, attackers started utilizing their time and resources in exploiting it. As they got more and more successful in doing so, the demand for having additional protection for the Mac has gained popularity.

Should I consider getting an antivirus or am I safe enough without it?

As of now, if you are just a home user, it is highly unlikely that you would become a target of malware. A small percentage of Mac OS X users have ever been affected by a virus. Though, not to forget, the risks are there! In reality, it should be more of a concern for business owners running Macs, especially if they have a fleet of computers that also include Windows PCs. A malware or a virus might not easily affect an Apple computer, but it may pass on and cause a risk to the more vulnerable Windows PC.

While the chances of a malicious attack are still low, though increasing, if you have a lot of important stuff to risk, having an antivirus for OS x installed is a really small price to pay. With the ever-increasing risks of malware targeting Macs, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to at least have some kind of antivirus for OS X installed, even if it is a simple free one.

Since, we’ve come to the conclusion that having additional security on the Macintosh is a step in the right direction, what are the best antivirus for OS X out there?

There are tons of antivirus software out there in the market to choose from. Just like for the Windows, the big players – Kaspersky, Symantec and Avast provide pretty decent antivirus software for OS X as well. If you are looking for something that is free but still trustworthy in protecting your computer, we feel Sophos Antivirus is the perfect choice. However, if you want to step your game up further, you wouldn’t regret going with Bitdefender.

Are malware and viruses the only security threats to worry about on Mac OS X?

This is the most important question so far! While people are busy discussing the risks associated with operating systems, cyber culprits search for other ways to target naive victims. Neither Mac OS X, nor any other operating system protect its owners from bad decisions.

Threats these days are intelligently engineered in tricking the user into providing the desired information by themselves, or, in installing software that isn’t really what they claim to be, leading to compromise of information. The most common ways of targeting uninformed users are through spam emails and phishing websites. Once they are convinced in proceeding through what they are told to do, they might give out sensitive information in the form of usernames, passwords and in worst case scenarios, debit or credit card details.

Other than that, the possible threats one might face are spyware and adware. To keep yourself away from them, steps like ensuring the computer’s firewall is always enabled are pretty effective. Also, make sure you disable Java in your browser unless there is a requirement of running it. Keep your Mac and all the applications on it up to date and you should be good.

The main security threats that a user faces in 2018 are highlighted in our article – What internet security threats to look out for in 2018.

Apart from system threats, thefts are another common security problem. Macs tend to be expensive. Their worth plays a major role in them being potential targets. You wouldn’t be far too regretful if you have a password set for your device and all data backed-up. While losing a Mac is certainly depressing, giving away sensitive information stored on it might be a lot more critical. After all, prevention is always better than a cure!

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Enterprise

Bots try to break the internet, and other trends for 2019

From the largest DDoS attacks ever seen and record-breaking numbers of data breaches, to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May, 2018 will be remembered as an extraordinary year for the cybersecurity industry. With hackers developing increasingly sophisticated ways to attack enterprises every day, one of the most important lessons from this…


From the largest DDoS attacks ever seen and record-breaking numbers of data breaches, to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May, 2018 will be remembered as an extraordinary year for the cybersecurity industry. 

With hackers developing increasingly sophisticated ways to attack enterprises every day, one of the most important lessons from this year is how crucial it is to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals at all times. In order to continuously protect company and customer data, businesses need to have an understanding of not only cybersecurity threats now, but also in the far future.  

Although no one can say for certain what 2019 will bring, we can look to the past to understand the trends of tomorrow. As technology has evolved, it’s been accompanied by smarter, more malicious and much harder to detect threats. With the ever-increasing intelligence of bots, the increasing complexity of clouds and rising IoT risks, as well as the impact of data regulations, cybersecurity will dominate boardroom conversations. 

  • Keep your devices protected from the latest cyber threats with the best antivirus
  • Browse public Wi-Fi securely with the best VPN
  • This is everything you need to know about GDPR

With this in mind, here are eight trends that will make the year ahead as turbulent as the one just passed:

Cyber-attacks will grow – and go slow 

Organisations will see an increase in cyberattacks but these will be “low and slow”, rather than “noisy” incidents such as DDoS attacks. Launched by botnets, “low and slow” attacks aim to remain under the radar for as long as possible, to steal as much data as they can. 

Often these take the form of credential stuffing attacks, where stolen credentials are used to access associated accounts and steal further personal data such as addresses and payment details. 

To protect themselves, businesses will need to adopt bot management solutions, which identify, categorise and respond to different bot types. The technology uses behaviour-based bot detection and continuous threat analysis to distinguish people from bots. 

Image Credit: iStockPhoto

Image Credit: iStockPhoto

Bots will overtake human web traffic 

As bots become more sophisticated, they will be responsible for more than 50% of web traffic. Already, Akamai has found that43% of all login attemptscome from malicious botnets – and this is set to increase as credential stuffing and “low and slow” attacks grow in popularity. 

More sophi

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Internet Security

LG hints at gesture interface for smartphone flagship next month

LG has put out a gesture-heavy hint ahead of the annual unveiling of new smartphone hardware at the world’s biggest mobile confab, Mobile World Congress, which kicks off in a month’s time. The brief video teaser for its forthcoming MWC press event in Barcelona, which was shared today via LG’s social media channels, shows a…


LGhas put out a gesture-heavy hint ahead of the annual unveiling of new smartphone hardware at the world’s biggest mobile confab, Mobile World Congress, which kicks off in a month’s time.

The brief video teaser for its forthcoming MWC press event in Barcelona, which was shared today via LG’s social media channels, shows a man’s hand swiping to change on-screen content, including the message “goodbye touch.”

The title of LG’s teaser video includes the name “LG Premiere,” which could be the name of the forthcoming flagship — albeit that would be confusingly similar to the mid-tier LG Premier of yore. So, hopefully the company is going to make that last ‘e’ really count.

Beyond some very unsubtle magic wand sound effects to draw extra attention to the contactless gestures, the video offers very little to go on. But we’reprettysureLG is not about to pivot away from touchscreens entirely.

Rather, we’re betting on some sort

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Internet Security

The facts about Facebook

This is a critical reading of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s article in the WSJ on Thursday, also entitled The Facts About Facebook.  Yes Mark, you’re right; Facebook turns 15 next month. What a long time you’ve been in the social media business! We’re curious as to whether you’ve also been keeping count of how many times…


This is a criticalreading of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s article in the WSJ on Thursday, also entitled The Facts About Facebook. 

Yes Mark, you’re right; Facebookturns 15 next month. What a long time you’ve been in the social media business! We’re curious as to whether you’ve also been keeping count of how many times you’ve been forced to apologize for breaching people’s trust or, well, otherwise royally messing up over the years.

It’s also true you weren’t setting out to build “a global company”. The predecessor to Facebook was a ‘hot or not’ game called ‘FaceMash’ that you hacked together while drinking beer in your Harvard dormroom. Your late night brainwave was to get fellow students to rate each others’ attractiveness — and you weren’t at all put off by not being in possession of the necessary photo data to do this. You just took it; hacking into the college’s online facebooks and grabbing people’s selfies without permission.

Blogging about what you were doing as you did it, you wrote: “I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of some farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.” Just in case there was any doubt as to the ugly nature of your intention. 

The seeds of Facebook’s global business were thus sown in a crude and consentless game of clickbait whose idea titillated you so much you thought nothing of breaching security, privacy, copyright and decency norms just to grab a few eyeballs.

So while you may not haveinstantlyunderstood how potent this ‘outrageous and divisive’ eyeball-grabbing content tactic would turn out to be — oh hai future global scale! — the core DNA of Facebook’s business sits in that frat boy discovery where your eureka Internet moment was finding you could win the attention jackpot by pitting people against each other.

Pretty quickly you also realized you could exploit and commercialize human one-upmanship — gotta catch em all friend lists! popularity poke wars! — and stick a badge on the resulting activity, dubbing it ‘social’.

FaceMash was antisocial, though. And the unpleasant flipside that can clearly flow from ‘social’ platforms is something you continue not being nearly honest nor open enough about. Whether it’s political disinformation, hate speech or bullying, the individual and societal impacts of maliciously minded content shared and amplified using massively mainstream tools you control is now impossible to ignore.

Yet you prefer to play down these human impacts; as a “crazy idea”, or by implying that ‘a little’ amplified human nastiness is the necessary cost of being in the big multinational business of connecting everyone and ‘socializing’ everything.

But did you ask the father of 14-year-old Molly Russell, a British schoolgirl who took her own life in 2017, whether he’s okay with your growth vs controls trade-off? “I have no doubt that Instagram helped kill my daughter,” said Russell in an interview with the BBC this week.

After her death, Molly’s parents found she had been following accounts on Instagram that were sharing graphic material related to self-harming and suicide, including some accounts that actively encourage people to cut themselves. “We didn’t know that anything like that could possibly exist on a platform like Instagram,” said Russell.

Without a human editor in the mix, your algorithmic recommendations are blind to risk and suffering. Built for global scale, they get on with the expansionist goal of maximizing clicks and views by serving more of the same sticky stuff. And more extreme versions of things users show an interest in to keep the eyeballs engaged.

So when you write about making services that “billions” of “people around the world love and use” forgive us for thinking that sounds horribly glib. The scales of suffering don’t sum like that. If your entertainment product has whipped upgenocideanywhere in the world — as the UN said Facebook did in Myanmar — it’s failing regardless of the proportion of users who are having their time pleasantly wasted on and by Facebook.

And if your algorithms can’t incorporate basic checks and safeguards so they don’t accidentally encourage vulnerable teens to commit suicide you really don’t deserve to be in any consumer-facing business at all.

Yet your article shows no sign you’ve been reflecting on the kinds of human tragedies that don’t just play out on your platform but can be an emergent property of your targeting algorithms.

You focus instead on what you call “clear benefits to this business model”.

The benefits to Facebook’s business are certainly clear. You have the billions in quarterly revenue to stand that up. But what about the costs to the rest of us? Human costs are harder to quantify but you don’t even sound like you’re trying.

You do write that you’ve heard “many questions” about Facebook’s business model. Which is most certainly true but once again you’re playing down the level of political and societal concern about how your platform operates (and how you operate your platform) — deflecting and reframing what Facebook is to cast your ad business a form of quasi philanthropy; a comfortable discussion topic and self-serving idea you’d much prefer we were all sold on.

It’s also hard to shake the feeling that your phrasing at this point is intended as a bit of an in-joke for Facebook staffers — to smirk at the ‘dumb politicians’ who don’t even know how Facebook makes money.

Y’know, like you smirked…

Then you write that you want to explain how Facebook operates. But, thing is, you don’t explain — you distract, deflect, equivocate and mislead, which has been your business’ strategy through many months of scandal (that and worst tactics — such as paying a PR firm that used oppo research tactics to discredit Facebook critics with smears).

Dodging is another special power; such as how you dodged repeat requests from international parliamentarians to be held accountable for major data misuse and security breaches.

The Zuckerberg ‘open letter’ mansplain, which typically runs to thousands of blame-shifting words, is another standard issue production from the Facebook reputation crisis management toolbox.

And here you are again, ironically enough, mansplaining in a newspaper; an industry that your platform has worked keenly to gut and usurp, hungry to supplant editorially guided journalism with the moral vacuum of algorithmically geared space-filler which, left unchecked, has been shown, time and again, lifting divisive and damaging content into public view.

The latest Zuckerberg screed has nothing new to say. It’s pure spin. We’ve read scores of self-serving Facebook apologias over the years and can confirm Facebook’s founder has made a very tedious art of selling abject failure as some kind of heroic lack of perfection.

But the spin has been going on for far, far too long. Fifteen years, as you remind us. Yet given that hefty record it’s little wonder you’re moved to pen again — imagining that another word blast is all it’ll take for the silly politicians to fall in line.

Thing is, no one is asking Facebook for perfection, Mark. We’re looking for signs that you and your company have a moral compass. Because the opposite appears to be true. (Or as one UK parliamentarian put it to your CTO last year: “I remain to be convinced that your company has integrity”.)

Facebook has scaled to such an unprecedented, global size exactly because it has no editorial values. And you say again now you want to be all things to all men. Put another way that me

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Internet Security

The social layer is ironically key to Bitcoin’s security

A funny thing happened in the second half of 2018. At some moment, all the people active in crypto looked around and realized there weren’t very many of us. The friends we’d convinced during the last holiday season were no longer speaking to us. They had stopped checking their Coinbase accounts. The tide had gone…


A funny thing happened in the second half of 2018. At some moment, all the people active in crypto looked around and realized there weren’t very many of us. The friends we’d convinced during the last holiday season were no longer speaking to us. They had stopped checking their Coinbase accounts. The tide had gone out from the beach. Tokens and blockchains were supposed to change the world; how come nobody was using them?

In most cases, still, nobodyisusing them. In this respect, many crypto projects have succeeded admirably. Cryptocurrency’s appeal is understood by many as freedom from human fallibility. There is no central banker, playing politics with the money supply. There is no lawyer, overseeing the contract. Sometimes it feels like crypto developers adopted the defense mechanism of the skunk. It’s working: they are succeeding at keeping people away.

Some now acknowledge the need for human users, the so-called “social layer,” of Bitcoinand other crypto networks. That human component is still regarded as its weakest link. I’m writing to propose that crypto’s human component is its strongest link. For the builders of crypto networks, how to attract the right users is a question that should come before how to defend against attackers (aka, the wrong users). Contrary to what you might hear on Twitter, when evaluating a crypto network, the demographics and ideologies of its users do matter. They

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