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Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User Group Newsletter
September 6, 2010
In This Issue
September 13th Meeting Agenda
August Meeting Report
Quick Links
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SLAC Info
Membership Info
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Dear Steve,
Hello everybody and a belated Happy Labor Day to one and all. Given the absence of a SMUG meeting to go to on Monday, I was all set to relax with my new iPad, but I couldn't resist the challenge of resurrecting my son's G4 iBook, over 5 years old now and working perfectly until it didn't work at all. OMG, I was in for a world of pain and frustration - just how many 3mm screws do you really need to hold a computer together? But I had a spare hard drive and a few parts from a really defunct iBook, so I soldiered on into the virtual Afghan landscape that is computer DIY. Finally, I had this:

iBook G4 in pieces

Once I put it back together again, the trackpad didn't work - oh boy, that necessitated taking off the top and the bottom and the inner shields top and bottom all over again, but I could do it in my sleep by this time. And, almost miraculously, I did end up with this:
iBook G4 after repair

So, it can be done! And it only took 5 hours! How long will it last, though? Like so much in the world today, an imponderable, but it was fun while it lasted.  How many years will pass before I'm tearing my new iPad apart in vexation remain to be seen......anyway, we have a great meeting coming up on the 13th, with some cool giveaways and hopefully not too much doom and gloom about  how you WILL LOSE YOUR DATA IF YOU"RE NOT CAREFUL from our friends at Prosoft. See you there!
September 13th SMUG Meeting Agenda
Prosoft Engineering

A welcome back from our friends from Pleasanton, the producers of Drive Genius and Data Rescue software (see info at prosofteng.com). Scott Spencer tells me that user group specials are likely to be offered, plus they'll also talk about their new subsidiary, called TheDataRescueCenter, which specializes in "hard drive & deleted file recovery".  They also offer some related services such as "Data Migration" and "media scanning".  The first can do such things as read most any historic Mac file format (floppies, Zip drives, etc) and convert them to modern media types.  The second provides for "photo, negative, & slide" scanning.  More info at thedatarerescuecenter.com


Plus Q & A, Shareware and raffle - Owen Saxton continues his review of cool free and almost-free software (see below for details from our last meeting). I also have both old-fashioned bookware and hardware to raffle off.
August Meeting Report: Cool Shareware and ESET computer virus protection
SHAREWARE
 
The Adblock extension blocks advertising on Safari. You can turn it on and off, and (of course) you can uninstall it. You won't know what sites are being blocked, it is rather mysterious about what it blocks.
 
The FlashToHTML5 extension replaces the CPU hogging YouTube flash player with HTML player, if that is possible to do.
 
SecondBar puts another menu bar at the top of your Mac desktop. This is handy when you use 2 screens. It has a little down arrow that has its own menu: Preferences, Activate window positioning, Window draggable, Move windows automatically if overlaid, Show doc icon, Activate global hotkeys, etc.
 
Ravissant lets you edit your logon window. You can edit the logon, logo, and the welcome text.
 
Sloth displays an open list of all your Mac's open files, all the files in use. You can kill processes, although you might mess things up that way, you better know what you are doing.
 
McSolitaire. A solitaire game. (Note from Dave: I have to admit that games bore me.) This game looks nice. It shows a big display of cards. It just shows the one game. Owen played it some. It has little sound effects: clicking, shuffling. This game does not play itself; you still have to move the cards.
 
iPhone Explorer lets you explore your iPhone/iPod Touch when it is attached to your Mac. You can look at the apps, the media. It shows you the file system on your iPhone/iPod Touch. You can grab stuff on an iPhone and drag it directly to your Mac. The music folders on the iPhone and the files in them have rather mysterious names. This is not a fast interface, but it does work. If you drag those files with the funny names into iTunes, that song will show up in iTunes named as the proper song. You can do a Get Info on the file: it has the metadata with it. Someone asked if it changes the filename from the iPhone back to a song name when it is put back into iTunes this way. (Note from Dave: I do not think it did that.)
 
Deeper gets hidden preferences for Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, iTunes, Login, Spotlight, and so on. Free. The Deeper icon, open it up and set the preferences, when the icon is closed, it does not take up a lot of screen real estate.
 
myAppLauncher helps you quickly launch your apps. It shows a list of apps you can scroll through, but you type something in and turn up apps that match. Funny that when you click on the magnifying glass, it goes away!
 
Tooble takes YouTube videos and download them for playing on your iPod or the like. Owen downloaded Funny Cats, and the video went into iTunes.
 
PRESENTATION
 
Damir Seferovic, Product Marketing Manager from Eset, told us about Eset technology and products, and the cyber threat landscape for the Macintosh.
 
Eset is a leader in security solutions. It uses heuristics: it looks ahead and finds threats to destroy.
 
Eset has been in business since 1987. It learned in Windows how to defend against viruses and the like. Its growth has been 2,860%. It has 100 million uses worldwide. American is becoming its largest market.
 
Eset is based out of Slovakia. The North American office is in San Diego.
 
Intel uses Eset. Companies are putting Eset built-in when you get your Windows computer. Some guys avoid some virus protection software because it slowed down their PCs, and as for the Mac, they feel it is not really needed yet; they do not see the threat.
 
One of the key benefits of Eset is multi-layered proactive protection; Este's competitors use a singular method, which takes time to perform on your computer. And Eset dialogs with its customers. Eset tried to minimize false positives; when you use safari, you do not want that flagged as malware. Eset has the smallest footprint of protection software: about 40mb. So Eset's speed is good. And it does fast scanning, and has an unobtrusive interface. Eset believes that protection software should be in the background; it should not do silly pop-ups or other things that you have to click on. You can tweak Eset if you wish for it to do more stuff.
 
Eset NOD32 Antivirus 4 has the fast, effective technology to protect from viruses and spyware. ESET Smart Security 4 has that, and adds a firewall and antispam technology.
 
One detection method to find viruses and the like is signature comparison, where the software to find viruses goes line by line through software with an idea of what hackers. Eset does advanced heuristics: if A plus B, you might have a C. Eset thinks ahead: if it finds one thing, it finds a similar version of malware and does the protection for that.
 
ThreatSense.net you can send in a report. 3 or 4 daily updates, in background, most recent threats. (Note from Dave: Maybe I made a mistake in my notes, when I enter ThreatSense.net, I go to eset.com.)
 
Question: Can we see what updates were done? Yes, look at the Eset logs.
 
Eset is recognized in the industry, it has the highest number of ADVANCED+ Awards in proactive protection. Damir showed a slide with LOTS of companies that spoke highly of Eset. Customers like them also.
 
The hackers today are not the little globs of grease sitting in Mom's basement writing nasty viruses to crash your computer for no reason. The majority of malware today is financially motivated, and uses professional tools. They are organized business.
A guy in the audience mentioned 10,000 or so hacks from Japan, from Popular Science.
 
Hacking today is for monetary gain, personal info. There are 100,000 unique malware variants per day.
 
Damir profiled Macintosh users. 91% of those users spend $1000 or more on their computer. Hackers would see them as full of money.
 
Many users consider malware and viruses a Windows problem. Mac users have been shielded because hackers went after Windows instead. In the past, money was not on the Mac side. It was on Windows business applications, banks, etc.
 
Someone in the audience mentioned scareware, where a window pops up on your Macintosh and says Windows Security Center found something wrong, install our software for some $$$ to fix that! (Note from Dave: What's wrong with this picture?)
 
As for the Mac OS X and security, its updates and patching are done very well. The Mac already has things to protect you, like its build-in firewall, although lots of people do not use that.
 
Do you have Open Office and Adobe Reader?  Best advice for security is to update them regularly. Update your Mac OS and your apps on a regular basis. Media apps like QuickTime are the second most targeted (after Open Office and Adobe Reader). Web browsers are highly targeted for vulnerability research. Update your Safari to patch any holes! Hackers are always looking for new security holes.
 
The human is the weakest link. There is unsafe online stuff, and there is social engineering trickery, people fail to update, they share files, they forward infected mail attachments.
 
Chron jobs are not the same as these updates; chron job is just some cleaning up on the hard drive, not related to viruses.
 
If you do not click on an email attachment, are you safe? You should only open attachments form a trusted source.
 
Damir showed the terms: worms, scareware, viruses, phishing, and keyloggers.
 
A keylogger tracks your keystrokes. So someone sees what you type. (Note from Dave: I heard an interview on NRP Fresh Aire radio that such software might be used to see what movies you like. Seems to me that this could also be used to get passwords.)
 
Worms are mostly made by the greaseballs in Mom's basement; a worm infects all files it finds on disk. OS/Leap.A filename: latestpics.tgz. uses Address Book to grow. OSX/Inqtana is written in Java and spreads in Apple Bluetooth.
 
Spyware. OSX/OpinionSpy (June 2010) says Yay, you got a free iPad. Then it infects all the files it finds on your hard drive.
 
Scareware. OK, here we get the financial stuff. It says warning, something is wrong with your Mac, and you need our special cleaner, for only $19.95, then that cleaner says nothing is (or was!) wrong with your Mac after you are out $19.95. Scareware has a 10% success to get people to install it . So the attacker gets about $7000 monthly! (Note from Dave: You know, if I had less morals and more hacker skills...)
 
Something to watch for: hackers are known to be bad spellers.
 
Information stealers pose as a poker game or something similar. Asks for username and password, and then reports that to the remote attacker.
 
You might find a movie online that ask you to install a fake codec. Wow, watch this cool video, but you need our latest codec to see it. Then it puts virus/Trojan into your system. Or there is a fake link to see the video, and it gets into your address book. Hackers go after your address book to get your friends' email.
 
Phishing: this email looks like an email from your bank, and it asks you to confirm your username/password. You might even get this through IM chat messenger. (Note form Dave: Your bank just will not ask you to email or IM information like that!) Damir showed a phishing email that claims you will get credited $7500! (Note from Dave: Yeah, right.)
 
Damir told us a little about ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4 for the Mac. It has a very familiar simple design, very Mac-like. The key points are that it does proactive protection, and it is built for speed. It has dual OS protection, like for Parallels and Boot Camp, it checks the shared folder so you can be covered for the windows threats.
 
If you do a presentation, you can have Eset go into Full Screen Mode, and it will not gives pop-ups during your presentation. When you exit, you can check to see if Eset found anything.
 
Mac Eset needs 186mb memory, a disk install of 45mb, Leopard or Snow Leopard, and it works with 32 and 64 bit Intel Macs.
 
It will cost about $40 to $50 per year for one computer.
 
Tech support is 24/7 based in San Diego.
 
This stuff is likely to spread to mobile OS: iPhone and Android.
 
The beta software is free.
 
How does Eset for the Mac look? You open it, you get the main screen. You see maximum protection, since the antivirus and antispyware checkboxes are clicked. It shows the license is valid till such-and-such a date, and it shows its updates. It shows statistics: the number of infected objects (red), and cleaned (green).
 
You can set up a custom scan, there are lots of options, do a smart scan, in-depth, target what you want to go after. And it can go into time machine files.
You can select extensions to exclude from scanning. Some of those extensions can be large and are from trusted sources. You can limit the scan time. You can update manually.
 
As for the Eset setup, 90 percent of users will not think about it. You can do advanced settings if you want.
 
Under Tools, you can see log files, files discovered that are put in quarantine where you can delete them, or restore them if, for example, they are a cookie that you use. The scheduler tells what has happened with Eset. And there is Help.
 
(Note form Dave: All in all, a very nice presentation from Damir. We Mac users will need to watch out for threats. Especially the ones that are not Mom-basement greasy.)

 


Dave Strom/SMUG Vice-President


As advertised, September 13th in the Redwood Room.
 
See you there!
 
Steve Bellamy
SMUG President
 
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