Those Annoying “Infected” Pop-Ups are Fake 100% of the Time

Say you’re casually surfing the web and suddenly there’s a pop-up window in the middle of your screen stating “Your computer is infected! Download this NOW! or call us NOW!”.  Even if you’re savvy enough to know it’s fake, you may still get an instant headache at the thought of detecting and removing this annoying message.  If it’s the first time this has happened or if you’ve been through a virus nightmare before, your reaction may be more dramatic.

Rest assured, those annoying pop-ups are fake – 100% of the time.

The pop-up is really there, but the service they are basically demanding you download and pay for is malicious and will not solve any problems.  In fact, in most cases, it will make the problem a million times worse.  Now, Macs are not immune to malware but the operating system is less vulnerable.  Sometimes, that makes Mac users more susceptible because they are not accustomed to seeing these fake warnings.  MOST malware (viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware, etc) targeted at Macs require you to take some action to allow it first.  Even if you don’t download it, or call, many times the pop-ups will continue and you will need to take some action to remove it from your system.

So where does this malware come from and how can you tell what it is?  Simply put, malware is any program whose purpose is to cause harm to your system.  There are subsets of malware, with varying degrees of harm.

  • A virus is a contagious code that infects other software and spreads itself through a system and to other computers.
  • Adware, while not malicious itself, can affect overall performance and be super annoying.  It’s basically uninvited commercials.
  • Spyware is malicious, in that it does what the name suggests: it spies on you.  It tracks activity and is usually difficult to detect, it also can cause unwanted pop-ups.
  • A worm is an attack that replicates itself and destroys user files and system files, disabling a computer or a network.
  • Trojans disguise themselves as harmless programs, but once opened unleash viruses and attack systems.
  • Ransomware is less common but has been in the news more lately, it gains access to a system and encrypts data files, demanding the user pay to have them decrypted.  This type is particularly dangerous and authorities should be notified immediately.
  • Scareware is that pop-up with an ominous warning. “Call now” or “Download Immediately”, IF you do call or download, there will always be future problems.

Most browsers (Safari, etc) and Mac OS will warn you if you’re opening a program from the internet (as opposed to the App Store).  If you visit sites where there is a lot of peer-to-peer networking or file sharing going on, you may consider an anti-malware that runs real time scans on your system.  If you don’t download from the internet, click unknown links in email and verify requests for personal information before giving it out, you may still want to install a “clean up” tool instead. You would run a program like this if you suspect malware.

Be sure you do your homework and read reviews from non-biased sources prior to paying for any anti-malware software.  For example, go to PC Magazine or MacWorld and then search from their site. Our techs install a free program called Malwarebytes when they clear malware from a computer to help you stay “clean” in the future.

If you have or suspect you have malware, TechRestore is here to help.  Our techs are pros at getting your computer in tip top shape, in case you’ve fallen into one of the traps listed above.

Silencing Your Apple iOS or OS Device

There are so many sounds coming from your iPhone and Mac: mail notification, camera shutter, lock sound, plugged in sound, volume up and down quack – the list goes on.  You may not consider these particularly bothersome, but there’s a chance that sometime you may want extra quiet.  Besides the physical “mute” button on the phone and going into system preferences on your OS desk or laptop, how can you do it?

For iPhone and iPad, you can quickly and easily disable the “plugged in” chime or vibration by swiping your locked screen left to activate the camera.  Then plug in silently, press the home button to get back to your lock screen and check the upper right corner to make sure the lightning bolt charge indicator is on.

Have you ever felt like “If I hear one more quack today, I’m going to SNAP!”?  Well, on those days, you may have avoided listening to music or relaxing to YouTube videos, because when you adjust the volume – QUACK!  Fear not!  Simply press the “Shift” key at the same time as the volume up or down and enjoy the unaccompanied adjustment.  This is only a temporary mute.  If you want to mute your volume controls long term, go into System Preferences >Sound and uncheck the “play feedback sound when volume is changed” >Exit.  Now, if you press “Shift” while adjusting the volume you will hear the “quack”.

Now, of course, there are some notifications you actually want to get all the time.  Good news! There are endless ways to customize when and how you hear (or don’t hear) these sounds.  If you click this link, you’ll learn how to quiet the new mail notification on iPhone/iPad. If you have time, read the “Related Articles” at the bottom – there’s a rabbit hole of all the customizing you could ever want to do.  We’re grateful to the good folks at OSXDaily for offering up all these tutorials.

Here’s to a weekend filled with as much quiet or sound as you wish for, and to making your iPhone, iPad or Mac the quiet minion it’s meant to be!  Happy Friday!

From your friends at TechRestore.

Apple’s Job Creation & Q2 announcements

Tim Cook, Apple CEO did an interview this week on “Mad Money” on CNBC.  If you’d like to see the whole thing, you can watch it on their website.  He was there to talk about Apple’s Q2 earnings call and what the company plans to do with those mountains of cash.

We liked it because a wide range of topics were covered that we can look forward to hearing about in more detail in the near future.  Some felt Tim “dumbed it down“, but the context of the show, by nature, is not optimal for serious, in depth interviews.  If you want to know how Apple’s CEO feels about something, he does speak often in appropriate venues.

On Apple’s website, you can see a comprehensive breakdown of their job creation numbers.  You can even look state by state to see how many employees, manufacturers and app creators are represented.  Tim Cook also spoke briefly of a $1Billion fund created to invest in promoting advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S.  More on that later this month.

TechCrunch did a great job of breaking down and comparing numbers both from the website and the interview.  One point Tim Cook made during his talk, was that the jobs created by Apple products don’t stop with employees, manufacturers and app developers.  Apple is creating a ripple that expands outward with support jobs and even whole industries.  TechRestore is part of that ripple effect, and has been for over a decade.  Our repair business has relied a lot on our specialty in Apple products and their ecosystem.

We also appreciate that Apple, as a company has values that go far beyond compensating their investors.  Along with the myriad ways they conserve, they innovate and they don’t wait for government regulations or social pressure to make changes that make a positive difference.

Possibly my personal favorite quote (I’m considering making it my ringtone, but don’t mind me) was this:   “A company should have values, because a company is a collection of people.  And people should have values, so by extension, a company should.” 

He went on to talk about ways they give back, just because it’s the right and wise thing to do.  It feels like the culture Apple is fostering is one we could all do well to adopt or to use as encouragement to go a little further with our own current efforts.

Read the full transcript of the “Mad Money” interview here and be sure to watch for updates and announcements from Apple coming later this year.

 

 

Setup Emergency Contact (ICE) on Your iPhone

Most people know about ICE (in case of emergency) contacts in their phone.  But what if your phone is locked?  While you may never need it, having your emergency contact information available for anyone to find could come in handy.  If you have a medical condition or severe allergies, it could save your life! In the latest Apple Watch OS, you can call emergency services and text your emergency contacts just by pressing and holding the side button .

Setting up Medical ID on your iOS device is simple.  You can add as much information as you like (just remember, it’ll be visible to anyone who knows how to access it without unlocking the screen).

First, open the “Health” app (it should be on your iPhone iOS 8 and newer and you can’t delete it).   If you can’t find the icon on screen, swipe down and search for it.

Now in the bottom right corner, select “Medical ID” and then “Create Medical ID”.  Be sure to allow “Show When Locked”.

              

Now you will have the option to add all sorts of useful information, which emergency personnel may need to know, especially blood type, allergies, existing conditions, etc.

 

                                     

Scroll down to “Emergency Conctacts” and choose “add emergency contact”.  You can add as many people as you like from your contacts here, and designate their relationship to you.

Now, when your phone is locked, press the home button, and instead of entering your passcode, choose “Emergency” and on the bottom left corner, you will see “Medical ID” in red. When you choose it, it will show all your emergency contacts and allow you to call by pressing their name.  If you use the SOS feature on Apple Watch, it will text them your location after you contact emergency personnel.

                    

Here is a helpful guide to setting up the SOS feature on your Watch.   How to set up SOS on Apple Watch

And, if you’re still not convinced, here’s a story of the Medical ID/SOS in action!  College student credits Apple Watch with saving his life.

We hope you never have to use it, but being informed can make a difference.  Be sure your loved ones have this useful feature enabled, too!

Be careful out there.  From your friends at TechRestore.