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Authors: Airo Security Labs
We love our Macs. We spend more time with them than we spend with our children, our wives or even our TVs. However, we all know that every close relationship needs the right maintenance and nurturing. We asked Mac users what annoys them the most when using their Mac.
There are many causes for a sudden system slow down. The most common would be an unwanted (sometimes malicious) guest you probably didn’t know or didn’t remember inviting in. Or, you just overloaded your system with too many apps, tools, software, and files.
A recent poll we conducted, revealed that two-thirds of all Mac users spend most hours of the day behind their computer. Our precious Mac serves us for almost all our needs. Whether it’s for work, study, communication, media consumption, managing our finances, playing games or shopping for our favorite dress: the list goes on and on. We basically manage our entire lives through this machine by using apps, software, websites and many other tools designed to make our lives easier. We don’t disturb ourselves with protection and security until that point where something bad hits us. Whether a system slow-down or complete inability to suddenly use our Macs.
Most systems nowadays are designed to handle an overload of data and files. But no system is immune to malicious files or programs that are only designed to serves who created them. So, in the first case, it’s an easy fix (see below), and you can easily use Mac tolls or external software to help you optimizes system overload. The latter isn’t always easy and can derive by what sometimes, can come across to you as a simple widget, software or a tool. But is actually a conduit for malicious intent, such as Crypto mining malware, Adware and search hijackers, spyware, that operates only as a background process with no real value, but great access to your data and files.
You are in the middle of your game, or just about to finish the edits of that photo you need to submit to your client. When suddenly something interferes with the process of your Mac or the app just quit responding.
It’s the most terrifying moment while working on an important document, or giving a presentation at work. That one little innocent mouse-click that for some reason leads to this endless spinning pinwheel. It usually only takes a few seconds or minutes to disappear and for your Mac to resume its function, but in some unfortunate cases it ends up with an application crash. Which may cause a loss of essential data, and even worse, major embarrassment in case this it happens in front of a bored crowd of people while you’re giving an important presentation.
Our Mac performance depends on the capacity of its processor and of its RAM, this is where (all) the data that we use at any given moment is stored. If there are only a few apps running and your Mac still slows down or gets stuck after almost every small task or action, it is possible that some unwanted and invisible processes are running in the background without your knowledge. Like crypto malware, for example, a script that uses your Mac resources to mine cryptocurrency without your awareness or consent.
The veteran Mac users among us probably remember the times when Mac was a synonym for a safe and isolated browsing environment where viruses, malware, and adware were not allowed to enter. Nowadays, if you don’t use any Mac antivirus, you have a good chance to encounter some pretty invasive ads while browsing.
Ads, banners & pop-ups: all of these uninvited guests can be really annoying. My ‘favorite’ type is the kind of ad that pretends to be a system message, falsely claiming that your Mac has been scanned and carrying hundreds of viruses.
The most annoying ads even spice things up with an irritating alarm sound to increase panic symptoms. Any unintentional click (usually an effort to stop this disturbing sound) starts the unwanted downloading of an unnecessary app, or even worse, a malware.
Other pop-ups pretend to be well-known online shopping websites. But if you look carefully in the address bar you will notice a different domain, which means that you were redirected to a fake website. In case you tried to make a purchase through this fake website and handed over your payment data, your sensitive private information might be misused. Many websites and apps collect data about users’ browsing habits, which helps them display targeted commercial ads according to the users’ search and browsing history. These ads are rarely useful and mostly contribute to the overall sense that someone is tracking your activities (So you better think twice next time you search for an “anti-hair loss shampoo.”).
That moment when someone else decides that default search engine is not good enough for you.
Imagine waking up in the morning, making yourself a good cup of coffee and launching your Chrome or Safari, all ready for your morning read. You are Googling or Binging your favorite topics, but suddenly you notice that something’s different. Weird, your beloved search engine and default homepage were modified to some other search engine you never remember to ask for. Decent search replacements would have made sure to get your permission first, normally in exchange for free software, service or tool. Less decent ones will just hijack it overnight.
We try to keep our environment clean and controlled by downloading software only from credible sources. However, it takes just one unreliable installation to get some weird unfamiliar apps springing up all around our Mac like mushrooms.
As Mac users, we always want to control what’s being installed on our device. Nothing drives us, Mac users, crazy like unfamiliar apps that are suddenly found on their computers. Games we never wanted, browser extensions we never asked for and all kinds of unreliable products with unclear functionality are absolutely not welcome. If you’ve found one of these annoying “gifts” on your Mac, chances are you probably have been a bit distracted in the past days or weeks. These apps usually come from auto-download ads (one click anywhere on the page will download the app, as if you were clicking on a download button), software bundles (that’s what happens when you click “next” on installers without really reading the terms you agree on), or apps you installed weeks ago, and maybe even removed, but keep coming back like mushrooms after rain.
Just like Apple puts in a lot of effort to ensure that its users only use specific compatible accessories, they made it equally difficult to find apps that are Apple compatible.
It’s hard to admit, but the biggest price Mac users pay for their choice of a computer is the poor variety of software and apps for Mac OS. Many apps don’t offer any Mac version. And even if they do, these versions are sparse and lack many of the features that can be found on the Windows version. In addition, most Mac versions of popular freeware can’t be purchased or downloaded from the App Store. Forcing Mac users to “go out there” and search for it on download websites, increasing the risk of being exposed to malware.
So what’s the bottom line? Today’s Mac users have to take extra steps to secure their device and keep their environment clean and safe from any kind of unwanted process. Even though our Mac is the most important and precious device we have, we often tend to neglect its security, due to a lack of awareness or technical knowledge.
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