Getting Rid of Adware on Your Mac

We’ve seen a few instances this week of Mac’s with annoying ads and rogue search engines overtaking browsers. If your Mac is running 10.7 or later, we’ve got a tool to help you out.

Mac users haven’t had to think a whole lot about protecting their computers from malware, and we don’t generally recommend installing antivirus software. That’s because the threats are few and far between, they’re generally addressed by Apple within a brief timeframe, and the downside of antivirus software is that it slows down your computer. This approach does mean that you may occasionally have to run manual scans on your computer–any time you notice unusual computer behavior that could be due to malware.

The issues we’ve been seeing lately are confined to browsers: excessive ads or warning messages may pop up, or the default search engine may have been switched and now returns only ads. There is no indication that these infections do anything beyond the obvious: no key logging or opening up your computer for more sinister uses.

If you think that your browser might have been infected and you are running OS X 10.7 or later, download AdwareMedic and then have it scan your computer. If you’re using an older version of the system and think you might be affected, contact the help desk or submit an IT Ticket. (To find out what version of the system you’re running select “About This Mac” from the Apple menu.)

For a little extra security, we also recommend occasionally running a full malware scan on your computer. Our recommend scanner, ClamXav, runs on 10.6 and later. One note about using it: before scanning, use ClamXav/Preferences/Quarantine to set up a quarantine folder–otherwise you will have to run the scan a second time to actually remove any infection.

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Gmail Scam

We’ve seen a few people get taken in by a Gmail phishing scheme this week. If you get an email from a Gmail user with a link to a document, think twice before clicking and entering your username and password.

This latest scam is pretty straightforward, but it appears to be catching quite a few people. If you get the email and have a Gmail account, contacts in your address book will be harvested and everyone in it will receive a message from you with a link to a similar page. We don’t know what else is done with the username and password, but it’s never good to have a password compromised.

As always, prevention is the best medicine. Think before you click, and if you have any doubts confirm with the sender before accessing a link. Never enter your username and password on an unknown web page.

You’ll know if you’ve fallen for this scam because you’ll hear back from some people in your address book, and you may have some bounced messages that you don’t remember sending. If you’ve been scammed, change your Gmail password right away. If you use a similar password for other accounts it’s best to change those passwords as well. Finally, sending out a message to all of your Gmail address book contacts advising them to ignore the scam message

Expired Password? Do not Worry

If you’re like me, you like to wait until the last possible moment to change your HampNet password. I always dread the week or two when my fingers don’t just fly automatically over the keys as I log into Hampshire services.

If you’ve procrastinated a little too long and your password expired, don’t worry, you can still change it on your own: just go to password.hampshire.edu and use your expired password to log in. This is the only place an expired HampNet password will still work.

If you still have trouble changing your password you can contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@hampshire.edu or 413.559.5418

Why not to keep sensitive data on your laptop!

A Tulane University laptop was stolen recently that contained the payroll information for all 10,000 employees. Social security numbers, salary info, everything. It’s a good reminder why no computer should have unsecured employee data on it. Leave the information on one of our secure servers, or if it must live on a laptop it needs to be encrypted. Click here for more info on our data security policy.