Today we are talking all about malware and how to protect your Mac so that if you ever do encounter it, you can remove it easily. I’ve got a lot of little tips and tricks to go over with you today, so let’s get started. Coming up next on Tech Talk America. Usually when I’m doing my remote sessions with people, if we have extra time, one of the topics I always like to go over is basic security because there are a lot of different scam artists out there online, and you want to take the right steps to protect yourself. Thankfully it’s really, really easy.
There’s a piece of software that I strongly recommend to everyone, and there’s a free version, but there’s also a paid version. I’m going to go over the difference between the two. The name of the software is called Malwarebytes. The basic difference between the two is if you ever do get a form of malware, Malwarebytes will remove it. However, the paid version is the one that will prevent you from getting it in the first place because it has real-time protection. These days I do tend to recommend going with the paid version if you can, but if you can’t, just get the free version. My point here is just do something.
At this point, we’re going to switch over to my Mac behind me. I want to show you a bunch of other little handy tips and tricks to help keep you safe when you’re online. Alright, folks, welcome to my desktop. When you’re done downloading Malwarebytes and you open it up, this is what you’re going to see. This is your dashboard. As you can see here, it’s pretty darn straightforward. One thing you might want to consider doing is just tweaking how often you want your computer to automatically run Malwarebytes as a scan.
The default is once an hour. You might not really need to do it that often, so if you do want to make that kind of a change, just go up here to the top left. Under preferences, you’re going to go to the third tab that says ‘scheduled scans’, and you can just change this from every one hour to however often you want. The next thing I want to talk about is what you need to do if Malwarebytes ever does find malware running on your computer because there are steps that you may need to take to prevent your computer from becoming immediately re-infected. Let’s say I’m on my computer and after running Malwarebytes,
it tells me that it has found something. What it’s going to do at that point is it’s going to move that file most likely to the trash. At that point, you could empty the trash, but what you really need to do at that point is restart your computer because there are certain elements of it that will not clear out until you do so. What I would do if it finds something, restart your computer then run Malwarebytes again, empty your trash and there’s one last step. There is a very common form of adware that has the ability to alter your web browser’s home page. Let me give you an example of how this might look.
Right now I’m just going to open up Safari. You can see that in my case here it just opens up to my favorites. Now, for some of you out there, you may have it go to a website, but one of the very common forms of adware is it’ll make it go to a website that looks a little bit like google.com, but it’s not google.com. What will happen is Malwarebytes will remove the adware, but then as soon as you open up your web browser, it goes to that website and it just re-infects you. As soon as you clear out anything, the first thing that you are going to want to do is go up here into preferences no matter what web browser you’re running these days. By the way, I tend to be more of a chrome fan these days.
Go into preferences, and here under ‘general’, you can see here my homepage is listed as google.com. Now, if you go in here and you see that it’s a bunch of maybe random letters or like the example, I just showed you, if it says something like ‘my search’, really whatever it is, just delete it and replace it with whatever website you want to appear when you first open your web browser. It could be Google, could be a social media page, hey, could be techtalkamerica.com, who knows? Then just simply close it by hitting the little red dot, and that will save it. There’s another very common form of adware, which is basically referred to as a hijacked web browser. The way that this works is you go to a website.
A lot of times these tend to originate from adult websites. What happens is it puts your computer into this loop so that you open up your web browser, and usually the language that you will see resembles something to the extent of “FBI warning. We’ve detected malicious files on your computer. Pay us this amount of money, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Give us your money.” They change the language all the time, but in the end, they just want your money. If you try to close your web browser, it basically doesn’t let you.
If you try to go to a different website, it doesn’t let you. Here is how you can resolve that particular problem. It’s actually very simple. If you ever encounter that, the first thing you need to do is force quit whatever web browser you’re running. You can either use the Apple icon at the top left corner, go down to force quit, or if you’re fancy like me you can do command, option, and escape. From there you’re going to pick whichever is your web browser that is having that problem, and you’re going to hit force quit.
Now there is one more step, actually, technically I guess two steps. From here what you need to do is you need to hold down the shift key on your keyboard. For those of you who are familiar with safe mode, that’s the easy way to remember it. It’s basically safe mode for your web browser. When you hold down shift and then launch your web browser, if you happen to have that problem, it’ll basically undo that little loop and allow you in. From here you would still want to go back into preferences and make sure it has not altered at all your home page. Also,
I would recommend that you go here into extensions and just make sure that there’s nothing in here that maybe shouldn’t be here. Keep in mind, if you ever want to take a private lesson with yours truly, that is something that I enjoy doing, especially in the winter. To find out more information, visit my website at techtalkamerica.com/privatelessons, or you’ll find a link down below.