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Like it or not, there will come a time when your once lightning-fast Mac computer can no longer meet modern computing demands. When this happens, you’ll face the following dilemma: should you stick to your current Mac computer or purchase a new one? To help you make this decision, we’ve listed several signs you need to watch out for.

Your device can’t support the latest macOS version

Apple releases a new version of macOS every September or October. Typically, Mac models from the past several years are supported. So if your device can’t update to the latest version, it’s a sign that you need to have your Mac replaced.

The latest macOS version that’s currently in public beta is 12 Monterey. Here are the following Mac models that support the update:

  • MacBook (early 2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (early 2015 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (early 2015 and later)
  • iMac (late 2015 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)
  • Mac Pro (late 2013 and later)
  • Mac mini (late 2014 and later)

This means that devices made earlier than those in the list cannot install macOS Monterey. For instance, a 2010 Macbook Pro running Mac OS X Lion cannot support the upcoming version of macOS. Your device is likely obsolete, and while you can keep on using it as usual, you won’t get any new features and its slow performance may cause productivity issues.

You’ve run out of free space

File sizes are constantly growing, which means that they are bound to take up more space in computer hard drives. If your Mac only has 128 or 256 GB of storage space, you’ll find yourself freeing up space for new files often. You have the option to purchase flash drives or external hard drives, but these aren’t built into your system, so the chances of losing them are high.

It’s therefore more ideal to purchase a new Mac instead. Newer versions offer as much as 4TB of storage, which will allow you to store more files in the long run.

Your Mac has poor specs

If frozen screens, slow-loading apps, and poor battery life are already a part of your typical day while using your Mac, then it might be time to replace it.

For instance, the performance of a hard disk drive (HDD) slows down with age, which could cause your computer to load files and programs sluggishly. The same principle applies to your battery. You may experience short standby and usage times, or the device could suddenly turn off. There’s the option of plugging your device into an outlet while using it, but this sacrifices portability.

To mitigate these issues, you can add more random access memory (RAM), swap out the HDD, or replace the battery. It’s important to note that some components are soldered to the motherboard, so replacing them may not be an option. The money you would spend on upgrading your Mac would be better put toward a new machine, which will not only be faster, but also much more reliable.

Your Mac’s hardware is damaged

You need to replace your Mac if it has suffered serious physical damage. This could range from a broken display, damaged hard drives, missing keyboard keys, or nonfunctioning USB and charging ports.

It’s easy to have your device fixed, but it’s not the most financially sound decision to invest money in an obsolete machine when you can buy a new one that will last longer. Also, small issues can become major problems. Let’s say you’re using your Mac with a heavily cracked screen. The device might be usable for a while, but the display might stop functioning anytime, which is a major hindrance if you’re in the middle of something important.

If problems on your Mac are already affecting your productivity, consider replacing it with a newer version that performs much better and has no hardware damage.

You’re experiencing software issues

An outdated Mac can experience software problems such as unresponsive apps, visual glitches, and random shutdowns. If your Mac is running an older version of macOS, it might run into software compatibility issues. For instance, a program may refuse to run because your operating system is outdated.

You can usually fix these problems by freeing up your RAM or storage space. Reinstalling macOS is also a good option. If the problems persist, however, you should consider investing in a new Mac.

It’s important to have a Mac that not only performs well, but also helps you become more productive and efficient. If you want to learn more about replacing your Mac, drop our experts a line today and we’ll be in touch.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Apple security threats

The hearsay that Macs cannot be infected by viruses or malware couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of cyberthreats that pose risks to Macs, so if you’re a Mac user, you should prioritize your device’s security. The good news is that protecting your Mac is simple and easy. Just follow these steps.

Check your privacy settings

Make sure that your Mac settings are set up properly to keep your data safe. Manage the information your Mac makes available across the internet or on a network by going to Apple menu System Preferences Security & Privacy Privacy. From there, you can choose which information to share and with whom. For example, you can specify which apps are allowed to see personal information, such as your location, contacts, photos, or music.

Take advantage of the firewall

A firewall protects your Mac from unwanted contact initiated by other computers on a network or the internet. It protects your computer by allowing only authorized services and apps to communicate with your Mac, so be sure to enable macOS’s built-in firewall.

To do so, just go to Apple menu System Preferences Security & Privacy Privacy then, click Firewall. If the padlock icon at the bottom left is locked, click it and key in your username and password. Enable the firewall by clicking Turn On Firewall.

To modify Firewall settings, click on Firewall Options… just below the “Turn Off Firewall” button. You will find a list of services and apps that are allowed to receive inbound connections. If you want to add an app or service to the list, just click the “+” button below the list itself. However, we recommend keeping this list as short as possible, as the apps listed can be exploited by cybercriminals.

Another useful feature to enable is stealth mode. This option will make your Mac more difficult to find, thus keeping hackers and malware at bay. For instance, if you are in a coffee shop and connected to its unsecured Wi-Fi, enabling stealth mode will make your Mac invisible on that public network. To turn on this feature, just tick the box next to “Enable stealth mode” in Firewall Options. A dialog box will pop up, and you can click on the “Enable Stealth Mode” button.

Set up a firmware password

Every new Mac today has the FileVault encryption automatically enabled. This means that your device already encrypts the hard drive by default, and the only way your data can be accessed is by logging in. Keep in mind, though, that this feature won’t necessarily save your account in case someone reinstalls the operating system or uses a memory stick to boot the Mac and remove all data from your hard disk.

To increase protection, set up a firmware password. Do this by restarting your computer, then pressing and holding down Cmd+R before the Apple logo shows up on the screen. You can let go of the keys once the progress bar pops up.

When the utilities window appears, click on Utilities in the menu bar, then choose Startup Security Utility or Firmware Password Utility. Click on Turn On Firmware Password… and simply follow the succeeding instructions.

Finally, quit the utilities window, then choose Apple menu Restart. Make sure to never forget or misplace your firmware password, because only Apple technicians can recover it.

Ensure that your confidential data remains private by performing minor tweaks on your Mac’s system settings. It takes only a few minutes to ensure lasting online protection. If setting up a firewall or firmware password sounds a little too advanced for you, or if you need to set up more advanced defenses, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Although a majority of ransomware attacks usually target Windows PCs, this doesn’t mean Mac users are completely safe. Ransomware attacks for Macs have occurred before, and are growing more widespread over time. So how can you prevent ransomware from infecting your Mac? We’ve compiled some helpful security tips for you.

What is Mac ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that holds computer systems hostage until a ransom is paid in gift cards, or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum. It’s typically distributed using phishing emails, but it can also spread via unsecured networks.

When Macs are infected by ransomware, users won’t be able to access their data since it’s encrypted. Ransomware messages may also threaten to release the information to the public or destroy sensitive data if victims don’t pay within a certain deadline. Healthcare and finance organizations, in particular, are more likely to pay the ransom because these organizations tend to have a lot of valuable assets, including money, and can’t afford to lose access to their critical data.

Types of Mac ransomware

In 2016, the KeRanger ransomware was distributed through the popular BitTorrent app Transmission. KeRanger was signed with an authorized security certificate, allowing it to evade macOS’s built-in security measures and infect more than 7,000 Mac computers.

Patcher was another strain of Mac ransomware that was discovered in 2017. This type of ransomware disguised itself as a patching app for programs like Microsoft Office. When launched, Patcher would encrypt files in user directories and ask for a ransom paid in Bitcoin. But the ransomware was poorly built, so there was no way to retrieve the decryption key once the ransom was paid.

In 2019, the EvilQuest ransomware encrypted files and tried to trick users into paying a Bitcoin ransom. Much like Patcher, however, there was no feature to decrypt files after paying, leaving those who paid the ransom with nothing.

Ransomware attacks like these can make a resurgence at any time, which is why you need to be prepared in case of an attack.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Preventive measures are the best way to keep your Macs safe from ransomware. This involves updating your software regularly to defend against the latest threats and only installing programs from the official App Store.

Since ransomware initially infects computers using phishing emails, make sure to avoid suspicious links and email attachments. Always be on alert even if the email appears to come from a legitimate company or someone you know.

You must also maintain offline backups and have a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the off chance that ransomware successfully infiltrates your systems.

Responding to ransomware

If your Mac is infected with ransomware, do not pay the ransom fee, as there’s no guarantee that hackers will provide a decryption key and release your data even if you give in to their demands.

Instead, use an up-to-date anti-malware program to remove ransomware from your computer. Cybersecurity experts may also release free ransomware decryptor tools to remove the infection, so keep an eye out for these on the internet. If these programs and tools don’t work, contain the spread of the ransomware by disconnecting from the network and run data recovery procedures, provided you’ve backed up your data in an external hard drive or the cloud.

Mac ransomware attacks may not be common, but they still pose a great threat to your business. If you need more guidance, contact our team of security experts today. We stay abreast of the latest Mac security threats and know just how to keep your business safe.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Through the years, Apple products have shown resistance to different kinds of malware that Microsoft computers weren’t able to dodge. This, however, does not mean that Macs are invulnerable. Here are some threats you should watch out for to keep your Mac protected.

What are the threats that can affect your Mac?

There are several general virus types that hit Apple products, and their effects can range from merely annoying to downright destructive.

1. Adware – Adware are unwanted programs that bombard users with pop-up advertisements. Some malicious adware piggyback spyware onto their deployment protocols, which can record your typing habits with keyloggers and keyboard sniffers, as well as monitor your browsing behavior.

2. Sniffers – Sniffers are usually designed to detect certain words on a webpage and in a person’s typing pattern in order to trigger the keylogger. For instance, when you type your password, sniffers can activate the keylogger to copy the information you type and steal your login details.

3. Trojan horses – Trojan horses can infect both Macs and PCs, and they are often deployed through fake software installers or unsecured updates. They parade as legitimate software that actually contains a nasty surprise once installed. A notorious Trojan horse for Macs is the MacDownloader, which attempts to steal personal data stored in Apple Keychain.

4. Macro viruses – Macro viruses attack computers by running an executory code that could take screenshots, format hard drives, corrupt files, deliver more malware, and access webcams and mics. They are triggered when a user opens an infected macros-enabled file, hence the name.

5. Ransomware – Macs held off ransomware for a while, but nowadays, even they can be vulnerable to it. KeRanger was one of the first big ransomware outbreaks for Macs. After remotely encrypting the computer and hibernating for three days, KeRanger would issue a .txt file containing instructions for decryption in return for one bitcoin.

Does your Mac have a virus?

Now that you know what kinds of viruses and malware your macOS could be affected with, here are some ways to tell if your Mac is infected with one:

1. Pop-up ads – If you’re seeing more pop-ups on your computer than usual, your computer probably infected. An unusual amount of banner ads and pop-ups may mean that your computer is due for an update and/or a virus scan.

2. Slowness – Mac users fear one thing above all: the spinning wheel of death. This little rainbow-colored spinning cursor wheel indicates that the computer is having trouble processing at usual speeds. This slowness can often be caused by overwhelming requests from simultaneous processes — likely of dubious origin — running in the background.

3. Browser issues – Viruses sometimes do weird things to Safari or Firefox such as change its homepage or redirect a preset landing page to a site you’ve never seen before. If your browser starts behaving oddly, crashes regularly, or is often unresponsive, your Mac might have a virus.

Computer security is a matter of importance no matter what operating system you use. Reach out to our experts for an assessment of your network today.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Apple’s continuous improvement of its operating systems will give us iOS 14 and other OS updates this September. These will be previewed and tested by developers come Apple’s WWDC on June 22, but here’s a quick peek at some of the new apps and features.

Nifty app tweaks

Apple is developing new features for some of its prominent apps, and these tweaks may just make the cut come September.

MESSAGES

  • Mention will let users tag people with the @ symbol, just like in Slack. This will also allow users to mute conversations but receive push notifications whenever they are directly mentioned.
  • Mark as unread will allow users to highlight messages so they would not forget requests or tasks and get back to these at a later time.
  • Retract will enable users to delete messages they’ve sent, with the deletion action visible to both sender and recipient.

ACTIVITY

  • Kids mode on the watchOS 7 will track movement time instead of calories burned. This is because the first metric is deemed healthier to track (from a mental health perspective) for children.

HEALTH

  • Sleep tracking will grant users the ability to set sleep goals and receive tips for improving slumber.

FIND MY

  • new notification feature will let users receive alerts when someone does not arrive at an expected place and time. For example, parents would be notified if their child does not make it home on time.

New features

CARKEY

This will let users pair their iPhone and/or Apple Watch with their NFC-enabled vehicles. They can then lock, unlock, and start their ride with their Apple device instead of the car’s physical key. The electronic keys will be kept in the Wallet app, and “duplicates” can be shared with friends and family via the Messages app. Based on the leaked screenshots and code of the feature in development, BMW might be the first brand that CarKey works with.

ICLOUD KEYCHAIN FEATURES

In development are:

  • A way to store two-factor authentication (2FA) codes, which would purportedly allow the Keychain to generate its own codes and let the user forgo the need to use a separate 2FA app
  • Password reuse warnings that remind users to create different passwords for different accounts

CLIPS

Codenamed “Clips,” this feature will let users interact with certain content in third-party apps without having to download those apps. By scanning a QR code that’s linked to an app, the user opens a floating card that contains the interactive content. The card gives users the option to download the app, or open the app if it’s already installed.

New apps

FITNESS APP

This new app, which is expected to be named “Fit” or “Fitness” once released, will allow users to download from a wide library of fitness videos and receive help for completing workout activities. Activities include core exercises, strength training, stretching, yoga, dance, and running, among others.

This standalone app will coexist with the Activity app and will be available on iOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7. This means that you can sync your fitness routines across many Apple devices — i.e., you can watch workout videos on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, and track your progress on your Apple Watch.

As of this writing, it appears that Apple won’t charge users anything for workout routines, though whether the app and its functionalities would end up on the final versions of the OSs remains to be seen this September.

AUGMENTED REALITY APP

This app would grant users access to information and experiences by triggering QR code tags or iBeacon transmitters (i.e., IoT devices that activate apps in nearby mobile devices) that are placed in specific spots or items in a certain location. For instance, if a user is in an Apple Store, they can check the QR code tag of a particular device to receive information about that device.

New tech is amazing! To take advantage of the latest that IT has to offer, schedule a consultation with our experts today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Although more generally secure than Windows computers and Android devices, Apple computers and devices have security threats, too. Thinking that Macs and iPhones don’t need protection is just asking for trouble. Follow these tips to bolster the security of all your business gadgets.

Keep abreast of current security threats

Educate your organization about the most common ways systems are infected or hacked. Apple users in your organization must be aware of recent security updates on iPhones and Macs, for instance.

  • iPhones – Security and privacy are key concerns with every iOS update, which is why Apple highlighted its privacy and security features when it released iOS 13, the latest iOS version. However, in June, it was reported that 38% of Apple iOS apps contained critical vulnerabilities, which was only slightly lower compared to Android’s 43%. The vulnerabilities were reportedly caused by weaknesses in security mechanisms.
  • Macs – In 2017’s WannaCry/WannaCrypt ransomware attacks, only Windows machines were affected. This shows that Apple does a fairly good job of guarding against threats. That said, Macs are certainly not immune to malware and viruses. In 2019, a malware called OSX/CrescentCore was reportedly found on several websites and worked by installing an infected file or a Safari extension.

Practice secure web browsing

The vast majority of security breaches happen when a user installs programs, knowingly or unknowingly, or clicks on links in emails or on the Web that contain malware. Take these precautions to avoid intrusions:

  1. Never open email attachments from unknown senders especially those with file extensions that are for programs, i.e., DMG. These include attachments in emails from large companies and financial institutions. When in doubt, contact the sender to verify.
  2. Always hover over links before you click on them. If you receive an email with a link in it, hover over the URL to see where it links to and look for spelling or grammar mistakes, or any other indication that it’s a fraudulent link.
  3. Don’t automatically open any downloaded apps. Verify an app by taking a look at its name and its source information. If the site appears to be different from where you downloaded it, the app may be infected.
  4. When you try to watch content from any random website, many sites will ask you to download a plugin or video player. It’s best to avoid these sites altogether because many of them are known to host malware that can install itself.
  5. When in doubt, don’t take action. If you’re unsure about a link or app you are being asked to download, simply don’t click on it or download it.

Install antivirus scanners

It’s amazing how many Mac users don’t bother with an antivirus scanner. These tools are indispensable for keeping your systems and data secure. There are a number of excellent scanners out there, so make sure to pick a solution that covers both desktop and mobile devices to ensure optimal security. We can also help you pick the best solution for your business.

Consult IT experts

Strengthen the security of your computers, mobile devices, and network by working with an IT expert like us. We take the time to get to know how you use your devices to discover your security needs and recommend an integrated, effective solution for you. To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE