NVMUG April 2016 Meeting Report
Northern Vermont Macintosh Users Group
Present: Hartley Jackson, Bruce Shields, Warren Walker, Daniel Hollister, Joan Hickey, Stephen Farber, Jane Fuller, Midge Lubot, Kelly Gonter, and Geof Gonter
The meeting was well attended and very active.
A user with Lion (10.7) on their computer wanted to know how to purchase 10.9 or Mavericks as it is known. Unless one had purchased (a free purchase) the operating system when it was available from the App Store, it is not available. One must download the current operating system, 10.11.4 or El Capitan, from the App Store. Moving up from Mac OSX 10.6.8, or 10.7.x, and up is a smart move. As with updates, to applications, plug-ins, and extensions, new operating systems include security improvements, as well as application enhancements. It is important that updating where security issues are involved, like the recent Flash ransomware issue, be done ASAP.
The issues of ransomware, malware, and viruses was next discussed.
Ransomware was first discussed. Ransomware takes over your computer and does not allow the use of your computer or encrypts your data. There will be a dialog box saying you must pay money to allow you to use your computer again. Once your computer is taken over, you have two choices, pay the money or reinstall your operating system and then applications (losing all your documents, pictures, music), or wipe your computer internal drive and reinstall from your back up. You are backing up your computer, right?
Having a current backup, with Time Machine or another backup application, is your best defense against this attack. You can also use Time Machine, but all hard drive should be disconnected during normal use. There have been reports that the recent ransomware has encrypted files on connected hard drives. It has also been reported that encryption can carry to network connected servers.
Malware is the most prevalent form of intrusion into your computer at the present time. In most cases, a dialog box comes up on the screen saying your computer has been compromised and you should contact a support company, most of the time saying the service is Apple or Microsoft or related. The best thing to do first is force quit the application, then restart your computer. If it appears within the application again, follow the techniques, when the issue is with Safari, covered in https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-8071. For other browsers, search for “removing malware from Macs (Name of the browser).
IIt is also suggested that you run your AV (http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/best-free-antivirus-software-for-mac/) or Malwarebytes (https://www.malwarebytes.org). The best advice is to, “DO NOT PAY” to have your computer worked on by the people from the message that pops up. Keep in mind that most of the virus reported are actually Windows related viruses. Best to delete them, so you don’t pass them on to your friends that use Windows. There have been few viruses for the Macintosh, computers running OSX, in the wild.
Joan asked about the lack of notifications of updates on all three of her Apple devices. It was checked to see if notifications were activated on the devices. It was suggested that she run OnyX on her computer to see if running the utility cleans up resources that affect notifications on her Mac.
Jane was told that her iPod Touch (1st or 2nd generation) was to old to replace the battery by Apple. It was found that Mission Repair (http://www.missionrepair.com) provides battery replacement service and repair for all iPod Touch models as well as the original iPod units. She was also provided with information on getting Bandcamp to play some of the music files she had downloaded. There is a free Bandcamp application available for iOS devices (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bandcamp/id706408639?ls=1&mt=8).
Another hint I’d like to send along is for opening Word docx file on a Mac without Microsoft Word installed http://osxdaily.com/2016/04/15/opening-docx-files-on-mac/.
The next meeting is scheduled for May 14, 2016 in Room 224 in the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital from 10:00 am to 12:00 PM.