The Question I recently bought a MacBook Pro with the latest operating system and, being an old-timer, am working hard in getting the system running as it should.
As an avid FT reader I was pleased to take note of your excellent article (“Fast work for slow PCs”). To my great pleasure you provided also myself with a valuable piece of information (in the Q&A subsection): I should keep the Mac running during the nights for an automatic maintenance routine. Nobody told me about this when I bought the machine and you cannot see this information anywhere in the brochures and on-line infos Apple is providing us with. Thanks a lot, Paul, for helping me out with this!
Dare I address you with a question of my own?
I have noted that several programmes (Microsoft, Acrobat and Apple itself) regularly send me notice of on-line updates. I follow the routines they suggest for this, which demand me to present my password as administrator. So far so good, everything has worked smoothly. So I did not suspect anything when I recently received a notice for update (not having any of those logos). As usual, I was asked for and provided my password as administrator. Thereafter, there seemed a quick movement on the screen, but none of the usual requests to read and accept statements and none of the prolonged work of the computer with reading the new file and introducing it in the machine.
This got me thinking: Have I been subject to an intrusion into my machine, for instance, by a Trojan who henceforth is copying my inputs, when writing on the desk? In that context, Paul, can you recommend a programme to install, or routines to apply, that will help me determine, whether an intrusion indeed has occured and, if so, help me to ward it off?
Let me deal with your question first. In generally Macs are much more secure than Windows-based PCs because of their operating system and because frankly Mac users are a much smaller target than Windows PC users for cyber criminals.
One result of this is that there are relatively few third party security software products available for Macs. One of the few is Symantec’s Norton Personal Firewall 3.0 for Windows which should block most trojan horse attacks and makes you Mac ‘invisible’ to potential intruders. Symantec and Intego also sell Mac antivirus programs (Norton AntiVirus 11 and Virusbarrier X5). If you plan on running Windows software on your Mac you should also install a Windows antivirus suite on your virtual PC. Symantec and Intego also offer dual protection products for Mac users who run both Windows and OS X software on their machines.
Perhaps more imporatntly, it is a good idea to install an anti-phishing program like Norton Confidential that works with both Safari and Firefox browsers.
On your first point, while it is not necessary to leave your new Mac on every night, it is certainly a good idea to do so most of the time, or use a free utility like MacJanitor from time to time. You may also find this post on Mac Forums by ‘Mac57′ in response to a question about slowing Macs useful.