Bundled Crapware Has Come To Macs, So Hone Your BS Detectors

Bundled Crapware Has Come to Macs, So Hone Your BS Detectors

There's an old belief that Macs don't have the same crapware/malware problem that Windows does. However, with the rise of Macs over the past few years, that's no longer true. Our friends at the How-To Geek explain how OS X crapware works, and how to avoid it.

Much like on Windows, Mac adware typically comes from fake links in search engines and "bundle download" sites like Download.com. One of the worst offenders? Fake versions of VLC. Make a quick search on Bing or Yahoo (Google blocks crapware results) for VLC and you'll find a ton of fake installers (like the one pictured above) that put adware on your system. If you do end up with any of this adware, it tends to hijack your browser's new tab search and home pages to bring up obnoxious support warnings trying to trick you into installing even more adware.

Most of these stick to your browser as obnoxious old adware, but How-To Geek found that some can dig even deeper:

These more serious pieces of malware install themselves as a daemon, or service, that runs in the background and behind the scenes. You can find these things in the /Library/LaunchAgents or /Library/LaunchDaemons folder, which will have some really weird looking items that just don't belong. This folder could also be used for real things from real applications, so don't go cleaning out this folder entirely or anything.

Of course, like Windows, you'll have to jump through some hoops to actually install this stuff, and any educated Mac user will recognise most of this software as fishy. However, since most people don't think Macs have this problem, they might let their guard down.

To keep this stuff off your system (and off your family and friend's computers), make sure you can only download approved apps from the Mac App Store. Head to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and make sure the box under "Allow apps downloaded from" is set to Mac App Store and identified developers. Of course, when you absolutely have to download something from an unapproved developer, be sure to read the installer carefully and avoid agreeing to any other installations.

If you already have adware on your computer, we like Adware Medic as a simple, on-demand anti-adware scanner that will help you get rid of anything already on your system. How-To Geek goes deep into how all this adware and malware works, so check out their full post for more info.

Mac OS X Isn't Safe Anymore: The Crapware/Malware Epidemic Has Begun [How-To Geek]


    I will never user a Mac because I don't want daemons in my computer.

      I once kicked a guy out of my house because he was climbing on my computer. I too didn't want Damons on my computer.

    I can hardly ever find any programs I want in the Mac app store though...

      I love when you're searching for apps and search engines give you an obviously dubious link, like there really is an app called "FREE Free video converter for my Mac book air with no viruses v3.5 [verified, trusted, virus free]"

    well thats one advice I'll never be able to follow. I work in research and almost no proper scientific analysis software exists in the app store. (add that to the fact about 80% of scientific equipment doesn't even support macs in the first place...)

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