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Articles: Apple Issued New Security Update - 2011-003

Yesterday Apple issued a new Security Update, 2011-003, to fix problems with the MacDefender malware that has been biting so many people. (This after two weeks of denying the problem existed.)

Apple Issued New Security UpdateToday a variant appeared that bypasses the security patch. You can protect yourself, though, by first installing the update (go to Software Update under the Apple menu) and the next update by going back to Software Update again, then going into Safari preferences and unchecking the box marked Open "safe" files after downloading. Unchecking that box is the first thing I do whenever I set up a client's new Mac, but sometimes upgrades and reinstallations recheck it. Go there now and make sure it isn't checked.

Second, if you get a hysterical-looking popup window that says something like "Viruses detected! Click here to fix!" close it immediately. If it won't close, next type Command-Q to quit the program. If that fails, go to the Apple menu, choose Force Quit and then quit Safari from there.

Unfortunately, Firefox does not have an "Open Safe Files" checkbox to uncheck. That's another reason I use Safari as my primary browser.

Finally, periodically visit System Preferences, Accounts, Login Items and become familiar with the list of automatic startups. If a strange one appears you did not ask for, remove it.

As far as all the other System Updates that you may have been ignoring, it's okay to allow them to update. Just make sure you Repair Disk Permissions with Disk First Aid under Disk Utility (in the Utilities folder) before and after you update. The only exception is for Leopard users: If you are currently running 10.5.7 and have not been told by some other program that you have wanted to install that it needs 10.5.8, keep on skipping that one. It is the one update that has caused the most problems for most people over the years. If you do need it, probably best to have me come out and make sure it goes all right.
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