Microsoft Just Released An Antivirus App For Macs

Microsoft Defender for Mac finds a malicious file during a scan (Microsoft)

Microsoft’s Iaan D’Souza-Wiltshire penned an announcement heralding the debut of Microsoft Defender for Mac. It’s essentially the same app as Windows Defender on Windows 10. The name needed a tweak, of course, since it’s built for machines that aren’t running Microsoft’s own operating system.

Microsoft Defender offers Mac users the same kind of protection that its Windows counterpart offers Windows users. It provides real-time detection of threats, performs on-demand scans of USB drives, and automatically keeps malware definitions and detection logic up-to-date.

For now, Microsoft Defender is only available as a limited preview. It’s the first step in bringing a whole new group of users under Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) umbrella.

Surprised to see Microsoft releasing an app like this for Mac computers? Don’t be.

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Just a few months ago we saw a similarly unexpected announcement from Microsoft. The browser that had been purpose-built for Windows 10, Edge, was being torn down and rebuilt and would use the same code that powers Google Chrome for a foundation.

Then Microsoft doubled down on the surprise factor. Not only would the new Edge browser use Google code, but it was also going to run on Macs. Microsoft last released a web browser that ran on Macs way back in 2003.

The two companies have been fierce competitors on numerous fronts over the years, but there have also been some surprising collaborations. The most famous was when Microsoft saved Apple from possible bankruptcy in 1997 with a $150 million investment.

Really, if you wanted to put a social networking label on the relationship between Microsoft and Apple, you’d have to go with “it’s complicated.” Battling the threat of global malware is complicated, too, and it’s great to see that Microsoft isn’t going to let a little rivalry get in the way of that mission.

Lee started writing about software, hardware, and geek culture around the time that the Red Wings last won the Stanley Cup. The two aren’t related in any way, however. When he’s not catching up on tech news or blogging about it, you can find him watching or playing baseball and doing his part to ensure the next generation of geeks is raised properly.

Source: Microsoft Just Released An Antivirus App For Macs

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Four Ways To Protect Yourself And Your Devices On Public Wi-Fi


Starbucks has cemented an image of itself as America’s coffee shop. A national franchise, the company has over 13,000 locations nationwide. The coffee chain has made concerted efforts to accommodate its customers, including offering complimentary public Wi-Fi and plenty of 120-volt outlets at its stores to power mobile devices.

Whether you’re on a lunch break or just kicking back on a quiet Saturday afternoon, you’ll be able to enjoy a cup of fresh brewed coffee (not to mention dozens of other hot and iced beverage items offered on the menu) as you browse the Web on your connected device.

But before you accept the terms of service to access Starbucks’ public Wi-Fi, there are some measures you should put into place first to ensure that your privacy is safeguarded and that you’re secure.

The reality is that Wi-Fi, specifically public Wi-Fi, will never be secure. With fake public Wi-Fi being used by hackers, along with openly posted Wi-Fi passwords available in countless hacker forums, it is not hard to hack most devices that access a particular Wi-Fi network.

This means that the data that you are sending and receiving from your connected device can be intercepted by criminals and then exploited and resold. As a good rule of thumb, you should always presume that all Wi-Fi, even the Wi-Fi in your home, is vulnerable. So, always err on the side of safety by instead relying on encrypted communication.

Here are some simple measures that you can take to protect yourself and browse safely and securely no matter where you are in the world.

1. Disable Sharing

Your connected device was also designed to interact with other connected devices via a setting called “sharing.” This is an especially popular feature for Apple devices like the Mac. Without sharing disabled on a Mac, for example, other users on the same network could potentially access your files and download them without you even knowing about it.

The same is true for some Bluetooth-enabled devices, PCs and even Android-powered machines. But fortunately, the fix is simple here: Access your settings and disable sharing on any connected device you want to use on a public Wi-Fi before you connect.

Turning off sharing settings is easy:

On a Mac, you can disable it by accessing System Preferences.

• On a Windows device, you can easily turn off sharing via the Network and Sharing Center.

• You should also disable “network discovery” as well, which means that your connected device will be hidden from other devices that are connected to the network (the public Wi-Fi).

2. Make Sure Your Software Is Updated

Software updates are critical to security. Not only are updates designed to make your device run smoother, but most updates also typically contain important security patches, too.

For example, a major and recent Android update added new security protocols:

“Android Nougat features a re-architected media stack that’s been significantly hardened against common attacks. By incorporating integer overflow sanitization, the stack is much more robust against malformed content, and sandboxing of media processes protects the operating system against privilege escalation. Ultimately these protections provide multiple levels of defense to keep your data safe.”

Apple released an update in late March that also contained critical security patches:

“In the most recent iOS update, Apple patched a new bug, identified as CVE-2018-4140, which similarly could have triggered iOS devices to restart after receiving a malicious SMS text message.”

The rule of thumb is simple here: Don’t delay software updates to your connected devices — they usually contain very important security updates that help keep your information secure when browsing the internet.

3. Use A VPN

If you want to keep hackers out and lock down your connection entirely, you should consider using a virtual private network. (Full disclosure: I run, a company that provides VPN research and statistics.)

VPNs are private, encrypted networks that you log into from your connected device.

The information you send and receive from the network is encrypted on both sides (end-to-end encryption).

This protects your data from ever being accessed by third parties because they would need the encryption key to decode it.

When using a VPN, you simply log into the VPN from your connected device and browse to your heart’s content. Some VPNs are free of charge and others are available for a nominal monthly fee. There are thousands of providers to choose from, and each offers its own array of features to help protect your privacy.

4. Make Sure You Have Antivirus Software Installed

If you don’t have antivirus software installed on your connected device, you are not browsing securely. There are countless malicious websites that you can mistakenly visit that might result in you unknowingly downloading viruses, malware and spyware. Fortunately, an antivirus program will help prevent this from happening while providing 24/7 protection.

The internet has become a mainstay in our lives. Most of us can’t imagine a world where we are not connected. By ensuring that you are proactive about your online security, you can access the World Wide Web without having to worry about your privacy or confidential information being compromised — all while enjoying a cup of coffee at your local Starbucks.

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