I travel quite a lot. Though usually I enjoy seeing the world, sitting and waiting at airports can get very tiresome.
A recent snow storm left me particularly bored. It was late in the evening and I was waiting at Helsinki airport for my flight to Munich to finally take off. When the smiling lady at the Lufthansa check-in desk announced that the flight would be delayed for at least 2.5 hours, people began pulling their laptops from their bags to open them. And so did I.
While my PC was booting, I looked around and realized that I was surrounded – by Macs!
Normally, I’m quite ok with my PC. It fits in my handbag and that’s what really matters. But amidst those stylish flat MacBooks and their glossy screens, I felt a little bit embarrassed by my unspectacular boxy, black laptop. And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I got Windows’ famous blue screen. Thank you very much, Bill Gates!
I got an understanding glance from my neighbor and we started a conversation about Apple’s steady march toward victory. Undeniably Macs are becoming more and more popular, and not only with designers and other creatives. This gentleman, for example, runs his own consultant company and has equipped his whole staff with Macs. Now he was giving me a lecture about why Macs are so much better than PCs.
After some time, we got to the point where he asked me what I do for a living. When I told him that I work for an IT security company, I knew it was my turn to give a little lecture. :) Like every other Mac user I’ve ever met, he felt he was magically safe from malware. Well… sorry, but this perception needs a little revision.
Yes, Macs are safer because cyber criminals can make so much more money with PC malware. PCs dominate our online world. But – and this goes out to all Mac users – this doesn’t mean Macs are more secure than PCs.
It’s like living in a safe neighborhood. Just because there aren’t as many thieves about doesn’t mean that your windows are any less easy to break. There is more and more malware with cryptic names that could infect your Mac… Zlob codec trojans just being one example.
Another consideration is that malware is increasingly browser-based and Mac users can be hit by phishing scams social engineering exploits just like any PC user. Just recently the criminal “Koobface” gang specifically targeted Mac users and tried to make profit. Go to Dancho Danchev’s blog if you want to know more about the technical details.
Macs’ growing popularity is so overwhelming that we decided that it’s time for our own Mac solution. Just as I recommended to my Mac enthusiast neighbor, I recommend you checking out F-Secure Mac Protection, free for six months. Register for our Beta program now.
We’d love to know if F-Secure Mac Protection found anything on your Mac. ;-) Please leave a comment below.
Have a safe onward journey – in the online and offline world!
We wouldn't be F-Secure without the talented and passionate researchers in our Labs. And today we'd like you to meet one whose inquisitive nature has driven him to become an inventor - and a prolific one at that. In his 14-year career with F-Secure, Jarno Niemelä has racked up an impressive 20 patents to his name and has filed 100 patent applications in total. His achievements recently won the title of "Salaried Inventor of 2014" from a group of Finnish inventors' organizations. I sat down to chat with Jarno about where he gets his ideas, and his advice for others. What area do your inventions focus on? I mostly focus on methods to help detect malware on a system, or methods of preventing malware from entering the system in the first place. How do your ideas come about? Inventions mostly happen in the evening when I'm not at work, and not even trying to think about it. I'll be working on some problem at work, and usually a day or two later, when I'm doing something totally unrelated on my own time, it hits me. I understand the problem and come up with a solution. The gym is a really good place for inventions. What motivates you to keep on inventing new solutions? Inventions just happen, pretty much. Whenever I'm able to define a problem, I'm usually always able to come up with a solution. I am lucky to be researching in areas with problems that others have not yet solved. I'll be honest, I don't really like patents that much personally. The fact is though, that companies without patents would pretty much be at the mercy of the competitors. So in my view, patents are basically company self defense. Patents keep things in balance. Were you curious about things growing up? I've always kind of been inventive. You cannot learn to become an inventor, it's either something that's in your nature or it's not. And then you need to hone the talent and learn how to work within the patent framework. Another thing that is very important is good basic education and knowledge about the field. I owe a lot to Metropolia University of Applied Sciences where I studied for my engineering degree. Do you have any advice for people who have this inventive nature and are interested in filing patents? It all starts from defining and understanding the problem. Without a thorough understanding of the problem, you can't come up with a solution. Also, when it comes to patents, it's important to know what has previously been done in your area, and be clear in exactly how your invention is different from those. Otherwise your patent can be easily rejected by the patent examiner. And finally, patents are a long process so you need patience. It can take three to five years to get a patent approved. So this is not for hasty people. What is that rock you're holding? It's my trophy, a piece of Finnish bedrock! Inventors are the bedrock of new products. Do you have any certain goals for your inventions? Before I retire I would like to have at least 50 patents to my name. - Well, he's off to a great start. Congratulations, Jarno! Follow Jarno on Twitter
The EFF has put together a handy guide on choosing the right VPN -- virtual private network -- that explains in simple terms why you'd want to use this type of software. "It enables a computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it is directly connected to the private network—benefiting from the functionality, security, and management policies of the private network," the guide explains. It goes on to clarify the three reasons people typically encrypt their data. Most people already using a VPN do so for the two reasons: They connect to a corporate network remotely or are attempting avoid Internet censorship in countries like China and Iran. But even if you're not using a VPN for business or digital freedom, there is a simple reason why you'd want to use a VPN. "You can also use a commercial VPN to encrypt your data as it travels over a public network, such as the Wi-Fi in an Internet café or a hotel," the EFF writes. I put together this flow chart that explains whether you're a candidate for this third reason to use a VPN: “A good number of open wi-fi providers take the time to tell you in their T&C that there are inherent risks with wireless communications and suggest using a VPN,” F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan said after we conducted a public Wi-Fi experiment. “So if you don’t take it from me, take it from them.” And even if you aren't on a public network, you may want a VPN to protect you from ubiquitous tracking elements like a perma-cookie. You can try our super simple Freedome VPN solution -- which also includes tracking protection and the ability to set up virtual locations -- free. [Image via Trevor Cummings | Flickr]
First Finland, next the world! We knew it all along, and now it's confirmed: F-Secure Freedome, our super-simple security and online privacy app, has won the Best Mobile Service in Finland award. Freedome took away the award in the Utility and Infotainment category. Freedome's product manager, Paivi, and Samu, head of Consumer Security at F-Secure, were on hand to accept the award. "It's great to see F-Secure, a 25-plus-year-old company, competing among startups --- and winning, thanks to Freedome's fresh and user-friendly design," says Paivi. The competition was organized by Teleforum and The Federation of Finnish Technology Industry together with key industry players such as Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, IBM and others. 110 mobile services were evaluated in 11 categories. Check out Freedome for yourself to see what the buzz is about!