How malicious plugins can compromise your Mac

“I cannot remember a time in which my browsers did not have a few plug-ins installed,” Jay Vrijenhoek writes for Intego. “My Safari has three and my Firefox has seven; they’re the first thing I install on a new system, and I really dislike browsing the Web without them. Plug-ins (also called extensions or add-ons) are not always useful enhancements though, and may even be installed without your knowledge — some of which may even be malicious and can compromise your Mac.”

“So what are some things you should look out for when using plugins? And how can you tell if they’re legit or malicious plugins?” Vrijenhoek writes. “It’s not always easy to tell, but there are tried and true methods to help you navigate the Web more safely.”

“Flash Player, Java, Silverlight and Acrobat are most often exploited and should be avoided if you can,” Vrijenhoek writes. “That said, each plug-in that you install increases the potential attack surface, so don’t install a plug-in unless you really need it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Be safe and happy browsing!

12 Comments

  1. Ghostery and 1 Password Extensions.

    Purify was supposed to release a Mac version of it’s excellent iOS app, but has dropped from sight. They claim to have been hacked, but we have not heard a word from the developers relative to the Mac version.

  2. Plug-ins (also called extensions or add-ons)

    NO they’re not. The technology is quite different between the two.

    Internet plug-ins are universal to ALL browsers, unless they are specifically disabled by browsers. Plug-ins have their own folders inside both the root and client Library folders,

    Add-ons/Extensions are specific to individual web browsers, which may have their own individual format. They do NOT work across different browsers.

    Both technologies have their own security concerns. At this time, the goal is to do away with Internet Plug-ins entirely. Meanwhile, the goal with Add-ons/Extensions is to dump the unsafe old Netscape standard and instead use the safer standard currently used in the Chromium browser project. This means many will become unusable as browser tech progresses. Example: Old Firefox Extensions.

    Lumping these two techs together as one is, ahem, lazy. That being said, the rest of this article provides useful advice.

      1. That’s twice, DavGreg, so . . .

        “it’s” = “it is” (a contraction involving a pronoun and a verb, as in “It’s raining today.”)
        “its” = a possessive construct used to modify another word, as in “The dog licked its paw.”

        The difference between these two homophones has not been taught in schools for well over two or three decades, apparently, so the fault is not yours.

        1. English is a mish-mash language full of contradictions. I could list 10 oddities off the top of my head that literally make no sense, they just are. Genuine sympathy to those who learn English as a second language.

          “It’s looking for its Cousin It.” 😉

          But, English is a fun and dynamic (ever evolving) language, once you get off the mess factor. If only its native speakers treated it with due respect.

          “Ya know? I mean, maybe, kind of, sort of, like, um, yeah.”

          1. In this case the rule in English is rather simple. Possessive pronouns do not have an apostrophe, e.g., whose, meaning the possessive form of who and not who’s, which means who is.

            There are much more arcane rules such as, “When adding a two letter ending that starts with a vowel to a two syllable word in which the original word ends in a single consonant and has the pronunciation emphasis on the second syllable the writer must double the final consonant before adding the two letter ending.” What percentage of students today are even taught that rule, let alone actually learn it? 1%? 0.1%? Virtually zero?

            Or, there is always the most often misquoted/truncated rule, “I before E except after C or when sounding as A as in neighbor or weigh with a few weird exceptions.”

            We probably shouldn’t get into the pending death of the proper use of adverbs in common, verbal usage or the seemingly near total loss of any differentiation in the use of prepositions of motion versus prepositions of position, e.g., the use of “He dove in the pool” when actually meaning “He dove into the pool.” giving rise to “He put the milk in the refrigerator.”

            Proper English is not the ad hoc mash up that most people think it is. It is nuanced and specific when done well. Further, it is nothing like what we often see and read on these sites. Even I get lazy and sloppy all too often on these sites.

            1. Possessive pronouns do not have an apostrophe

              I’ve never heard of that rule specifically. But in the case of a conflict between possessive and contractions, that is the rule that applies.

              You clearly know a lot more grammar rules than I do. On the other hand, exceptions to the ‘rules’ abound and do suitably drive people out of their minds.

              Note how their is itself an exception.

              Now that typing, rather than handwriting, has predominant, we who are naturally lousy at language (<–me) depend a great deal on spell checking. But it's not perfect and for reasons I can't comprehend, have never yet been properly trained to understands proper spelling within context. "They're are the missing mats". Oops. No spelling warnings. Oh and no grammar warnings either! Grammar checkers are, IMHO, worthless. You'd think our current GEE WHIZ! optimism about "artificial intelligence" would push the development of a solid grammar checking program. Nope! No such thing. And yes, I'm pointing at you Grammarian!

        2. Oh, it’s taught, and re-taught over and over again. So is the difference between ‘there’, ‘their’ and “they’re”.
          Alas many students just don’t listen, and they don’t think spelling and punctuation is important. They are doomed to all sorts of problems as you can see below:

          The panda eats, shoots, and leaves. Bang bang!

          The panda eats shoots and leaves. Munch, Munch

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