Mac OS X has been relatively safe from malware. However, there has been a few malware scares recently that have affected a significant number of Mac users.
One of those was MacDefender fake antivirus scam that led users to believe their systems were infected and asked for credit card details to remove the "infection". Another one was DNSChanger malware, which directed affected computers to malicious websites that tried to get people provide their personal information.
The latest malware to hit Mac users has been Flashback. It appeared in spring last year as a fake Adobe Flash player installer. Getting infected with this malware was relatively easy to avoid, plus Apple quickly patched the hole as part of security updates. But then, Flashback came back exploiting a Java vulnerability and, by simply visiting a malicious website, this malware could install on a Mac running Java. It didn't require any user attention. Although Oracle patched Java vulnerability back in February, it didn't help Mac users because Apple uses its own version of Java. Apple (finally) patched Flashback last week... two months and 600,000 infections later :(
There is a free tool that lets you check whether your Mac has been infected with Flashback. Simply go to http://public.dev.drweb.com/april/ and follow a few simple steps. But regardless of whether you have it or not, make sure you keep up with Apple security updates.
Decent amount of RAM is always a good idea. What “decent” means depends on the operating system you’re running and applications you’re using. Ever wondered what those empty memory slots in your computer case can be used for? Well, the shift to 64-bit operating systems has allowed us to take full advantage of those slots. For example, 8GB RAM is particularly useful if you’re running Windows 7 64-bit. Microsoft states that minimum requirement for Windows 7 is 2GB for 64-bit version. May be true, but you’d really want to run more on your PC than just the operating system, right? In my experience, 4GB are absolute minimum in order for your Windows 7 computer not to go “nuts”. I’ve seen and installed Windows 7 many times on many different machines and specs and, in my opinion, 8GB RAM is what is really needed. Windows 7 64-bit is designed to be highly efficient at making use of 8GB (and larger) RAM. Upgrading to 8GB (or more) significantly reduces the time taken to perform everyday functions, such as photo loading. And this “feel” of increased performance also applies to other things. For example, the ability to instantly switch between different windows or applications, or to open a new application or file instantly, or simply have many different windows and applications open without the system becoming sluggish.
To get maximum stability and performance, all the memory chips in your PC should be identical (e.g. DDR3); and note that quantity is more important than the speed.
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