Study: Macs and malware

It’s official: No computer is immune to viral attacks.

In a challenge to the prevailing belief that Apple computers are immune to the sort of cyberattacks that plague Windows-based machines, research firm Sophos has released a study claiming that 1 in 5 Macs has malware.

The report, released on Tuesday, is based on a “100,000-strong snapshot” of the millions of Macs that downloaded Sophos’s free Mac antivirus software. The study found that 20 percent of Macs were carrying one or more instances of Windows malware.

Such malware doesn’t cause symptoms unless the Mac owners run Windows on their machines, but it can be spread to others.

However, this doesn’t appear to be solely a Windows-based problem. The report also found that 2.7 percent of Macs were infected with Mac OS malware. The majority of such Mac OS malware is composed of fake antivirus attacks, like the recent Flashback botnet. Mac owners can contract such malware by downloading e-mail attachments, visiting rogue websites and unknowingly installing it via their USB drive.

To avoid downloading such malware, Sophos recommends running an antivirus program and keeping it up to date, exercising caution about which links you click on, keeping software patches current and keeping an eye out for e-mail-based scams.

Is the digital world killing creativity?

Sure, you can use that smartphone to create an emotionally stirring Instagram of the waffles you had for brunch in mere seconds. But that same device can also serve as a ball and chain for the working world: e-mails constantly arrive, even during off hours; LinkedIn requests buzz after networking events; and has that important new contact followed you on Twitter yet?

While our current age of digital disruption has opened a cornucopia of new casual creative endeavors, the networked generation’s ability to multitask — and the constant need for instantaneous action — may also be hindering creativity.

Consider this: In a recent global study, three-quarters of respondents said their creative potential is being stifled. More than 60 percent of Americans said their education systems squelch creativity, and a majority of total respondents said pressure at work hurts creativity. Yet 80 percent of respondents worldwide said allowing creativity to flourish is critical to economic growth.

Those numbers come from a recent survey of 5,000 adults in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan. The study was commissioned by software giant Adobe, and its results were announced Monday.

Given that Adobe just released the latest version of its wildly popular Creative Suite line of products including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, it’s no surprise the company would play up the need for a more hospitable climate for experimentation. But the study’s findings do indicate that people worldwide feel unfulfilled creatively.
Sam Laird for Mashable


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