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Mac & iOS WireLurker Malware

For the most part, Mac users have not had to deal with a whole lot of virus and malware issues. However, there are folks out there with nothing better to do but find ways to mess up other people’s lives and add to their stress level. It boggles my mind.

The latest concern, the WireLurker Malware, is documented here. Please read the info in the link and come back to this page if you would like my assesement.

Is the concern re: the WireLurker Malware overblown? Yes & No. Yes, because there are some pretty basic things one can do to avoid and/or minimize the threat, and No, because it’s easy for many folks to miss the details and walk right into the trap, after which they will be in a world of tech ‘hurt’. Nobody needs that. So, here’s my take on this, much of which reiterates the recommendations in the linked article.

ONLY download apps to your Mac from the Apple App Store or from reputable and trusted 3rd party sites. Do NOT download apps from anywhere else. Period! That, in and of itself, should keep malware and viruses off your computer. Apple has taken a lot of heat over the years for maintaining such tight control over what gets installed on their products and this is a prime example of the wisdom behind such a closed environment. I’m the first one to agree there are many useless apps on the Apple Store, but there are also more than enough good or great apps available for all the things we need to do.  Add to that the reputable, trusted sites and there is a plethora of awesome solutions. Not that there isn’t room for improvement, because there is, but to go to a untrusted site that is flogging apps that have not been cleared by Apple or are outside the box of trusted sites is just opening a gateway for very nasty stuff.

Now here’s the next part to this. If your Mac does get infected, it seems it doesn’t actually affect your Mac itself because WireLurker is really just waiting for the opportunity to infect your iPhone or iPad. That’s it’s goal. And, the way the malware gets from your Mac to your iOS device is via USB. So, the other precaution is to NOT transfer data via the USB port. Yes, there may be times you need to transfer large video files to your computer from your iOS device or a particular iOS app does not support cloud storage (proprietary cloud, iCloud, Dropbox etc…) but, for the most part we are pretty much at the point where you don’t need to hardwire your iOS device to your computer.

With iOS8 and Yosemite we now have iCloud Drive which supports all files, including video files, so that should take care of the data in Apple Apps and most other App Store apps (and trusted apps) work with some kind of cloud service. In fact, I typically stay away from apps that don’t support iCloud, Dropbox or some other cloud service.

If, for some reason, the cloud solution is not available there is one more way to get data to your computer from your iPhone or iPad without a USB cable. The downside to this solution is that if you have not already set up your iPhone or iPad to sync wirelessly over WiFi to iTunes then you will have to risk connecting via USB long enough to toggle that preference on. The preference is in iTunes under Options. Once you have toggled this preference on for your iOS devices they will show up just as if they were connected via USB if you have the device plugged into a power source. So, if you have to do this, toggle the pref on and unplug from the computer asap.

Well, that’s about all there is at this point until a remedy is found to rid your computer of the malware and/or prevent it from getting on your computer in the first place. AntiVirus apps can certainly help but often times when a virus or malware first hits the scene the AntiVirus apps need to catch up, so still, it makes sense to follow all of the recommendations re: avoiding untrusted 3rd party app stores. An example of trusted 3rd party sites are apps like Evernote, Things, Panic, Rouge Amoeba, NCH software etc… It’s not difficult to figure out which ones are safe. Ironically, many of these apps are also available at the Apple App Store but because of restrictions related to sandboxing (google it) some companies give you the choice of downloading from the Apple App Store or as a direct download.

The thought occurred to me that Samsung may have created WireLurker to cause Apple and the users of their products grief. In a world driven by way too much greed, one never knows. :-)

Safe computing to you all. Be well. – Neil

PS

Normally I use my website for news and products related to my music. However, being as this newsfeed is essentially my WordPress blog, I figure it’s time to change things up a bit. Aside from love of music, I’ve always had a passion for technology, and over the years I’ve worked in various roles in that industry, including as a self-employed Mac computer tech. Although my busy gigging schedule prevents me from doing as much tech work as I use to, I still spend considerable time helping folks close to me and am always researching and keeping as educated as possible regarding technology and more specifically Mac related technology.

Project Maui

I’m back from Maui after a short holiday with my wife Julia and daughter Amy. I can’t say enough about the beauty and vibe of that wonderful place. Julia and I were there last year as well and I would love to just pack up and move there – NOW. In fact, Project Maui is currently underway.

I’ve been researching the non-traditional music culture and although it has proven very elusive, I have a few emails ‘out there’ in an effort to connect with folks who may be able to point me in the right direction. As a means to and end, I would be willing to play some gigs in the restaurant/lounge circuit, but that’s not my ultimate goal. I would like to be involved in the singer/songwriter, rockin’/blues/folk circuit. I am kicking around some show concepts that could help with my quest.

I know it’s a long shot and there are many hoops one needs to jump through, but at this point of my life I am ready for a change, so we’ll see where this takes me.

In the meantime, I am very grateful for all the work and support I have in White Rock & Vancouver area. For now, it’s life as usual, although I am determined to change a few things up for my local shows as well. It always seems there is not quite enough time to get around to all the goals I have set for myself, so I think I need to look at my time management. :-)

Spring seems to be on it’s way, which is awesome, as I’ve had enough drizzle for awhile. Looking forward to another hot summer.

For my ‘gig list’ please visit - http://www.neilharnett.com/html/gigs.html

Wishing you all Peace & Health.

Neil

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Happy New Year – Welcome to 2014

Well, we made it. Another year has gone by and here we are in 2014. It’s crazy how time just seems to fly by and my list of to-dos doesn’t seem to get any shorter. In fact, it just seems to get longer. It’s all good though. I’ve become pretty diligent at working my Eckhart Tolle program of present moment living and acceptance, so the stress caused by modern day life has been greatly reduced, especially in comparison to the way it use to be for me. Thank you Eckhart.

I would like to thank all those who have supported me and my music over the years, including my wonderful family. The music industry is very complex and challenging and without fans, an artist would simply be playing for themselves, and although that can be satisfying at times, the real joy of music is in the sharing. Of course, with today’s new music industry paradigm, even sharing music has become super complex and yet, regardless of that, it sill comes down to fans who support the artists and their music. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you as well to the venues who support live music. Without you, being able to make even a modest living, playing live, would be near impossible. There are far too many to list here but I will at least mention the rooms I play on a regular basis, to whom I owe much gratitude for their continued bookings.

Thank you: Washington Avenue Grill, The Vault, Bistro 72, Cardero’s, West Beach Bar & Grill and the Ox & Barrel. Thank you as well to the many senior’s homes, where I get to bring music to those who can’t otherwise get out to hear some tunes. I need to also mention Evergreen Cottages, which is a room I play for those with Acquired Brain Injuries. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years. 

I am hoping to do more self-produced shows this year and look at getting into a few new rooms. One venue that comes to mind, where many of my friends are playing, is the Fan Club in Vancouver, so, with any luck, perhaps I can play some tunes there in 2014.

Music aside, life can throw many curves, not the least of which is seeing dear friends and family move on, which is never easy. I know many of us have had to deal with such losses in 2013, and as time goes on, there will be more. So, we must enjoy life, while we have it, and be kind to one another and put judgement and intolerance aside and do our best to manifest love into this world. I have no idea what life is all about and have come to realize there is no point in driving myself crazy trying to figure it out, as knowing is not ultimately important. Having said that, there are still times when I feel tortured and get a little crazy, but as long as I can keep reasonably balanced, it’s all good. 

Here’s to some new music in 2014. I just need to find some time to finish up the plethora of ideas I have started over the last couple of years. You can find my list of gigs here. See you around. :-)

I wish you all peace, joy & health. Be safe.

- Neil

 

FREE MUSIC

Greetings,

I have just uploaded a number of tunes that are FREE to you and your friends. If you like them please feel free to share them. Most of the songs are old demos and masters that were never released. I was overwhelmed when I came across them by accident recently and saddened by what a shame it was they never got to see the day of light. Rather than repeating the story you can find it on the Free Music page.

I will be adding more tracks in the next week or two. The Free Music page will not be limited to old recordings as I do plan to give away some newer tunes as well, or at least versions of them. Music is meant to be heard and experienced so it thrills me to do this and I look forward to incorporating some of these tunes into my live show.

These are not the easiest of times so if you are so inclined it would be a lot of help to me if you ‘liked’ my Facebook fan page and if you are interested in some of my official releases you can get info on my Music Page. If you are already a fan it would be so cool if you turned someone else onto my music and more importantly Thank You so much for being a fan.

Wishing you all peace & health.

Neil

Spirit of the Sea Festival etc…

Greetings,

Wow! What an awesome summer! Sure lovin’ the sun. Speaking of sun, it looks like the Spirit of the Sea weekend will have good weather. Yay!

I’m playing 3:00pm, Sunday, Aug 4, on the Bear Stage, which is on the beach in front of the Sandpiper Pub. Shawn Soucy will be on drums and Owen, Owen, Owen on bass. I hope you can make it down to support the event. It will be a fun time.

They are still short money to cover the costs so if you are so inclined you can donate here http://spiritofthesea.ca/event-schedule/entertainers/
plus there is more info re: performance lineup.

Tomorrow night (Fri, Aug 2) I’m playing solo at the Vault in Cloverdale. I start at 7:15. http://vaultrestaurant.com

I am still playing my house gig at Cardero’s every Tues & Wed plus I’ve been getting some extra nights filling in for the other performers. It’s a great gig and an awesome venue. I won’t be there Wed, Aug 28 but the lovely and talented Vicky Sjohall will be covering for me. http://www.vickysjohall.com

I’ll l be playing a couple of Fridays at Cardero’s this month as well. Aug 9 and Aug 16. I start at 8:30. http://www.vancouverdine.com/carderos

Me and the trio (Shawn Soucy & Lee Oliphant) will be at the WAG for one night, Sat, Aug 10. 8:30-11:30. We always love playing the Washington Avenue Grill. Awesome everything. http://www.washingtonavenuegrill.com

I’m looking at doing a couple of full on shows soon so please keep a lookout for that. I’ll likely wait until the summer is over although I’ve been thinking of a Roaming Soul Club Lite which would be a little more laid back and less cover charge. I’ll keep you updated.

Still working on getting ready to shoot some video for a little production concept which is way overdue but life is just like that, ain’t it? We’ll get there soon and will let you know when I get the first video posted.

Wishing you all Peace, Health & Happiness.

Neil

Super Fun Night – Thank You

Wow!! I sure did have fun last night at Cardero’s with my friends Steve Gidora & Nicole Scoffield. Steve played mandolin and Nicole played violin. They were awesome. Thanks guys, Let’s do it again sometime soon.

It was a very creative musical evening and we had a wonderful group of music fans who shared their energy with us. And, the staff at Cardero’s are so awesome to work with. This is why I play music.

One of the projects that Steve and Nicole are both involved in is the band The Wheat in the Barley. Check them out. They’re a lot of fun. 

Now This is More Like it

Sure do love this sunshine. I hope it keeps up through our upcoming holidays. 

I’m playing this Sat, July 6 at the WAG (Washington Avenue Grill) with Lee Oliphant on bass and Lou Hoover on drums. It will be a fun night. 

My weekly Tues/Wed Cardero’s gig is still happening and going well. I also do some extra nights here and there filling in for the other awesome performers who play there. Check out my gig page for more info.

I won’t be playing Cardero’s on Wed, Aug 28 because I will be attending a celebration dinner for my good friend Lewis Nitikman who will be visiting from Britain. Lewis recently got married in England so those of us who couldn’t make the trip will be able to give Lewis and his gorgeous wife Suzanne our best wishes, in person, at the dinner party. Lewis is a super talented songwriter, producer & keyboard player who I have had the pleasure of working with many times in my life. 

The lovely and talented Vicky Sjohall will be covering for me on Wed, Aug 28. Vicky also performs most Friday’s at Cardero’s.

I am slowly (and I mean slowly) getting things together for the YouTube videos I will be recording soon. I keep getting sidetracked with the rest of life much of which is dealing with Worksafe. I don’t think in all my years that I have had to deal with any organization more frustrating and I know there are many of you who have had the same experience. Boggles the mind and hurts one’s heart and soul.

Well, I better run and get on with my day. Wishing you all peace and happiness.

Neil

 

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