What was I thinking?

Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Messages
1,136
Location
Pennsylvania
Even though I know better, I unthinkingly clicked on a link in a questionable email that I thought was from someone I knew and it took me to a website in a foreign language. I immediately realized my mistake and searched for what to do. The general advice was threefold: immediately disconnect from the internet, do a virus scan and change passwords. I turned off WiFi and ran an anti-malware program followed by a full scan of an anti-virus program. Neither program found anything. Changing passwords would be problematic as there are so many but they are kept externally on an encrypted USB drive.

The email in question was from a month ago - I just saw it as I usually don't log into the email provider's website but rather use Apple Mail - so maybe if there was a known issue at the time the programs would have had a chance to update against them by now. I'm guessing that my acquaintance's computer may have been hacked and his contact list stolen.

So now I'm concerned because although I didn't enter any information on the website I was taken to, I've read that just going to a site could lead to problems. I think one thing I will do is finally update to Big Sur from Catalina. Maybe if there's some malicious code installed it will be removed with the update?

Any advice would be welcome.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
7,149
Location
Sandpoint, Idaho
Barry, I wouldn't worry too much about it, you ran your scans and didn't detect anything. Upgrade if you want, I recently upgraded one of my Macs to Big Sur and it went fine. Next time it rains I'll spend a day and do another one. Make sure you have a full backup before starting the update.
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
2,519
Location
GA
While there is a chance of harm when just visiting a site, the chance is quite slim especially on macOS. It's rare that something can get installed or infected on your machine that quickly...there is usually some sort of interaction you need to take for the infection to take place.

I'd try to go in and find any/all cookies associated with that domain or just simply delete them all and go from there. You could also delete that browser and re-install it if you're feeling extra filthy. But I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you're seeing some weird behavior.

You could also consider installing something like Ghostery and watch where network calls are going while browsing known trusted sites and see if anything stands out but that may be a little more tin foil hat, even for someone like me.
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Messages
1,136
Location
Pennsylvania
I did clear website data but didn't delete the browser (Safari). Interestingly, when I went to System Preferences for the Big Sur update it showed others available, one of which was for Safari. It wasn't clear that there was more than one update available (as only the number 1 was displayed). Anyhow, I did that update and backed up the computer.

As I wasn't totally confident in the current system, I didn't want to overwrite my most recent backup so I had to first spend a little time figuring out how to partition the external backup drive so I could keep that one as well as the one I did today. Now I'm downloading Big Sur.

Thanks all for the advice. And aren't computers supposed to make our lives easier?
 
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