How to block ads and malware on iOS

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This is the web without content blockers.
This is the web without content blockers.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Way back in iOS 9 days, Apple added “content blocking” to the iPhone and iPad. More commonly known as “ad-blockers,” this tech lets you use third-party apps to block ads, malware, trackers, comments, and more, in Mobile Safari. Apple itself doesn’t do any more than make blocking possible. To actual decide what to block, you need a third-party app.

Enabling ad-blocking is easy, once you know how, and you can set-and-forget it once done. Or you can keep on top of things, adding custom rules, and white-listing trusted websites. Here’s how.

Hacked iPhones star in Middle East cyberwar

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UAE iPhone hacks
The hack took advantage of a flaw in iMessage.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Intelligence operatives from the United Arab Emirates used a powerful cyber weapon that allowed them to monitor the iPhones of hundreds of targets.

The iPhone spy tool, dubbed Karma, gave the UAE remote access to phone numbers, photos, emails and text messages in 2016 and 2017.

An iOS security update rendered it “far less effective,” according to U.S. intelligence contractors who worked with the UAE to breach the iPhones of diplomats, activists, and rival foreign leaders.

Beware: Shortcuts could steal your data

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
Siri Shortcuts could be doing more than you think, like invading your privacy.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Malicious Siri Shortcuts are a real possibility warns one developer, so users need to start treating all of them as potential threats. He calls on Apple to fix their problems.

Shortcuts debuted last fall in iOS 12. They are small apps that can be used to automate iOS features. That apparently makes them well suited for creating malware.

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App Store
More than a dozen iOS apps offer up vulnerabilities to hackers.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Here’s how hackers can install malware on your Mac through Safari

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Lucky 58. The latest Safari Technology Preview adds tab favicons!
Apple can’t protect you from everything.
Photo: Apple

You might consider Safari to be the safest web browser for macOS, but one security researcher has proven it’s not completely bulletproof.

Patrick Wardle has demonstrated how hackers can remotely infect a Mac with malicious software using a Safari vulnerability. Apple’s built-in protections can do nothing to stop it.

Apple users immune to Fortnite hack malware

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Fortnite mobile controller
It's about time.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Fortnite’s staggering rise in popularity has inevitably attracted a large number of cheaters who use third-party hacks to gain an in-game advantage.

The hacks they’re using help them aim faster, fire their weapons quicker, and even slow down enemy players. They’re also spreading malware all over the web.

It’s thought tens of thousands of Fortnite players have been affected, but you have nothing to worry about if you play on Mac or iOS.

Chrome adds Windows Defender to protect your Mac

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Windows Defender Google Chrome
Windows Defender is now available inside Google Chrome.
Photo: Microsoft

Windows Defender, which protects Windows 10 PCs from malware, can now keep your Mac safe from inside Google Chrome.

Microsoft has turned its antivirus app into a Chrome extension that promises to detect phishing links in your emails and dodgy sites that distribute malicious software. It’s 99 percent effective, according to Microsoft, which makes Windows Defender better than rival browser protections.

Intel speeds up chips by offloading virus scans

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Intel-Kaby-Lake
Intel will task GPUs with antivirus scanning.
Photo: Intel

Intel plans to offload virus scanning to improve the performance of its processors.

It will allow antivirus programs to use its integrated graphics chipsets when scanning for attacks, which will reduce processor and power consumption on some machines. It could mean that you’ll get more use out of your MacBook in between charges.

Man used Mac malware to make child porn, feds say

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FaceTime
Your FaceTime camera could be spying on you.
Photo: Travis Isaacs/Flickr

Mac malware was the secret key behind an Ohio man’s 13-year spree of creating child pornography, according to inditement filed by the US Department of Justice.

By using the Mac malware known as Fruitfly, 28-year-old Phillip Durachinsky allegedly produced child pornography after tapping into his victim’s webcams and other personal information completely without them knowing.

Stealthy OSX/MaMi malware discovered targeting Macs

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macOS High Sierra
Your antivirus won't save you from OSX/MaMi.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The first nasty bit of undetectable malware of 2018 has been unearthed after it was found targeting Macs this week.

Security researchers revealed info about the new OSX/MaMi malware which is a lot like the popular DNSChanger malware from 2012 that infected millions of machines.