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boho2112

MacKeeper

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boho2112    0

I've found what seems like a great all in one, Anti-Virus, Anti-Theft, Optimization, clutter cleaner, wise uninstaller, undelete, plus a few others....Has anyone fully bought into this program? I've been using the free trial and I'm out of time but wanted to find out what others have heard or expericenced.

 

Thanks,

 

Dan

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johnfoster    48

here's my take feature by feature:

 

antivirus

it lists things like "unsafe downloads", "email threats" and 8 other "scary events". if you are really concerned about these things the best practice is to make a new Admin user on your Mac then turn off Admin privileges for your day to day user. then NOTHING can run or install without your explicit permission.

 

Anti-Theft

maybe if you are a running a MacBook and carrying it around. the problem here is not so much about losing your Mac but keeping your data. practice good "back up" and you will care less about recovering what is taken from you.

 

Data Encryptor

a better way to deal with data that you need protected is to put it somewhere safe. that's right, put it in a safe.

 

Backup

Time Machine is a good start. but you aren't backed up unless you can get back to work right away. so cloning is a good idea. use Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. to do that. and you should have an offsite plan working as well. I like BackBlaze.

 

UnDelete

you mean you aren't running Time Machine yet? get a external hard drive and start today. you will never accidentally lose a file ever.

 

Shredder

use "secure empty trash" in the Finder menu.

 

Disk Usage / Duplicate Files

this can be a real problem. and this tool may the the tool for that. that said, the Finder can do some of this job. for example finding files that are over 500 meg is Command F then choose Size, Greater Than and 500 in the pop ups. duplicate files are most commonly an iTunes problem. and that's a different problem.

 

Fast Clean Up

I found long ago that the best way to eek out space on a hard drive is to get a bigger hard drive. use the $38 towards that and you're half way to larger.

 

Update Tracker

Hmmm... most of the apps that I use update themselves just fine. I just wish they would be less aggressive about it. fortunately you can uncheck automatic updates.

 

Log in Items

last time I checked you can disable start up apps in the User system preference. or you can drag the app or it's alias from the Startup Items folder in the System/Library or ~/Library

 

Default Apps

yeah, this is annoying. but you can fix this using the Finder. click the file you want to open and then press Command I. half way down the window that displays is a menu called Open with: and a pop-up menu underneath it. from there you can choose any app that thinks it can open that file type. click the Change All… button so that every .whatever extension will open that specific app.

 

pretty much every single function of this tool can be done using what you already have.

 

the single exception is the duplicate file find feature. and that problem is usually compounded by iTunes and the Download folder. here's how I work with that problem. after I download music and import it into iTunes I usually forget to delete the music from the Download folder. eventually I'll get feed up with the gigantic mess that it becomes and clean it up. so I'll move all the music, movies, pdfs to other folders in then copy the lot to my 10T server. after that I delete them and then I know I have that stuff in a place I can more affectively use it.

 

the other tool that needs more commentary is Fast Clean Up. there are two free tools that come to mind Onyx and Tinkertool. both let you delete language files, dump caches, clean logs, and literally hundreds other functions. both tools have active development and you can see the change logs (if you care about this kind of thing). I don't think you could cause damage to your Mac by using both tools but it may be a better idea to pick one or the other just for the sake of consistency. keep in mind that lots of the options found in either tool can be invoked from the Command Line as well. it's just easier to use a GUI.

 

I'm not dead set against MacKeeper. if it does just 1 thing that you find useful for you then it's money well spent. better spent if there 2 things useful. it's not something that I would run myself because I'm happy with other utilities.

Edited by johnfoster

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Dolphbucs    2

Over on the Apple support forums I discussed MacKeeper with someone and they said that one of the "cool" anti-theft features was that if the laptop is stolen, you call MacKeeper and they activate the camera remotely to take pictures of the thief. Let's examine that.

 

Let's say the the thief steals your laptop. Now, if your laptop is secured properly, you no doubt have all your user accts password protected. It would seem to me that this software needs to be running in the background of a user acct to use this functionality. Far as I know, there is no Mac software out there outside the OS that will auto launch on ANY user acct ... even a new one. So, if the thief wipes the HD and re-installs, MacKeeper is defeated. If the thief is able to somehow create a new user acct on the system MacKeeper won't launch. So in ths scenario MacKeeper's video anti-theft is useless.

 

But here's the scary part. Let's say that you have MacKeeper installed and you don't have your user acct password protected. Great, thief opens laptop, logs in and MacKeeper starts the video rolling ( or taking pictures, whatever ). But like I said before, this functionality, by it's nature, requires MacKeeper to be always running in the background. So, it launches whenever you log in. OK so you are telling me you have a program installed on your laptop that can access your laptop camera at any time you are logged in. How do you know the owners of MacKeeper ONLY access that camera when you call the phone # ? Ever leave your laptop running in your bedroom ? Creepy Huh?

 

Basically, you couldn't pay me to use that software.

Edited by Dolphbucs

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johnfoster    48

there is no way to control the LED on the iSight. if the power is on and the camera is in use the LED is lit up. there is no code to blink it, make it into a flash light or make the LED do anything without the camera.

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Dolphbucs    2

But there have been MANY times I have left my iSight on for days and not noticed the LED. Giving someone else access to my cam still creeps me out. As a matter of fact, wasn't there a recent news story where some school gave out laptops and got in trouble because they were monitoring kids at home through the built in webcams ? I don't know if they were Macs but don't most laptop cams have an LED indicator ? I just don't think many would notice "the little green light".

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johnfoster    48

TL;DR expect your stuff to go away anytime and be ready for that day with diligent backups.

 

> Giving someone else access to my cam still creeps me out.

so don't run "find my stolen stuff" software.

 

here's the editorial on this thought. you're just being played by FUD. and the "mind my mac from theft" makes your careless. maybe because the feature is there. or maybe because you've never had things stolen from you. but you don't leave your tech in the car (at least not in San Francisco) in plain sight. a window isn't a deterrent, ever. and you never put tech in the trunk because that latch is just as easy to pop. because you never know who is watching as you aren't looking for watchers. you get careless with your device because it's personal. it sits in front of you at the bar because social media is just as fun as IRL social. but the bar is busy, you get engaged in chatting with the blonde… eventually you notice that your phone is gone. you panic but you aren't bugged because "find my iPhone" is something you know you have. but, ah humph, did you set it up so it could be found? didn't think so.

 

imagine for a moment that you never back up your computers, you never bother to sync your camera to iPhoto, and the iPhone that you've had for a year capturing phone numbers and movies of your first child and all that but you couldn't be bothered to hook the iPhone to your Mac because every time it did that it said, "update?" and sat there waiting for a decision on that deferring a sync until you decided. then one day your stuff is stolen. and you have no backup.

and so begins the desperation to "do something." and you do. you plead to the community for help. you post "have you seen me?" every where. eventually that sinking feeling that you'll never get it back comes to fruition. now that ideal of creep'd out by my camera doesn't seem so creepy. and you swear "never again" the same way you did after that night of cheap tequila that you will make a back up, you will take the time to sync, and you will upload the pictures, movies and contacts to google, flickr and the cloud even though the TOS and EULA aren't in agreement with your hippie conscience. but praying to the TRON god isn't bringing back your phone or your camera or your Mac. it's gone gone.

at this point I've read four maybe five accounts of a iPhone or a Mac being returned to an owner because "dude where's my thing" was successful in tracking the perp. and given the shear number of thefts (or just that it got lost because that happens too) there are 100 million of these devices in the field you'd think there would be more success stories. but thieves aren't dumb. if you are in the business of stealing things like phones or laptops you've got a pretty good idea of how to not get caught. and this isn't hard… and you don't even have to be smart about it you just have to follow a check list.

 

Phone checklist:

  • moderator: this list was deleted. nice list though. eye opening stuff.

MacBook checklist:

  • don't power on. not until…
  • replace the hard drive.
  • reinstall Mac OS.

which is why you aren't getting anything back. so don't waste your money on bread crumb makers. how about running your own check list so you don't ever have to go into "I'll do anything" mode if your digital lifestyle gets horked:

  • sync every day. or at least once a week.
  • run Time Machine. a hard drive to support that is less than $100. don't say that's expensive.
  • if you have external hard drives be sure Time Machine know about them too.
  • use BackBlaze or one of the other offline backup tools. unlimited is around $60 a year.
  • sync you digital camera with iPhoto after each event. upload the pictures somewhere. [100 options goes here].
  • it turns out digital photo frames are pretty cool. you'll get to see you photos AND they are stored there. back up of a back up back up.
  • teach other people around you how to sync, update and backup.

Edited by johnfoster

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Dolphbucs    2

> Giving someone else access to my cam still creeps me out.

so don't run "find my stolen stuff" software.

 

I don't. Just posting this to warn others of posible risks. The OP did ask what we'd heard.

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Graham    1

" Far as I know, there is no Mac software out there outside the OS that will auto launch on ANY user acct"

FYI, this is easily achievable with Launchd - the software will run as root, even at the login screen. This is how the majority of the services on OS X server start.

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Dolphbucs    2

So, Graham, does that mean that such software could access the built in iSight cam remotely from the login screen ? Wouldn't the machine need to be connected to the internet to acheive this ? Can software runing at root at the login screen access the internet ? Or do you simply mean that the software can be installed as a "service" and be laying in wait so that once any user acct is launched ( even a new one ) said software will be good to go ( without actively enabling it to "launch at startup ) ?<BR><BR>That would make it even somewhat more "creepy" to me. Seems to me the only way to prevent the software from accessing your cam would be to uninstall it ... unless there would be some "user based preference pane" which allows one to turn off camera access for any individual acct. Even so, you are still trusting that the software author is honoring that preference.<BR><BR>One thing I noticed about MacKeeper today though .... there are reports of the software being advertised via pop-ups on the Pirate Bay site. I visited the site, left the page open for about 1/2 hr and sure enough ... Not a total condemnation of the product but you would think they would be able to sell it through more mainstream venues than popups on Pirate Bay.

Edited by Dolphbucs

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johnfoster    48

remember, every time the camera is on it's green LED is on. no surprises here. to answer the questions:

yes. if it was configured to do that.

yes. internet is required for posting.

never run as root. but yeah, if it was an application was owned by root and it was opened by launchd it would be running. it would also look like it was supposed to be running if it was named something UNIXy. sometimes you can run stuff before the login screen. 99.99% of things don't do this. but sure, it's possible.

most of these "find my stuff" apps need to phone home once in a while in order to become activated. there are few hundred ways to make that happen without cause for alarm. port 80 for example looks like web traffic.

the best way to disable the camera is to delete the USB driver for it. google for the zact thing to take out of Library or System/Library.

if the author doesn't honor the preference then somebody will rat them out. LittleSnitch rats out developers all the time doing odd things. but normal looking traffic like check for updates, push a bug report or register your software is okay, right. just having the tool phone in at startup like every other tool that phones in at startup.

 

guys, the point of a camera remotely activating is to find a thief not to spy on you. I'm pretty sure that they've had meeting after meeting about privacy. and if you read the website it's pretty assuring that nothing weird is going on. you have to tell it to turn on. be sure to read the TOS that describes what happens when this is activated.

 

the other thing to remember is that it is unpossible to turn the LED off. if the camera is powered on then that LED is powered on. there is no code or API or other seckret to controlling it. even the camera takes a moment to adjust because it's a cheap CCD. meaning the LED would blink if you just did one frame because of the adjust delay.

 

here's a nifty CLI tool that you can mess with to see how short the LED is when it takes a picture called http://iharder.sourceforge.net/current/macosx/imagesnap/imagesnap

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Dolphbucs    2

I'm pretty sure that they've had meeting after meeting about privacy. and if you read the website it's pretty assuring that nothing weird is going on. you have to tell it to turn on. be sure to read the TOS that describes what happens when this is activated.

 

John, with all due respect, unless you happen to know one or some of the authors of MacKeeper personally and can vouch for them ( which would do much to aleviate my fears about the product ) I have to say you appear to be overly trusting in this case. I would maintain that if you examine bad or even malicious software out there, you will find that the vast majority have websites that assure you it is safe and secure and will not harm your system in any way. In marketing they're called selling points and EVERY product makes those claims .. or it wouldn't sell. Just because a company puts something in its T.O.S. doesn't mean they are legit. Sorry, but without personal knowledge from someone I trust ( like you John ) there are just too many red flags on this product for my tastes. In addition to the fact they are selling their product through pop-ups on sites like Pirate Bay, if you go to the Zeobit website you will see that they claim to be " an American company with Headquarters in Silicon Valley, regional office in Ukraine and a number of local partners around the world ". Yet on their About Us page, all the listed employees have Ukrainian names. Sounds to me more like a Ukranian Company with a regional office in Silicon Valey ( which, by the way, is just an office in in a place called the "PlugandPlayTechCenter" ). I guess you could argue that anyone really bad would, to quote JRR Tolkien " Look fairer and feel fouler " but there's just enough questions left in my mind about them to not feel safe installing their software on my system ESPECIALLY if it uses something like launchd to allow it to run on any acct on the system. Yes, I understand that to do what they claim it would have to operate like that, but that does not make it seem any better to me. As Lt Parrot would say "That's as maybe, it's still a frog "

 

At the very least, if they are legit, they need better leadership to guide them to present themselves in a better light.

 

The other thing to remember is that it is unpossible to turn the LED off. if the camera is powered on then that LED is powered on. there is no code or API or other seckret to controlling it. even the camera takes a moment to adjust because it's a cheap CCD. meaning the LED would blink if you just did one frame because of the adjust delay.

 

Like I brought up before, how many people do you think actually ever notice that light ? I think I'm pretty observant and even I , as I said earlier, have caught myself leaving something like photobooth running and haven't noticed the light for days ... yes even in the dark ... when you have lots of electronics around, you tend to ignore all those little lights in the dark. And besides, saying that they can't turn the light off does not prove that they wouldn't have if they could. In short, the fact that the light would be on anytime the camera is in use doesn't make me feel any better about the possibility of some outside source using the camera.

 

I appreciate what you are trying to point out John ... that perhaps I am being just a bit too paranoid on this, but maybe a computer security mindset does need a touch of paranoia to work. I wonder how many less people would have been caught by the MacDefender trojan if they had been just a tad more paranoid. I know I didn't fall for it, even after encountering it about ten times in the wild. In fact, I was one of, if not the first, on the Apple Community forums to identify the main vulnerability everyone had to it ... NOT turning off the "open safe files after download" option in Safari. One of the first things I ever noticed in Safari when I first switched to a Mac was that option being checked "on" by default. Perhaps the little bit of paranoia that caused me to uncheck that option then, and on every Mac I have set up since, served me well.

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Dolphbucs    2

Sorry about the double post but I just caught this extra thing and didn't want to do an edit on the last post

 

the best way to disable the camera is to delete the USB driver for it.

 

So, I buy a piece of software, and then, to remove a functionality of the product I don't like, I disable the camera for everything ?????

 

Seems easier/better just to avoid the software.

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johnfoster    48

I don't know these guys. but I have developed software where privacy is an issue. you have to go into it with eyes wide open because the legal ramifications are huge. especially if a product is aimed at children. [stories that I'm not going to type go here]

 

sigh. thinking like a product manager for a moment.

 

if it was my product my first inclination is that "find my thing" tools could be considered illegal in some states falling under stalking laws or anti hacking laws. keyloggers, screen capturing and URL logs phoned home to a remote server could be construed as "unauthorized access" often coming with severe punishment if found guilty. remember that "criminals" in the US are not guilty until proven otherwise. they have the same rights that you and I have even after they have been charged with the crime.

 

without extensively searching I'm not finding a case of reverse circumstances. that is, where the crime is reserved back to the computers owner even though it was stolen from them. it would be interesting to see how that plays out in court. yes, there is the case against the school that spied on a whole district of kids. but that's kids not criminals. and it a generates a giant "WTF were they thinking" from me. and that's an entirely different scenario.

 

I can imagine a far worse case where an unknowing person buys the stolen Mac through what seems like a legitimate sale (craigslist vert) and even though it was "de-accounted" it still had MacKeeper running. the person who's Mac it was turns this on, starts making a case then spills it to the cops. the 3rd party now without a Mac, her cash and dead ends to the person who sold it to her finds out how it was found sues both the original owner and the MacKeeper developer for emotional distress for stalking, invasion of privacy, and illegal hacking. very plausible and could happen. scary stuff.

 

digging a little more has found some interesting things. LoJack is allowed in just 29 states in the US. meaning 21 are likely to disallow something like "find my thing" software because it's similar. New Hampshire had a bill on the books that spelled out electronic tracking and how it could be used. this was in 2007 and continued to be listed in some form until 2010. (note: searching on that bill number doesn't reveal if it passed or not.)

358-S:5 Electronic Tracking Prohibited. No person may use any

electronic means of tracking another person without a valid court

order or other legal authorization or the consent of person being

tracked. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty

of a violation. This section shall not be construed to apply to

locating technology used by the enhanced 911 system or to commercial

mobile radio service pursuant to 47 U.S.C. section 332.

law enforcement isn't keen on dealing with people's stolen stuff. for example in San Francisco petty theft is dealt with by a web form you fill out that creates a case number and a PDF. there's a stat around that 78% of cars reported stolen (again in SF) have in fact been towed because of excessive tickets, parking that is not allowed during a certain time or very expired tags. so unless you live in a place were the cops have very little to do because nothing is happening good luck getting their attention in getting your Mac back.

 

I found the EULA finally. it's not presented at the time of installation (weird). nor does it specifically cover the "find my thing" (more on this in a bit). it does have a clause saying you must be 13 or older to use the software otherwise the license is void (odd). it's goes into lots of detail about what a refund is, how to request one and what complaints against the software won't get your money refunded. hint: "it sucks" get's you zip. search for MacKeeper EULA if you want to read it.

 

the part we care about is under B3 which has this line:

 

After the Anti-Theft service is activated, information about your computer's location will be available at your account page (http://account zeobit com/) and will be updated every hour.

 

if you read the other posts that I wrote you will find that I am not glowingly recommending this product and I have never said, "don't buy it."

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