I bought a new Mac, now what do I do with my photos?

Congratulations on your new MacBook Pro or Air! And then you realize that you may not have any room to migrate your photos and movies. Many of us were pleasantly surprised that newer Macs use a very fast solid state drive (SSD) to store data, but not pleased to discover that the built-in storage is too small! Especially if you moved from a Mac with a 1 terabyte drive. SSDs are more expensive than traditional hard drives, and that's why they come in smaller sizes on Apple's base model Macs. And while its removable on some Macs, it is not on others and your configuration can't be changed. 

Storing photos on iCloud through PhotoStream is one option, but sometimes if you have a particularly large photo collections, you should invest in a fas,t high-quality external hard drive and move your Photos library (and iTunes and Movies while you're at it!) to the external drive. TechPort carries drives made by Transcend and G-Tech, which are two of the most reliable external drives available according to testing by leading data recovery experts. Moving your photos to an external drive may require the help of a professional (fortunately you may know a few at TechPort) who can remove the hard drive from your old Mac and manually move the library. Once your external drive is ready, open Photos and hold the option key until you can select the external drive library as your default library. 

It's not hard to set up. Just don't forget the USB-C adapter that you'll need for your new Mac, unless you've thought ahead and purchased an external drive with a  USB-C cable. 

That call is NOT coming from Apple!

Has this ever happened to you? Or will it happen to you?

It's late on a weeknight and your landline rings. Maybe it's a vaguely familiar local number on your Caller ID. It could be a friend, a relative, or maybe it's that call to tell you that you've just inherited an oceanfront estate from a distant octogenarian relative. You answer to find a friendly voice explaining that they are calling from Apple and as part of their fantastic service, they are alerting you to a terrible virus that may have infected your Mac. Okay. Stop right there and hang up the phone. We all need to remember--Apple or Microsoft, or Adobe, or any other software or hardware company, will never call. Let's face it, they don't want to talk to you unless, for instance, YOU call Apple Support for troubleshooting. Legitimate companies usually have extensive customer service numbers and while they may call you back if you've set up a callback through their websites, they will never call you cold just to check-in!

This scam has been around for years and many Microsoft users have been taken advantage of and are on to the scams, but the new target is Mac users. As soon as you allow remote access to your Mac or PC, you are putting your personal data files at risk. Occasionally, the scammers even infect your computer once they have gained access--"Hey! Look at all this horrible stuff we found. That will be $700 for our Level 4 security experts to remove." Or worse, they may copy files with financial data, or search for social security numbers. In rare cases, they leave behind key-logging software or spyware. But bad things can't get on your Mac or PC unless you're tricked into unlocking the door by bad folks.

If you get a call advising you that you have dangerous viruses, hang up and head over to a computer repair shop that can perform a virus scan for you. The best repair shops charge reasonable prices when they find something to remove. And if nothing is there, many don't charge anything. Either way, it's a lot less pain than if a scammer gets ahold of your personal data. 

Safari Security Updates

If you roll your eyes every time your Mac stalls for a moment for a new security update, don't ignore the Safari update released this week. Safari version 11.1.1 is an update that does require a restart, but it contains many stealthy security features that will protect your browser from being hijacked by trackers. One of them, called Intelligent Tracking Prevention, is designed to keep your browsing private. That's one way to avoid targeted advertising. 

Also, another new feature called Sandboxing, prevents malicious code from taking over the whole browser by automatically opening anything questionable in a separate tab that can be easily closed. No more fake red alerts with siren sound effects from malicious websites.

That's browsing you can feel safe with!

FBI PSA on Router Security

The FBI's Public Service Announcement on router security, posted May 25th, should be taken seriously. Particular attention should be paid to the last paragraph, under the heading "DEFENSE." In addition to restarting your router to address the threat outlined in this PSA, you should keep your router's firmware up-to-date, use complex passwords, and disable remote management as recommended by the FBI unless you absolutely need this functionality.

Many of us leave a router wide open by not resetting the temporary password that the manufacturer includes to begin your router's set up process. Change that default password to protect your router from being hijacked. In other words, "admin" or "1234" are not secure passwords!

Read the official FBI PSA for more information:

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) | Foreign Cyber Actors Target Home and Office Routers and Networked Devices Worldwide

Your Very Own Time Machine

Want an easy, reliable system to back up the data on your Mac? Use Apple's Time Machine, baked right into macOS. All you need is an external hard drive, which we have available for purchase. Check out Apple's support article on the subject to learn more:

Have questions about Time Machine? Give us a call at 207-956-0586 or stop in to chat.

Data Recovery Gets Gritty

One of the challenges of successful data recovery is to be able to "see" the drive data on our recovery equipment. That can only happen with a direct SATA connection to the drive so data recovery equipment can "talk" to the drive through the SATA connection on the board. (SATA is what the standard type of connector is called on both desktop and laptop hard drives. It has a separate power connector and a data connector.)

What happens if that drive is one of the newer USB 3 external hard drives? These drives do not have a SATA connector, but a USB 3 connector--you know, one of those weird looking connectors with the crimp midway across the bottom part. Well, this is a challenge because USB connectors rely on circuitry that doesn't allow data recovery equipment to effectively "talk" to the drives. The only way to recover the data on a drive that does not have specific hardware damage--i.e. clicking, is to solder SATA connectors to specific points on the drive circuit board.

Challenging, no doubt about it, and something that makes data recovery from these convenient and popular drives a bit more complicated. At TechPort, we are working on solutions to these types of data recovery challenges.