Cyber security and the designer

I’m curious to know what methods of security maintenance or general habits everyone does to make sure their computers are safe and functional.

I haven’t updated my OS in a while, and with my current connection speed, downloading El Capitan says 2/3 days!

In the meantime I’m concerned I’ve possibly got some malware or viruses of some kind. For example key repeat suddenly stopped working despite going into System Preferences and making sure everything was fine.

“Unsecure Connection” at DaFont. The other day I clicked on a tab and the whole chrome browser closed.

I’m in the middle of doing some client work but I’m hesitant to continue or send anything their way because of my concerns.

Besides keeping OS updated, are there any ways to check for malware? If there is malware are there ways to successfully clean it up, to the point you can use it again for work? Or is a full system like-new reboot necessary?

Last question: Did any of you take classes or steps to learn what’s safe practice regarding your computer and the design industry? For example, I was working at an internship with a small printing company. The owner said he got a bad virus and all his computers were compromised and he wanted to send me the client files to finish them up. I didn’t want to because I wasn’t sure if what he sent me would be compromised as well, and I don’t how to safeguard my own computer. Same goes for sharing client and fellow designers USBs.


I’m on a Macintosh as well, and haven’t used malware protection software in, probably, 20 years. I remember something going around back in the early '90s that infected my Mac, but since then nothing whatsoever. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but for whatever reason, infections on Macintosh’s are awfully rare.

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As a designer using a computer are certain practices discouraged? For example, I use google image search from time to time to look for photos or backgrounds for non-commercial projects. I find a hires image, open it in a new window and save it. Maybe some of those sites hosting the image are sketchy? I avoid the ones that have non-legit looking urls. But maybe as a designer I shouldn’t even be doing that? Only images from places like shutterstock and the like?

Fonts are software. Are you using ‘free’ fonts you downloaded from DaFont? If so, I would suggest that is one likely culprit. The fonts may not be malicious, just ineptly created.

Professional practice… don’t use ‘free’ fonts or ‘free’ images.

For the key repeat, try a restart. Or, if your keyboard is wireless, turn off your keyboard for at least 30 seconds before turning it back on. Or both. Or try replacing the battery or reseating the USB antenna.

Unsecure connection is DaFont’s fault. Your browser warned you? It could just be a bad certificate.

Chrome, or any browser crashing on clicking a tab is not uncommon. The usual culprit is a bad ad feed or script. If it reopened, I wouldn’t worry about it.

If you really want to check for malware, Malwarebytes is a good free program for Mac. I have it because IT wants me to have access to it, and they use it, but have never found any problems on my machine, and I take client files in from everywhere all day long. We do have an industrial firewall at work we do have an anti-virus installed. I also have MacAfee on my home computer, just because we have a household account. It’s never caught anything.

Oh, and if you spilled anything on your keyboard lately, that could do it too. Sometimes leaving it to dry overnight will fix it. Or not if it was something sticky, or if the short is severe.

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