Today, another computer repair shop came to visit MacMedics. They were trying to fix a MacBook Air and came to see us to try to buy an Apple hard drive service part.
We certainly respect other places trying to help their customers, but these folks are just not equipped to fix Apple gear without the Apple tools, training, and certifications that we have here at MacMedics.
The representative that visited us grabbed the Apple SSD hard drive (just a small memory card the size of a stick of gum) out of their bag, and said while handing it to me with their bare hands (without the necessary static bag protection), “I need one of these”. I promptly suggested that we go ahead and put it in a static bag for them.
They were convinced that was the issue with the computer was in fact a faulty SSD hard drive. I explained that SSD hard drives rarely go bad, and the best way for us to help them would be to have the whole MacBook Air. That way, we could perform a free test on the computer with the SSD hard drive installed back into the unit. They did not bring the MacBook Air with them for today’s visit.
If you have a Macintosh computer, or any other Apple gear like an iPad, iPod, iPhone, Apple Watch, or Apple TV, there’s really no reason not come visit MacMedics first. We’re the only Apple Authorized Premium Service Provider in the Baltimore-DC region. Our Apple diagnostic test of your gear is free and requires no appointment. Plus, all current Apple Macs are repaired with genuine Apple Service parts and ALL paid-for repairs come with the famous 1-Year MacMedics warranty.
Our new retail MacMedics store in Severna Park, Maryland is going great! Thank you for the the amazing support and welcome!
If you have not been by to visit yet, we’re an Apple Authorized Reseller and Premium Service Provider. (The only such place in Anne Arundel county – We service EVERYTHING that Apple makes currently as well as all Apple Vintage products. We are authorized to sell everything but the iPhone & Watch.) We were recently voted “Best of Severna Park” for “Computer Service”.
We’ve just added more staff and expanded and streamlined our Apple Authorized iPhone service.
If your iPhone is under AppleCare+ and you have a screen break or water damage, we can help! We will provide you with a FREE Apple supplied loaner iPhone while your iPhone is being repaired or replaced at Apple Depot. You just pay your AppleCare+ deductible of $79 or $99. As always, MacMedics service is with NO appointments!
If your iPhone is out of warranty and you need an Apple Authorized repair, we’re here for you. $25 rental iPhones are available while yours is being repaired. If you also need us to backup your iPhone (without data recovery) and place your data on a rental iPhone, then return that data to your repaired iPhone that’s $25 as well.
MacMedics is also able to offer iPhone Data Recovery. Just stop by and let us have a look.
If any place (including all 3rd party repair shops and the kiosks in the Mall) repairs your iPhone, then you no longer have an Apple Warranty (if you were under warranty) and you can no longer obtain future service for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod at Apple or at MacMedics.
Also, if you have the Verizon or ATT service plans, their deductible is $199, so you will be better off having MacMedics repair your iPhone screen/LCD break for less than that and in the end you still have a 100% Apple iPhone with 100% real all-Apple parts.
“Just wanted to say thank you to Jeff at MacMedics Severna Park, Maryland for his great customer service. Last year, my daughter’s MacBook needed a new hard drive and he did a great job replacing it and getting it back to her so she could finish a project for school. She was having some minor issues after her classes ended in May so I brought back in to have him look at it. He did a quick check and advised me on our option it’s a 2009 model so it may be time for a new model. Jeff took time to go over new Apple options as well as some used models. It’s customer service like this that keeps me coming back to MacMedics. We bought my son’s computer there and I’ll be back to see Jeff when my daughter needs a new or used one. Thank You Jeff and all the great staff at MacMedics.”
MacMedics is hiring! We’re looking for Apple Wizard/Rock Stars to join our service teams as Apple On-Site Consultants/Engineers
We’re MacMedics, an Apple Authorized “Mac-Only” Macintosh consulting, service, and sales company that provides Mac Service and Solutions the entire Mid-Atlantic region. We’re looking for experienced On-Site Macintosh Technicians/Consultants/Engineers to join our Washington DC & Baltimore-Annapolis, MD offices FULL-TIME.
If you’re an IT professional at most places, we’re guessing you work long hours. Not at MacMedics! We only expect our employees to work 40 hours a week. Don’t accept any old Mac IT job if you’re never going to see you family again, or have to be “on-call” on the weekends. Come see us and find out if MacMedics can be a good fit for your new Mac career for 2016!
MacMedics (an Apple Authorized Premium Service Provider & Apple Authorized Value Added Reseller), an award-winning regional Macintosh consulting and service company, with offices in Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia is seeking more on-site Macintosh Engineers to join our Washington, DC AND Baltimore, MD service and support teams.
As a MacMedics Macintosh Consultant/Engineer, you will be directly involved in providing and recommending Macintosh service and solutions for our thousands of on-site Macintosh clients. Some of the markets we service are; graphic design freelancers, small graphic design studios, large scale advertising agencies, in-house advertising departments, commercial printers, video production houses, colleges, universities, as well as Federal, State, and local government agencies.
The functions of this position would include: on-site Macintosh hardware and software consulting and troubleshooting, networking, cross platform integration, and backup & server configuration. Qualified individuals must have EXTENSIVE knowledge of Mac OS X and long-term experience with the Macintosh product line with a strong emphasis on the use, configuration, and troubleshooting of graphic design applications. Experience with Photoshop, InDesign, and font management is absolutely essential!
A strong compensation package with performance incentives, a Macintosh MacBook Pro computer, and an Apple iPhone (with plan) are all provided. Other valuable benefits such as company paid Apple and Adobe technical training and certification; 100% company paid heath/dental insurance and a 401k plan with company matching are also included.
If you’re interested in being part of a well-established Apple consulting, service, and sales company and making new and exciting and things happen, you’ll love working with MacMedics! Our service team members are focused on helping our customers and doing whatever it takes to do so. If you’re being held back, finding yourself doing more Windows work that you were planning on, tired of red tape and politics, and you want your efforts and contributions to count for something, then this position would be perfect for you! If you’re an under-appreciated/under-paid Mac fanatic, then MacMedics is where you need to be!
If you’re a current or former Apple Store Genius with extreme Mac skills and you’re investigating on how to take your Macintosh support career to the next level, we’d love to speak to you.
MacMedics is also hiring Apple retail sales and service folks to work full-time and part-time. We also are hiring for Apple iPhone and Mac techs to work in our Severna Park, MD store.
TIP: If you or someone in your family downloads #illegal movies, music, & software you are greatly increasing your risk of getting #malware or a #virus (if you have not already checked, we highly recommend you check to see if your kids are downloading stuff they should not be. You as the owner of the Internet in your house are the one that is ultimately responsible if you are hit with a copyright lawsuit (Yes! That’s a thing). Plus, your ISP may start to slow your speed as a penalty.)
When you download uTorrent (a popular Mac torrent client), you automatically have malware on your Mac as soon as you install it!
We just helped a customer yesterday in Severna Park who was into this sort of stuff, and his #Mac was totally full of Malware and other bad software. It was so bad, that we had to run our Anti-Malware software twice and even then, we had to go in and manually remove a bunch of other stuff. Good news: We got rid of all the bad stuff (they thought we’d have to erase the Mac to get rid of it), performed the service in about 30-minutes, and the bill was only $49.
“What a great find the MacMedics are!
What a great find the MacMedics are! We were having problems with a 2 year old MacBook Pro that would not boot up. We were told at the Genius Bar that the OS needed to be reloaded. (They didn’t tell us about saving the existing docs with Target Disk Mode, but luckily we found out about that online.) We reloaded the OS, but the problem re-emerged 2-weeks later. AppleCare ran diagnostics and said the SSD needed to be replaced, but Apple wouldn’t touch it since I had opened the case during the prior problems. I drove it to MacMedics without an appointment (exchanged emails with them first), and they put the machine on the workbench and started on it immediately. Gave me options, ran several tests, and opined that it was not the hard drive at all. I left an hour later with a clean SDD and new OS installation, and a bill for under $80. It’s been great ever since! In addition, they were super helpful to the other customers at the counter with me. I’m going back whenever I have issues with my Apple devices.”
Apple iPhone Repair Service 5-Star Review: “Life saver, absolutely amazing customer service and the price can’t be beat!!”
MacMedics is an Apple Authorized Premium Service Provider, and as such we service every item that Apple makes, including ALL Macintosh computer models (new, under Apple Warranty or AppleCare, Vintage (over 5-years old and no longer supposed by Apple), or Obsolete models), the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. See http://www.macmedics.com/iphone for more info.
Recent 5-Star Review:
“Life saver, absolutely amazing customer service and the price can’t be beat!! I found MacMedics online after being totally disappointment with my local Apple store that said my water damaged iPhone 5 could not be repaired; it wouldn’t charge. Instead, they sold me a brand new iPhone to the tune of $800+ after it was all said and done. I looked online and found that the charger could be repaired, so off I went to find a repair shop. Walked into MacMedics and Sam checked my phone and said he thought it could be repaired, had to order the part which would arrive the next day. Sure enough, he called me the next day and said the phone was repaired. Cost me less than $90. I will be returning my brand new iPhone to the Apple store tomorrow. So glad I didn’t take those guys at their word. If I ever have another issue with my iPhone or other Apple product, I will go directly to MacMedics and bypass the Apple stores all together. I highly recommend MacMedics and will be referring them to all my friends. Thank you Sam for fixing my iPhone and saving me hundreds of dollars. I wish all service techs had your skill.”
Apple announces updates to MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Air:
MacBook now features sixth-generation Intel Core M processors up to 1.3GHz, improved graphics performance with Intel HD Graphics 515, faster PCIe-based flash storage, all-day battery life up to 10 hours, and a new rose gold finish. MacBook continues to feature the beautiful 12-inch Retina display, Apple-designed keyboard, Force Touch trackpad, and versatile USB-C port. At just 2 pounds and 13.1 mm thin, MacBook delivers an even better full-size notebook experience in the lightest and most compact Mac ever.
The popular 13-inch MacBook Air has also been updated with double the memory for 8GB standard across all models.
Call your local MacMedics office or contact your MacMedics On-Site Engineer for more info.
Given recent incidents with the first known Mac ransomware, and the problem we had recently with a customer who had PCs connected to their Mac server, let’s take a minute to talk about ransomware in general.
Ransomware is somewhat unique among types of malware in that it is not attacking the OS, not trying to install anything, and not trying to hide. It is attacking the user’s actual data files. That means it needs no higher privileges than what the users themselves have. Once run, it merely scans the user’s home directory and any mounted drives (including network shares), then encrypts anything that looks like a data file (.docx, .pdf, .jpg, etc). It deliberately does NOT disturb the OS or any other files that would prevent the user from using the computer, as this would prevent them from getting paid, which is the entire point.
Given that all the ransomware doing is accessing files the user normally has access to, then modifying them, it’s not necessarily doing anything “virus-like”. Therefore, the heuristics that modern anti virus products are so proud of will likely not catch it unless they have a definition for that particular variant of the binary. This is a big problem, since as recent targeted attacks against several hospitals have proven, anti virus is NOT catching these things. All it needs is a vector to get in and get running, and the client’s data is toast.
Common infection vectors include all the usual suspects: phishing emails, malvertising, illegal or compromised software downloads (like what happened with recent new version of Transmission), malicious websites, etc. Most of these are mitigated by keeping OS and browsers up to date, having a good anti-spam/anti-malware solution filtering the email, and using network wide content filtering to keep users off of illegal and/or malicious sites. Still, especially with laptops that come and go from the corporate network, malware, ransomware, and other threats will find a way in.
The sad truth is, there is no way to completely prevent a ransomware outbreak on a network aside from restricting all machines to a strict whitelist of allowed software, which is impractical in most cases. The only thing you can do is have good backups and be prepared to use them for recovery. Backups on external drives connected to end user workstations are just as vulnerable as the rest of their files. Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner will not help here. Only backups that are offline (as in not directly accessible to the infected host) are safe.
Apple was able to quickly shut down this last Mac specific malware via revoking Transmission’s code signing cert and blacklisting the binary in Xprotect).
For the more immediate problem of infected PCs encrypting files on Mac servers to which they’re connected, a local backup on the server should be safe as long as the backup itself is not shared.
In summary, here are our recommendations for handling things right now in mixed Mac/PC networks:
1. Ensure users don’t have access to more shares on the server than they actually need.
2. Ensure servers are only accessed remotely via a VPN solution to prevent exploits that could infect the server itself.
3. All servers should have at least two backups, one of which is off-line.
4. Firewalls should be utilized with intrusion prevention, content filtering and gateway Anti Virus to protect against bad user behavior as much as possible.
5. Windows PCs should be professionally monitored and maintained with up-to-date Anti Virus software.
It’s not often that we reference a story from Inside Edition. Tonight there was a story about a Paralympian, whose home was burglarized and of course they took the normal stuff like jewelry, computers, TV’s, and electronics. They also stole 5 external hard drives, which were the only place she had irreplaceable videos of her Olympic journey and a documentary movie that she was working on.
See the video here. Details of the hard drive theft start at 49 second: http://goo.gl/b6iXT6
In order to be FULLY backed up you HAVE to have your data first backed up locally, then it needs to also be backed up to the cloud or off-site storage.
The Golden Triangle of Backups is as follows:
1. Redundant: This means it has to be in TWO places. On your computer and also safely stored on a backup hard drive.
2. Automatic: This means that you don’t do a thing to make the backup run. It happens on it own without a human intervention.
3. Off-Site: This means your data has to be backed up to the cloud (iCloud is not a normal place folks use to back up their computers) or stored off-site in the form of a second hard drive stored at a relatives house or at at your office.
You can read more about this at this former MacMedics Blog post. It’s titled: 9 Things We Wish We Did Before Our House Burned Down