Evildoers like Macbooks, Thwart Them with “Find my iPhone”

Apple offers a special “Find my iPhone” option as a part of their free iCloud cloud storage and backup service.  Despite it’s name, you can use this tool to locate most of Apple’s product line, including your Macbook.

Setting up “Find my iPhone”

To activate this feature you first must establish an Apple ID.  If you’ve ever bought anything from iTunes or have an iPhone, or iPad, and have bought apps from the App Store, then you already have an Apple ID.  It’s usually your email address and whatever password you signed up with.

If you do not have an Apple ID, you can sign up for one, start iTunes on your computer and select Create Apple ID from the Store menu.   You do need to give Apple a credit card as part of the sign up process, but it’s just to give them something to charge against if you buy applications from the App Store, or media via iTunes.

  1. On your Macbook, select System Preference from the Apple menu.
  2. Click on iCloud under Internet and Wireless
  3. Sign in using your Apple ID and password (note that you may already have signed in previously)
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the list of iCloud features until you see “Find My Mac”
  5. Put a checkmark next to “Find My Mac”
  6. Quit System Preferences from the File menu.

Using “Find my iPhone”

Should your computer get lost or stolen (or your iPad, or your iPhone), use any other network connected computer to go to http://icloud.com

  1. Log in using the same Apple ID and password that your computer us signed in with.
  2. Click on the “Find my iPhone” icon (non intuitive, I know)
    You will be shown a Google Map.
  3. Click on the Devices button in the upper left hand corner of the screen and select your Macbook from the list of devices assigned to your Apple ID.
  4. If you see your computer on the map, and it isn’t at a location where you left it, call the police and tell them where to nab those evildoers.

You can also use “Find my iPhone” to lock the device with a six digit code that will prevent anyone from using the machine until entered again.

If the machine is in an inaccessible or dangerous location, you can choose to wipe the contents of the machine, but you only want to do this as a last resort to protect your personal and UVM sensitive information.

Note: Erasing your Mac will also remove the machine from “Find My Mac” and you will not be able to locate it again.  Last resort, right?

Thanks for taking steps to both protect yourselves and UVM from financial and informational losses.

Is This Email Legit?

Is this email legitimate or a hoax?  This is the single most frequently asked question we have.  The answer is almost always no but people still ask and occasionally one of our clients will fall for a scam and end up with a compromised account.

The basic rule of thumb should be: if you want to ask someone about a particular email, then chances are the email is a scam and you should just delete it.

In general here’s what to look for:

  • Is the email coming from a UVM email address?  If not, it’s fake.
  • If there is a link in the email, does the link appear to be going to a UVM website (i.e. does the host name end in “uvm.edu”)?  If not, it’s fake.
  • Does the link in the email go to same place that the email says it does (e.g. the link says “www.uvm.edu” but actually goes somewhere else).  If it doesn’t, it’s fake.
    You do not have to click the link to find out where it’s actually going.  Instead you can right click (control click under MacOS) and select “Copy Link Location”, then you can paste the link into any web browser and “see where it’s going” before actually clicking.
  • If you do click the link does the site ask you for personal information (account and password, or worse, SS#)? If yes, it’s fake.
  • Does the email threaten dire measures if you don’t comply?  If yes, it’s probably fake.
    Any security measure imposed by UVM (e.g. expiring your UVM netID every 365 days), will not be executed without ample warning (two weeks at least) and can always be reversed.

Here is an ebay website on the subject:


Here’s another:


MacOS X Users: It is now safe to go back into the water, 10.7.3 update


For those running MacOS X Lion, aka 10.7, it is now safe to install the 10.7.3 update.  Apple switched from the context sensitive Software Updates version of the update (which is supposed to only install the components of the update that your computer needs) to the “Combo” version which contains everything for all currently supported Mac hardware.  This makes for a bigger update, but a safer one.

Please plan to allow enough time for the update to download, connect yourself to the fastest network connection possible and for those with Macbooks, connect your Magsafe AC Power supply before installing.

If you are not running a Mac, or are not running MacOS 10.7 (Lion) please disregard this message.