July 19, 2021

Perplexing potential security issue with Mac and Messages app

This is a perplexing, somewhat cybersecurity, issue that an associate is having that he can’t seem to work his way out of. I have not been able to either. And so I serve it up to the community for a possible solution.

A week or so ago the associate received a text message on his Macbook to his Messages app from a Gmail address. The address is shak????(at)gmail. It seems to be one of those SMS text messages that somehow can be forced through to an iPhone’s phone number, but from an email address and not another phone number. My associate has his Macbook configured to receive all SMS messages that his iPhone receives. Interestingly this message did not appear on his iPad, rather like how some 2FA messages do not make it to his iPad either. Just on the iPhone and his Macbook.

My associate believes he may have tapped on the message to see what it was, saw that it was spam – the message was only a ‘Hi’ – and instantly deleted it.

Yesterday evening he tried to send a text message to a contact names Shane – first two letters are the same – and as soon as he typed in the letters s and h, lo and behold autofill displays not only Shane, but also this shak????(at)gmail. This was a problem because he came close to sending/attempting to send a sensitive work related SMS message to this shak????(at)gmail destination.

When he does the same on his iPhone, only the contact Shane begins to appear in autofill, so somehow this autofill issue is specific to his Macbook.

The security issue is that no matter how he has tried or what he has done, there seems to be no way to clear this shak????(at)gmail from his Macbook’s autofill memory. With the iPhone there appears to be an easy process for deleting recent contacts, but not in the Messages app on a Macbook.

So the direct question is are there any suggestions on how to deal with this issue?

Thanks in advance.

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