Items tagged with OS X

It seems like a day doesn't go by that we don't hear about some piece of malware that's harassing computer users. In 2017, you would expect that most people would be hesitant to download and extract random, rogue zip files, but sadly, that's not the case. There's a reason these pieces of malware still exist -- just like with spam email, a small percentage of users ultimately fall for it. With the latest piece of malware to hit the Mac, users who are careless enough to open attachments from people they don't know are the prime targets for this exploit and infection. OSX/Dok is malware that targets - you guessed it - OS X. The downside is that it allegedly affects all versions of OS X, so... Read more...
  WikiLeaks dropped a huge bombshell over two weeks ago when it revealed that it gained access to a treasure trove of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA’s) hacking tools. Documents detailed numerous tools at the agency’s disposal including viruses, trojans, zero-day exploits and other avenues to monitor or infiltrate devices ranging from iPhones to Smart TVs to computers running Windows or Mac operating systems. In the case of Apple devices, the CIA has its own dedicated team within the Mobile Device Branch (MDB) that specializes in exploiting iOS-based devices like the iPhone and the iPad. “The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social,... Read more...
Apple's been keeping itself busy patching up security holes in its software, both for mobile and on the desktop. Just last week, Apple rolled out an update for iOS—version 9.3.5—that patched up several critical security and privacy exploits, and now there's a pair of updates for OS X that addresses the same security issues. One of those updates is 2016-001 for El Capitan and the other is 2016-005 for Yosemite. According to Apple's release notes, left unpatched an application may be able to disclose kernel memory and could allow a hacker to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Citizen Lab and Lookout are credited for discovering both vulnerabilities. These are the same vulnerabilities... Read more...
If you’re one of those folks that lollygags around when it comes to updating your iPhone to the latest version of iOS, you might want rethink that strategy. Apple released iOS 9.3.3 last week, and tucked inside the software update were some operating system tweaks and the usual bevy of security patches. One security patch in particular fixed a rather nasty vulnerability that can leave your Apple device open to attackers using a simple iMessage. The exploit allows an attacker to send a seemingly innocent TIFF image file via iMessage that actually contains a rather malicious payload. Cisco Talos describes the severity of the exploit, writing: When rendered by applications that use the Image I/O... Read more...
Apple has been served by the OS X name for the past 15 years, but the company is looking to change things up with a rebranding. Its desktop/notebook-centric operating system is now being called macOS, and given that Apple has recently been naming its desktop OSes after places in California, it’s called macOS Sierra. One of the biggest additions to macOS Sierra is of course Siri, which is accessible by clicking either an icon in the menu bar or down in the Dock. If you’re familiar with Siri on the iPhone, you have all of that same functionality on your desktop or desktop (grabbing sports scores, opening apps, looking up movie times, etc.).Siri on macOS Sierra There are also improvements to Continuity,... Read more...
If you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, there could be a new convenience feature headed to OS X 10.12 that would allow you to forget about entering a password to login to your Mac. A new report making the rounds suggests that the next major operating system release from Apple will gain the ability to use a Touch ID-enabled iPhone to unlock your iMac or MacBook computer. According to Mac Rumors, a finger placed on a Touch ID sensor would allow a Mac to unlock as long as it’s in close proximity to a paired iPhone. The report also suggests that Bluetooth LE would be used to establish a connection and complete the secure unlock. In practice, this is similar to unlocking an Apple Watch... Read more...
There's nothing wrong with showing up fashionably late to the party, and at long last, WhatsApp has decided to don the desktop with its presence. The wildly popular messaging application that's owned by Facebook announced the availability of its first desktop app for PCs running Windows 8 and higher and Macs running OS X 10.9 or newer.Since the desktop app runs natively on the desktop rather than through a web browser, WhatsApp brings support for native desktop notifications, better keyboard shortcuts, and so forth. But perhaps the biggest draw is end-to-end encryption. Much to the chagrin of government agencies that want tech companies to build backdoors into their programs and devices, WhatsApp... Read more...
Over the past few years, ransomware has become an ever growing threat to enterprise and personal users alike. If you’re unfamiliar with ransomware, it’s a piece of malware that infects a system, usually encrypts a user’s personal data – like photos, office documents, PDFs and the like – and then forces the user to pay a ransom for the decryption key.To date all of the known, fully-functional ransomware attacks have targeted systems running Microsoft Windows, but a brand new variant has hit the web targeting systems running Apple’s Mac OS X.An Apple MacBook Running OS XPalo Alto Networks discovered the ransomware a few days ago and posted a bulletin on its website. Claud Xiao and Jin Chen... Read more...
It’s been a while since we’ve seen direct Windows vs Mac PCs ads make the rounds, but it looks like Microsoft is looking to renew the efforts with its new ‘Do More’ advertising campaign. The first commercial introduces us to Christie and Jess, who call themselves The Bug Chicks. The duo’s mission is to introduce children to and teach them all about insects — and wouldn’t you know it, Windows 10 helps them better achieve that goal. Following a 30-second intro, we’re presented with three additional 15-second spots that showcase why Windows 10 PCs are superior to Macs running OS X. “Windows and Cortana” talks about how helpful Cortana is at retrieving relevant information, including media files,... Read more...
If you're surfing the Internet with a browser (a rarity, we know), there's a new bug to be cautious of. With a bit of simple JavaScript, a browser's HTML5 History API can be called upon thousands of times, ultimately causing a meltdown. Of course, a dedicated website (CrashSafari.com) exists to act as a proof of concept, and of course, there are many trolls out there trying to trick you into visiting it. This prank isn't harmful, but it can still be a major nuisance. In a rare case, it could cause you to have to reboot, and almost always, it will cause you to lose your open tabs (unless you have a default set that loads each time.) While the proof of concept site mentioned above targets Safari,... Read more...
In an effort to thwart malicious software from wreaking havoc on Mac computers, Apple introduced Gatekeeper in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and was also integrated into its predecessor, OS X 10.7.5 Lion. Apple maintains that the most secure way to download apps for your Mac is to go through the App Store, but for apps downloaded outside of Apple’s walled garden, Gatekeeper is supposed to be the big, brawny bouncer tossing malicious apps into the street. This is how Apple describes Gatekeeper’s duties in a support document: Developers can get a unique Developer ID from Apple and use it to digitally sign their apps. The Developer ID allows Gatekeeper to block apps created by malware developers and verify... Read more...
If you were hoping to see some sort of hybrid iPad/MacBook computing device in the future, similar in concept to Microsoft’s Surface Book, keep dreaming. Building on past comments related to the subject, Apple CEO Tim Cook doubled down, saying there’s no place for a hybrid iPad/MacBook in the marketplace. “We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad,” Cook reiterated in an interview this weekend. “Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not... Read more...
Those calling on Apple to unify its mobile and desktop operating systems might be in for a long wait. During a discussion with Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, Apple boss Tim Cook made it clear that he has no intention of combining iOS with OS X, which probably means a touchscreen iMac or MacBook isn't in the cards either."We don't believe in having one operating system for PC and mobile, Cook said, according to CNET. "We think it subtracts from both, and you don't get the best experience from either. We're very much focused on two."As smartphones and tablets become increasingly sophisticated and capable, there's a blurring of the line between mobile and desktop computing. There's also a need for interoperability,... Read more...
When Apple announced OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in early June, it promised to make available public betas of both operating systems this summer. True to its word, Apple opened the floodgates today by giving everyday consumers a taste of test versions of both operating systems, which will be released this fall. Apple has offered a public beta of OS X Yosemite last year, but this the first time that the company has offered a wide-scale public beta of its iOS operating system. In order to take advantage of the public betas, you will first need to register via the Apple Beta Software Program website. In the case of the El Capitan beta, Apple suggests backing... Read more...
"Xara" might sound like a cool name for an exploit, but according to researchers at three different US universities, it's one that should cause some alarm. At its root, if Xara is properly exploited, attackers would be able to procure passwords stored in OS X's Keychain, which could be used for most or all of someone's applications. Specific details are not covered, but it seems that if an app is installed on OS X that takes advantage of this exploit, it can take control of the stored passwords, and other information that might be present (eg: the login username itself). Examples given are hijacking the passwords in Google Chrome, Evernote, WeChat, Facebook, and iCloud. The researchers were successful... Read more...
Chrome on OS X is a battery hog. It’s been known for a while that compared to Apple’s stock Safari browser, Chrome has a tendency to eat up CPU cycles and use excess amounts of memory. Google took a step earlier this month to combat this problem by reining in the much-hated Adobe Flash Player plugin. Using what Google calls “Intelligent Pause,” Chrome can decide for itself whether a particular Flash element is worth displaying to the user. If isn’t, it will be disabled, thus helping to save your laptop’s battery from prematurel discharging. But Adobe isn’t the only party at fault when it comes to Chrome’s power-wasting past. Google has to share part of the blame, with senior Chrome engineer Peter... Read more...
Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) with updates to its PC operating system: OS X. This wouldn’t be Apple if it didn’t brag a bit, so the company reported that the most recent release of OS X, Yosemite, is currently being used on 55 percent of Macs (Apple claims that this is the fastest adoption rate for any desktop OS ever). But everyone in the audience was there to hear about Yosemite; they wanted to hear about the next big thing. So what’s the name of Apple’s latest OS X release? It’s OS X El Capitan. Yes, you heard that correctly, El Capitan. Apple is focusing on two things with El Capitan: user experience and performance. There are some nice little touched added to... Read more...
After mainboard vendors began adopting EFI en masse in recent years, security researchers all over have dissected the many different implementations out there to find that elusive crippling bug. Sometimes, though, such bugs are not actually elusive at all, like one just discovered by reverse engineering enthusiast fG. fG starts off his report by pointing out two excellent presentations revolving around EFI exploitation, and how this new one relates to one of those. At any point while using your PC, your EFI should never become exposed to write commands, but fG notes that this isn't the case on Macs older than mid-2014. In fact, the bug can be exploited from the desktop - all it requires is that... Read more...
Apple's OS X "Yosemite" brought a lot to the table, and while almost all of it has been good, there has been a stick in the mud. That stick is called "discoveryd", and relates to how the OS handles its networking duties. Since the release of Yosemite, many users have dealt with serious network stability issues, such as disconnections and a doubling of network names, and even full-blown computer crashes. Apple might have had good intentions with discoveryd, but it's clear that it's causing far more harm than good right now. Fortunately, the company agrees, and so it's decided to pull discoveryd out of the latest OS X beta, 10.10.4, and replace it with mDNSResponder, which had been OS X's earlier... Read more...
Last week learned that the Oculus Rift will be delivered to paying customers starting in Q1 2016. Oculus also took the time to show us what the final version of the Rift will look like once it begins shipping. During the reveal, the company stated, “In the weeks ahead, we’ll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to the Rift.” That time has come, and Oculus has handed down the recommended minimum specs “for the full Rift experience” on PC systems. You’ll need: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greaterIntel i5-4590 equivalent or greater8GB+ RAMCompatible HDMI 1.3 video output2x USB 3.0 portsWindows 7... Read more...
Apple has today announced that it will be kicking off the 26th iteration of its WWDC on June 8, and as usual, it'll be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. As was the case last year, Apple will be choosing developers to purchase tickets at random, and also like last year, those tickets will cost $1,599 each. If you're interested in attending this year's WWDC, you can't waste any time; you must head here to register and do so no later than April 17, 10AM PDT. It seems obvious that Apple will use this WWDC to talk about iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. "Apple’s renowned developer community will come together to learn about the future of iOS and OS X, helping them continue to create the most innovative... Read more...
It's not often that we learn of a DDoS attack that can be sourced from mobile devices, but as it happens, it's something that's possible on iOS devices not running the latest 8.3 software. The bug isn't exclusive to iOS, however. Because the 'Darwin Nuke' flaw exists in the Darwin kernel, the desktop OS X is also affected. To be protected there, an upgrade to 10.10.3 is required. It's unfortunately not mentioned when this bug first surfaced, but Kaspersky notes that affected devices include the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini - in effect, iOS devices with a 64-bit processor. Exploiting the vulnerability isn't trivial, as it's quite specific.... Read more...
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