Security blog Defense in Depth has found a glaring security flaw in OS X Lion that enables hackers to change the password of any user on a machine running Lion. “[While] non-root users are unable to access the shadow files directly, Lion actually provides non-root users the ability to still view password hash data,” Patrick Dunstan from Defense in Depth explained in a recent blog post. The result is that anyone could use a simple Python script, created by Dunstan himself, to discover a user’s password. It gets worse. Reportedly, OS X Lion does not require its users to enter a password to change the login credentials of the current user. That means typing the command: “dscl localhost -passwd /Search/Users/Roger” will actually prompt you to set a new password for Roger. As CNET points out, a hacker could only take advantage of the known bug if he or she has local access to the computer and Directory Service access. CNET suggests disabling automatic log-in, enabling sleep and screensaver passwords and disabling guest accounts as some preventative measures to keep your Mac secure. More →
Google offered up a whopping $6 billion in an effort to acquire local deal vender Groupon last year, but the Internet giant was rebuffed. $6 billion is quite a healthy amount of scratch, but Groupon apparently thought it could take over the world on its own. Of course the massively successful coupon merchant must have known at that time — just as the rest of the world knew — that Google would certainly not leave well enough alone. Enter “Google Offers.” The aptly named service will be Google’s attempt to eat Groupon’s lunch, offering great local deals on, well, lunch — among other things. Restaurant deals, shopping deals and other local deals will be emailed to users each day, and the service will be packed full of opportunities to notify nearby friends of great deals via Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and so on. Hit the break for a screen shot of a Google Offers page to see what we have to look forward to, as well as a fact sheet Google is sending to local businesses in an effort to get them on board.
When it comes to the online coupon space, Google wants in. The Internet giant wants in so badly, it was willing to pay $6 billion for the current market leader, Groupon. The huge offer was actually pretty fair considering Groupon’s reported $1 billion in annual revenue, but the deal died on the table and now Google is left searching for other ways to enter the space. According to a report from the New York Post on Tuesday, the company is doing just that — Google is currently on the prowl for a “Groupon wannabe” to snatch up so it can compete with the company that rejected its advances. Google tends to get what it wants, so an acquisition is bound to happen soon — and that’s good news for consumers. Stiffer competition means more deals, and thus more savings for users of these trendy new local deal vendors. More →
Yesterday, at the AllThingsD conference, Google’s Andy Rubin demoed a new, improved version of Google Maps that is due to hit Android devices “in a matter of days.” Mr. Rubin was careful not to give up too much information, saying he wanted to allow the Maps team to have the honors of detailing the new application, but he did give us several key pieces of information. First, the new version of Maps will be available, for the time being, for Android devices only (phones and tablets) and will be vector based. The vector-based maps allow for smoother scrolling, dynamic content loading, and less data being transferred over the network. Second, the new Maps will store maps that you query ofter for lightning-quick load times. If you always find yourself searching for restaurants or coffee shops in Times Square, that map will cache locally on your phone (it will even be able to used cached maps to navigate when offline).
Although not mentioned during his interview, Engadget is reporting that the new Maps will be supported by the Galaxy S, Nexus S, DROID, DROID x, DROID 2, DROID Incredible, EVO 4G, and G2 smartphones. Mr. Rubin did also say the version works on tablets, so we’re guessing that the Galaxy Tab will have the dubious honor of running these new bits as well.
It is a pretty exciting time to be a member of the Android family! More →
Nokia has just made a new, beta version of its Ovi Maps suite available for download via the Beta Labs channel. The update, version number 3.6, allows users to download street maps directly to their device using Wi-Fi, features a new, unified “My Position” and “Search” feature, improves transit line display, and betters compass calibration on your device. If you’re a Symbian user, and want to try out the new goods, head on over to Nokia’s Labs site and have yourself a download. More →
Today, Google announced a new service that it will be giving to popular businesses around the country, a service to be called “Google Favorite Places,” and the idea is fairly simple. Google has mailed customized window stickers to business across the U.S. that are frequently searched for on google.com or in Google Maps — 100,00 have been sent out so far. Each sticker bears a QR barcode ready to be scanned by a cell phone reader, when scanned the code provides a link to Google’s entry for the local business which contains general information, reviews, coupons, and other pertinent information. Favorite Places also has a website were you can check out what Google classifies as a “favorite” in your area. So simple it might work? We’re not sure, but we do have the silent video Google made to go along with this project queued up for you after the break. More →