Apple on Wednesday released the latest update to its OS X Lion operating system, OS X 10.7.4. Along with a number of minor bug fixes and a security update to address a vulnerability in FileVault, the update included behind-the-scenes changes that will pave the way for future Macs with high-resolution Retina displays, according to Apple Insider. The Cupertino-based company has updated a number of apps — including the built-in TextEdit app — with double-resolution icons, increasing their sizes from 512 x 512 pixels to 1,024 x 1,024 pixels. The move suggests that Apple is planning to introduce new MacBooks with ultra-high-resolution screens, as it did with the Retina displays found on its iPhone and iPads. More →
Apple on Wednesday released an update to its desktop operating system. OS X Lion 10.7.4 contains a number of minor fixes as well as a security update that addresses the FileVault password security issue uncovered recently. The bug made users’ passwords vulnerable by storing them in plain text format. Apple’s 10.7.4 release notes are as follows:
The 10.7.4 update is recommended for all OS X Lion users and includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac including fixes that:
- Resolve an issue where the “Reopen windows when logging back in” setting is always enabled
- Improve compatibility with certain British third-party USB keyboards
- Address an issue that may prevent files from being saved to a server
- Improve the reliability of copying files to an SMB server
For detailed information on this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5167.
For information on the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222.
The OS X Lion 10.7.4 update can be downloaded immediately through the integrated software update utility in OS X.
Microsoft researchers recently discovered a piece of Mac OS X malware that exploits a three-year-old flaw in old versions of Office for Mac. The threat uses a multi-stage attack, just like a Windows virus would. While Microsoft did fix the problem in 2009, the software giant notes that not every machine is up-to-date. The company’s data indicates, however, that the malware is not widespread. “No operating system that exists outside a laboratory is entirely immune to malware,” Microsoft stated on its blog. “As different operating systems continue to gain in popularity they attract more attention from would-be attackers – especially since, as we see in the example analysis above, the techniques and understanding needed to do so may be much the same as those used against other platforms. And even though an operating system may include many risk-reducing mitigation technologies, any machine’s defenses against vulnerabilities are directly related to how current its security updates for applications are kept.” Microsoft concludes by warning users of Office 2004 for Mac, Office 2008 for Mac or Open XML File Format Converter for Mac to update their software in order to protect themselves from possible threats. More →
The “Flashback” virus that originated on a series of WordPress blogs and went on to infected more than 600,000 Mac computers last month may have generated its creators thousands of dollars each day. According to antivirus software firm Symantec, the Flashback malware has been generating revenue for its authors by hijacking users’ ad clicks, and due to the widespread nature of the infection, the authors could have been generating up to $10,000 per day. “Flashback specifically targets search queries made on Google and, depending on the search query, may redirect users to another page of the attacker’s choosing, where they receive revenue from the click,” the firm explained, adding that Google never receives the intended ad click. Symantec notes that ad-clicking Trojans are nothing new and a botnet of 25,000 infections could generate an author up to $450 per day. More →
NPD Group on Thursday released the results of its Apple Ecosystem Study, which suggests that almost 25% of U.S. iPad owners are first-time Apple buyers. The firm’s data, as reported by AppleInsider, indicated that 33% of U.S. households own Apple products, with a majority owning an iPod. That number is growing beyond the 37 million American households the Cupertino-based company’s products are already found in, thanks to Apple’s flagship tablet. “iPad sales are growing much faster than any other Apple product has this soon after launch,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD. “In fact, one-in-five Apple owner households has one — nearly equivalent to the number that own an Apple computer. This demonstrates the appeal of both the new form factor and Apple’s app ecosystem.” The study found that six out of ten homes with a Mac also own a Windows PC, and nearly 30% of so-called “Apple enthusiasts” own a smartphone other than the iPhone. The data comes from a survey NPD conducted in February of more than 3,000 consumers. More →
Apple may be the most valuable company in the world, but when it comes to security, the Cupertino-based company doesn’t hold a candle to Microsoft. Kaspersky Lab co-founder and chief executive Eugene Kaspersky on Wednesday told CBR that Apple is a decade behind Microsoft in terms of computer security. ”I think they are ten years behind Microsoft in terms of security,” Kaspersky said. “For many years I’ve been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows. It’s always been possible to develop Mac malware, but [Flashback] was a bit different. For example it was asking questions about being installed on the system and, using vulnerabilities, it was able to get to the user mode without any alarms.” More than 600,000 Macs were infected by the Flashback trojan virus before it was discovered earlier this month and the exploit it used to infect OS X PCs was patched. “Apple will understand very soon that they have the same problems Microsoft had ten or 12 years ago,” Kaspersky said. ”They will have to make changes in terms of the cycle of updates and so on and will be forced to invest more into their security audits for the software.”
Apple announced on Wednesday that its annual Worldwide Developer Conference will take place from June 11th through June 15th this year in San Francisco, California. The company made tickets available at around 8:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, and they were sold out within two hours, likely before most West Coast-based developers even woke up. Tickets are not transferable this year and as such, developers who didn’t manage to secure a ticket don’t have many options. One man, however, found a way around Apple’s restrictions. More →
Security firm Intego on Monday announced that it had discovered a new variant of the Flashback malware called Flashback.S that continues to use a Java vulnerability Apple has already patched. This variant requires no password to install, and it places its files into the user’s home folder in “~/Library/LaunchAgents/com. java.update.plist” and “~/.jupdate.” Once Fashback.S is installed, it will then delete all files and folders in “~/Library/Caches/Java/cache” in order to delete the applet from the infected Mac, and avoid detection. The virus is actively being distributed, although it will not install if it finds Intego VirusBarrier X6, Xcode or Little Snitch installed on the Mac it tries to attack.
A group of developers in Russia recently launched the “HackStore,” a centralized location for third-party OS X applications. Like Cydia on iOS, the HackStore is a software hub that allows developers to distribute applications without having to endure Apple’s approval process. The developers behind the project claim that piracy will not be tolerated in their app store, though it is unclear exactly what measures they are taking to prevent pirated software from being distributed through the HackStore. “The biggest Mac Appstore problem is that they limit their users in everything, without giving an opportunity to expand these limits,” HackStore’s creators wrote on their website. “This is not correct, because ONLY users should decide which applications they should install and which one do not. We think HackStore [will] break through the narrow confines of Mac Appstore.” More →
Security firm Sophos on Tuesday indicated that a surprisingly high level of malware has been found on Mac computers — the firm’s research revealed that one in every five Mac computers is harboring some kind of Windows malware. Of the 100,000 customers sampled through Sophos’s antivirus offerings, 20% of users were found to be carrying one or more instances of Windows malware. The firm highlighted that Windows malware on a Mac won’t cause any harm, however, unless the computer also runs a Windows partition in addition to OS X. The company’s research found that just 2.7% of Macs that installed the company’s free anti-virus software were infected by OS X malware. Nearly all of the OS X malware discovered was an iteration of the “Flashback” trojan called “Flshplyr.” Sophos said that cybercriminals may find Macs to be targets because OS X users are less likely to be running an anti-virus software, however Macs can get viruses and the right software can keep a user’s computer safe. A second pie chart follows below. More →
After a rough month that saw Apple’s stock tumble nearly $90 from a high of $644 earlier this month to as low as $555.18 on Tuesday, Apple reported its earnings for the second fiscal quarter on Tuesday after the market closed. Following a last-minute round of panic that swept Wall Street, Apple posted a net profit of $11.6 billion, or$12.30 per share — up 94% year-over-year — on revenue of $39.2 billion, crushing the Street’s consensus. Analysts were expecting earnings of $10.06 per share on $36.81 billion in sales. Read on for more. More →
The “Flashback” virus discovered to have infected more than 600,000 Mac computers earlier this month originated on a series of WordPress blogs, security experts have determined. According to Alexander Gostev, head of the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky, the virus began as a trojan hidden within a fake Adobe software update. In March, however, the malware’s creators repackaged the virus in a “drive-by attack” that infected users’ Apple computers when they visited one of thousands of compromised WordPress blogs. ”Tens of thousands of sites powered by WordPress were compromised,” Gostev wrote on Kaspersky’s SecureList blog. “How this happened is unclear. The main theories are that bloggers were using a vulnerable version of WordPress or they had installed the ToolsPack plug-in.” Apple released a system update earlier this month that patched a Java vulnerability and removed most common iterations of the Flashback virus. As of the middle of last week, however, more than 140,000 Mac computers were still infected with the virus, which is capable of intercepting private data and transmitting it without a user’s knowledge. More →
Apple responded fairly quickly to news that more than 600,000 Mac computers were infected with a trojan virus called “Flashback.” One week after the massive botnet was discovered, Apple issued an update fixing the Java vulnerability that allowed Flashback to infect the machines, as well as a removal tool for affected machines. Despite the company’s efforts, Symantec stated on Tuesday evening that approximately 140,000 OS X PCs were still infected with the virus at that time. “The statistics from our sinkhole are showing declining numbers on a daily basis,” the company wrote on its blog. “However, we had originally believed that we would have seen a greater decline in infections at this point in time, but this has proven not to be the case. Currently, it appears that the number of infected computers has tapered off, but remains around the 140,000 mark.” Symantec offers its own Flashback removal tool separate from the one Apple made available in a system update on April 12th. More →