While hackers target Windows PCs far more frequently, Apple has put an end to the belief that Macs don’t get viruses and its operating system isn’t fool proof. The Cupertino-based company has removed a statement from its website that claimed OS X wasn’t susceptible to viruses, PC World reported. The change comes after a massive botnet, known as Flashback, was discovered to have affected more than 600,000 Mac computers earlier this year. Apple previously claimed that its operating system “isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers.” The statement has since been removed, however, and replaced with the following. “Built-in defenses in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac.” A before and after image of Apple’s statements follows below. More →
During the company’s highly anticipated WWDC 2012 keynote, Apple unveiled new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, so of course, the company provided new details regarding OS X Mountain Lion as well. While OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion includes more than 200 new features, Apple focused on just a few key items when discussing OS X on Monday: More →
Apple’s next-generation Mac operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, will reportedly share many features with the company’s next-generation mobile operating system, iOS 6. Along with iMessage and Game Center integration, Mountain Lion will also feature iCloud Tabs support, Mail VIPs, a Do Not Disturb feature and a new Notification Center, all of which will also be found within iOS 6 according to a report from 9To5Mac. Apple’s iCloud Tabs allows users to sync open Safari browser tabs across Mac and iOS devices, while Mail VIPs will let iOS users designate “VIPs” to allow select emails to stand out. Lastly, iOS 6 will reportedly feature a “Do Not Disturb” mode that will hide incoming notification banners and alerts. The website’s sources also claim iOS 6 will include deeper Facebook integration that will be similar to Apple’s Twitter integration in iOS 5. Along with these new features, iOS 6 is expected to be released this fall and will also include a revamped Maps application. A mockup of the “Do Not Disturb” mode follows below. More →
Apple makes use of a number of open source technologies in its software products, but operating systems like iOS and OS X are hardly considered “open.” Apple has tight control over nearly every aspect of its mobile and desktop operating systems, ensuring that its products come as close as possible to resembling Apple’s vision from the moment they reach consumers’ hands until they are eventually replaced. While no one can deny the fact that Apple’s strategy has been a recipe for success thus far, a number of pundits believe Apple needs to loosen its grip on iOS and OS X if it hopes to maintain this success moving forward. Now, digital freedom fighters at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have weighed in on the issue. More →
Security firm Kaspersky Lab has begun to independently examine Apple’s Mac OS X platform and found that it’s highly vulnerable to malware. “As Mac OS X market share continues to increase, we expect cyber-criminals to continue to develop new types of malware and attack methods, ” the company’s CTO Nikolai Grebennikov said. “In order to meet these new threats, Kaspersky Lab has been conducting an in-depth analysis of Mac OS X vulnerabilities and new forms of malware.” Kaspersky Lab co-founder and chief executive Eugene Kaspersky previously said that Apple is a decade behind Microsoft in terms of computer security, a view Grebennikov shares. 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.
While Windows-powered “ultrabooks” have yet to really make a splash in the market, Apple is reportedly considering a move that could further limit their appeal as vendors prepare a second wave of less expensive ultrabook models. Citing unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain, Digitimes on Monday reported that Apple is readying a new entry-level MacBook Air model that could launch in the third quarter this year. Details are extremely limited, though it is presumed that the notebook will be an updated 11-inch model that could launch around the same time as Apple’s new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models, which are expected to become available some time this summer. Apple may reveal the new model during its annual Worldwide Developer Conference, which begins on June 11th. More →
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 →
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.”
Since Microsoft released its Windows 8 Consumer Preview in February, millions of users have downloaded the software giant’s latest operating system, which looks to carefully blend its existing mobile and desktop experiences into one. According to research from ad network Chitika, the Windows 8 CP adoption rate in the U.S. and Canada has doubled that of OS X Mountain Lion, Apple’s upcoming operating system. Of course Microsoft’s Windows 8 preview is publicly available for free while Apple’s Mountain Lion preview is available only to those with paid developer accounts. Chitika’s research was conducted from April 13th to April 19th and it analyzed hundreds of millions of impressions across the Chitika ad network. The Consumer Preview makes up .1% of all Windows traffic and exhibits traffic levels more than three times the peak level that the Windows 8 Developer Preview produced. The increased level of activity is a good sign for Microsoft, which will reportedly complete work on Windows 8 this summer. According to rumors, the first wave of PCs and tablets powered by the new platform are slated to launch in October. More →
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.