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Apple updates Macs for first time without asking — to foil hackers – CNET

Apple updates Macs for first time without asking — to foil hackers
Apple is pushing out its first automatic security update to protect your computer from being taken over.
by Rich Trenholm

Apple patches Bash vulnerability on Macs

New Apple-focused malware uses Macs to infect iPhones
Apple downplays threat posed by Masque Attack bug
Apple iOS bug lets fake apps sneak onto iPhones, iPads
Apple mops up iOS mess with new update
Apple pulls Apple TV update amid bricking complaints
Speaking to Reuters, Apple spokesperson Bill Evans described Monday’s update as “seamless” and noted that Mac users don’t even need to restart their computers.

Apple isn’t the only company that could be vulnerable to the security bug, which was revealed Friday by the US Department of Homeland Security and the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. Researchers warn that vulnerabilities in a computer’s network time protocol (NTP), which sync a computer’s clocks, could allow hackers to take control of a computer remotely.

“Apple’s proactive steps to automatically remediate this particular vulnerability shows the need to quickly patch remotely exploitable vulnerabilities,” says security analyst Ken Westin of Tripwire. “However, the use of Apple’s automatic deployment tool is not without risks, as even the simplest update can cause problems for some systems. In this case the update may have been so minor the risk of affecting other applications and processes was minimal.”

Previously, Apple’s security updates have required a computer user to accept the update. The company has actually had a method to automatically update computers for two years but is only now using it for the first time.

What if someone doesn’t want automatic updates? Westin advises: “If you have a Mac system where an automatic update might introduce a problem — or you are the paranoid type — it can be disabled by going to the Apple Menu > System Preferences > App Store and unchecking Install system data files and security updates.”

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment.

Tags: Apple Security Computers

via Apple updates Macs for first time without asking — to foil hackers – CNET.

Mac OS X Yosemite sends location, search data to Apple [Updated] | Ars Technica

While privacy advocates lauded Apple for the company’s decision to default to encrypting data on its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, the technology firm faced criticism on Monday after independent researchers discovered that its latest operating system, Mac OS X Yosemite, is configured to send location and search data whenever a user queries Spotlight.

Spotlight is the company’s search feature for Mac OS X. The capability doesn’t just search a user’s computer, though; it also sends information to Apple and Microsoft to return searches from the companies’ services, according to

“When you use Spotlight, your search queries, the Spotlight Suggestions you select, and related usage data will be sent to Apple,” the company’s “About Spotlight & Privacy” document states. “If you have Location Services on your device turned on, when you make a search query to Spotlight the location of your device at that time will be sent to Apple.”

While the behavior is publicly noted in the Apple’s terms of service, most consumers will not have read those documents, according to Ashkan Soltani, an independent researcher and consultant, confirmed the behavior, labeling it “probably the worst example of ‘privacy by design’ I’ve seen yet.”

Users don’t even have to search to give up their privacy. Apple immediately sends the user’s location to the company, according to Soltani.

Update: Apple answered the criticism in a statement sent to Ars Technica, saying that the company had constructed the search feature to protect users’ privacy:

For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn’t retain IP addresses from users’ devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn’t use a persistent identifier, so a user’s search history can’t be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.

We also worked closely with Microsoft to protect our users’ privacy. Apple forwards only commonly searched terms and only city-level location information to Bing. Microsoft does not store search queries or receive users’ IP addresses.

The company noted that users can turn the functionality off. To halt Mac OS X Yosemite from sending location and search data, you need to take the following steps, according to

Disable “Spotlight Suggestions” and “Bing Web Searches” in System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results.

Safari also has a “Spotlight Suggestions” setting that is separate from Spotlight’s “Spotlight Suggestions.” This uses the same mechanism as Spotlight, and if left enabled, Safari will send a copy of all search queries to Apple.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d already disabled “Spotlight Suggestions,” but you’ll also need to uncheck “Include Spotlight Suggestions” in Safari > Preferences > Search.

Original Article can be found here:

AdwCleaner – One-Click Malware and Toolbar Removal – Technibble

AdwCleaner – One-Click Malware and Toolbar Removalby Husayn JamalAdwCleaner is a small, portable and freeware program that can easily remove stubborn toolbars and other malware from your client’s computer. As a technician, you may have encountered a client with an endless sea of browser toolbars and add-ons that they never used or even meant to install, but came with that latest update to Java or some other software. AdwCleaner allows you to remove these toolbars and other hidden malware in a single click.In some cases, antivirus programs, third-party uninstallers, or maybe even the built-in Add/Remove Programs feature can remove these pesky toolbars and other bloatware, but when they can’t, AdwCleaner’s one-click scan becomes very useful. The scan took about 40 seconds to complete on my Windows 8 Virtual Machine, and was able to completely remove the and Conduit toolbars from Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.After launching AdwCleaner, click “Scan” and the program will search your client’s computer for any toolbars or malware that may reside there. After the scan has completed, it will display a log showing files, shortcuts, registry entries, and more. You can then de-select which items should not be removed and click “Clean” which will instantly remove the selected files. Alternatively, you could try using AdwCleaner’s Uninstall option first.Beyond what is described above, AdwCleaner does not have any extra features, but it is a very accurate and specialized tool for the removal of potentially unwanted programs and toolbars. One thing worth mentioning is that from the Tools menu, you can view the quarantine and download a separate program called “Hosts Anti-PUP/Adware” which will limit your client’s ability to download toolbars and other potentially unwanted programs again as it will block access to certain websites. This program can always be uninstalled at a later time if required.

via AdwCleaner – One-Click Malware and Toolbar Removal – Technibble.

Google Makes Up 25% of Internet Traffic

Google makes up 25% of Internet traffic

Google accounts for a quarter of all American Internet traffic and is growing faster than the Internet itself.

Americans do a lot of Googling.
Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) accounts for nearly a quarter of Internet traffic in North America, according to a recent study conducted by analytics firm DeepField. That makes Google’s Internet presence bigger than Facebook (FB), Netflix (NFLX) and Twitter’s combined, according to the report. During a few hours of each day, Netflix will eat up more bandwidth than Google, but the streaming video site’s peak traffic occurs just during “prime-time” hours — Google still averages a larger chunk of Internet traffic during the entire day.

The most stunning revelation from the survey is that Google is growing faster than the Internet as a whole. In 2010, Google represented just 6% of Internet traffic.
That’s because the study found 60% of all Internet-connected devices interact with Google servers during the course of an average day, including some gadgets you wouldn’t think would be talking to Google, such as game consoles and home media devices.
A big part of Google’s massive Internet presence and alarming growth comes from mobile devices. The company commands the largest chunk of the smartphone and tablet markets with its Android devices, and those devices all regularly check in with Google for updates throughout the day. Smartphone runner-up Apple’s (AAPL, Fortune 500) default search engine is Google, which adds to Google’s Internet traffic share.
Related story: Google’s profit squeezed by growth in mobile
YouTube’s data-heavy videos also play a role in Google’s large internet share, DeepField said.

Google Street View climbs Mt. Fuji
Google’s expanded internet presence has required the company to constantly build out its server capacity to handle the influx of traffic. The company has been spending more than $1 billion each quarter over the past few years on infrastructure investments.
“While it is old news that Google is big, the sheer scale and dominance of Google in the Internet infrastructure has significant implications on network design and evolution,” Deepfield’s Craig Labovitz wrote.
Google spokeswoman Liz Markman noted that its server improvements allow Google content and services to better reach consumers and deliver data-heavy streams such as YouTube videos more efficiently. The company had no comment on the DeepField study.
The DeepField report is based on a large cross-section of Internet traffic, collected from North American Internet providers. It covers roughly one-fifth of Internet traffic throughout the region, and Deepfield believes it to be the largest ongoing study of its kind.

via Google makes up 25% of Internet traffic – Jul. 23, 2013.

New MacBook Air (mid 2013) teardown

New MacBook Air (mid 2013) teardown

Apple’s new MacBook Air has hit the shelves, and one has made its way to the iFixit labs for dissection. Let’s take a look at what’s new in this device.

What’s interesting about the new MacBook Air is that it is surprisingly similar to the previous-generation hardware. In fact, you can count the major changes on the fingers of one hand. These are:

Larger capacity battery
Smaller SSD module
Updated AirPort card
No separate platform controller hub
New heat sink clamp
The battery is a 7.6 V, 7150mAh unit, compared to the 7.3 V, 6700mAh found in the version it replaced. This gives the MacBook Air increased battery life. with very little additional bulk.

In order to get the “up to 45% faster” flash storage compared to the previous models, Apple has switched from SATA to PCI-E. Interestingly, in order to deliver this Apple had to turn to its arch legal rival – Samsung. In fact, the flash storage is a triple win for Samsung:

Samsung S4LN053X01-8030 (ARM) flash controller
8 x Samsung K9LDGY8SIC-XCK0 16 GB flash storage
Samsung K4P2G324ED-FGC2 512 MB RAM
This is an interesting shift for Apple who has over the past few months been distancing itself from Samsung.

The revamped AirPort card features a Broadcom BCM4360, which supports 3-stream 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Other chip highlights are as follows:

Fourth generation Intel Core i5 processor, with integrated Intel HD 5000 Graphics
Intel Z246TA38 Thunderbolt controller
Linear Technology LT3957 inverting controller
4 x Elpida F8132A1MC DDR3L RAM, total of 4 GB
Broadcom BCM15700A2
Hynix H5TC4G63AFR 4 Gb synchronous DRAM
MXIC MX25L6406E 64 Mb serial flash
Texas Instruments TPS51980A synchronous buck controller
It’s clear from this upgrade that Apple didn’t feel the need to push the boat out in terms of upgrades in order to keep the MacBook Air current.

via New MacBook Air (mid 2013) teardown | ZDNet. Image from ifixit

5-year-old Macs not too old for OS X Mavericks

5-year-old Macs not too old for OS X Mavericks

As expected, Apple drops iPhone 3GS from the iOS 7 supported list

The new OS X Mavericks will run on the same set of Mac desktops and notebooks able to handle the current OS X Mountain Lion, but iOS 7 dropped support for iPhone 3GS, the 2009 smartphone supported by the current iOS 6.

OS X 10.9, aka Mavericks — Apple’s first non-cat nickname for a version of the operating system — will support the same Macs as 2012’s Mountain Lion, according to a developer with access to the Mavericks preview.

Computerworld confirmed the developer’s account.

The only difference between the Mountain Lion and Mavericks lists was a slightly more specific reference to eligible 13-in. MacBook Pro laptops in Mavericks’ list. While Mountain Lion supported all MacBook Pro models — 13-in., 15-in. and the discontinued 17-in. — made from mid- to late-2007, Mavericks called out only mid-2009 and later 13-in. MacBook Pro notebooks.

5-year-old Macs not too old for OS X Mavericks
The new MacBook Air gets a 45% performance boost with PCIe flash
The world is not flat: Apple unveils ‘fresh, light’ iOS 7
Forget the keynote. WWDC is still about the developers
Why iOS is the future of Apple (and how we got here)
Even saying nothing, Apple CEO reveals something
Sold! Antique Apple-1 brings a record $671K
Vanishing into thin [MacBook] Air: Shortages signal WWDC refresh
Apple to build Macs in low-tax Texas
Apple breaks into Fortune 500’s top 10
More in Apple Update
Apple has regularly trimmed its OS X supported hardware list, dumping what it considers old as it adds features that either won’t run on the aging machines, or more likely, will run poorly. But like Microsoft — whose Windows 8 runs on the same hardware as the three-year-older Windows 7 — Apple has probably found that older Macs are simply “good enough” for the upgrade.

In some cases, crossing off older Macs has had major implications for customers, and thus Apple’s ability to keep pushing as many as possible to the newest OS X. The best example: Snow Leopard. That 2009 operating system has resisted retirement in large part because it was the last that let users run PowerPC applications.

According to Web analytics firm Net Applications, Snow Leopard powered 25% of all Macs that went online in May, the same percentage as ran 2011’s Lion, and its decline, while consistent, has been slow.

By the end of the year, Snow Leopard will still account for 1 in 5 Macs.

While OS X system requirements stayed stable, those for iOS showed Apple’s typical practice of dropping the oldest still-supported devices from the next version’s list.

Apple said iOS 7 will run on the iPhone 4, 4S and 5; the iPad 2, the two 2012 models of the Retina-equipped iPad and the iPad Mini; and last year’s fifth-generation iPod Touch. Missing from that list were the iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod Touch, both which can run the still-current iOS 6.

Previews of OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 are now available to developers, with final versions slated to ship this fall, Apple said Monday.

This article, 5-year-old Macs not too old for OS X Mavericks, was originally published at

via 5-year-old Macs not too old for OS X Mavericks – Computerworld.

Apple, Tim Cook and Others Sued Over Alleged NSA/PRISM Privacy Violations

NSA_EmblemApple, Tim Cook and Others Sued Over Alleged NSA/PRISM Privacy Violations
Apple , and  Tim Cook  personally, have been sued by a conservative activist and three others as part of a class action lawsuit [PDF] over alleged privacy violations resulting from the company’s supposed participation in the NSA’s PRISM intelligence program.

The plaintiffs have also sued  President Obama , Attorney General  Eric Holder , NSA Director  Keith Alexander , the NSA itself, the  U.S. Department of Justice , as well as  Facebook ,  Google ,  YouTube ,  Microsoft ,  Skype ,  AOL ,  Yahoo ,  PalTalk ,  AT&T  and Sprint – and all the CEO’s of those companies personally.

As one of the largest companies in the world, Apple is routinely sued over a wide variety of issues. The company has a large legal teams to handle these lawsuits, though the sheer number of defendants in this case could make for interesting court filings.

Plaintiff Larry Klayman issued this statement:
This and the  Verizon  class action will serve to unify all political and social persuasions in our great nation to wage a second American revolution, one that is peaceful and legal – but pursued with great resolve and force. Government dishonesty and tyranny against the people have reached historic proportions during the last three administrations in particular, and the time has come for We the People to rise up and reclaim control of our nation. If not, the government will control us and this will mark the end of individual liberties. The American people can thus use these class actions to “man the barricades of freedom” against the establishment government despots and their corporate enablers who seek to enslave them through coercive abuses of their privacy. This Orwellian power grab can only be intended to blackmail the masses into submission in order that these modern day greedy tyrants achieve their corrupt ends.
This isn’t the only class action lawsuit filed or planned over the PRISM disclosures. Senator  Rand Paul  (R-KY) has said he will file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over what he says are “unconstitutional” surveillance programs. Paul wants to get the customers of all the offending companies to join a class action suit and take it to the  U.S. Supreme Court .

The  American Civil Liberties Union  has also filed a lawsuit, though it is focusing on the Government itself rather than the alleged corporate partners. The suit alleges that the Government’s tracking of phone records violates Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

It’s important to note that both Rand Paul and the ACLU are, at least to this point, primarily speaking out about Verizon Business Network Services giving call logs to the NSA for millions of calls both within the  United States  and abroad. However, both the Verizon/NSA issue and the Apple-related PRISM allegations were revealed on the same day last week and are largely seen as connected in the eyes of most critics.

via Article – MacRumors – Apple, Tim Cook and Others Sued Over Alleged NSA/PRISM Privacy Violations.