Category Archives: Mac News

Flashback Trojan Infection Affects 600,000 Macs

Mac OS X has been devoid of any large scale viruses and Trojans for a long time now. However, of late as the popularity of Mac has grown, virus creators have started targeting the OS with new viruses. This is evident with the number of viruses and Trojans which are being written for Mac. Take for example the Fake Mac Defender Anti-Virus (removal instructions).

A recent investigation by a security group has found out that a new virus called Flashback has been infecting nearly 600,000 Macs globally. The latest variation of this virus has been targeting an unpatched Java vulnerability in Mac based PCs. The OSX Flashback Trojan connects to a remote server and downloads instructions and payload. Once the payload has been downloaded the malware will modify webpages in the web browser and try to collect personal and other information and send it back to their servers.

If you are a Mac user, the first thing you should do is apply the new patch supplied by Apple that patches this vulnerability. However, there is a chance that you might have been already infected by the Trojan.

F-secure has put up some detailed instructions on their website to find out whether you are infected by the Flashback Trojan for Mac along with instructions to remove the OSX Flashback Trojan. You can visit this page to find instructions for removing Flashback Trojan and remove it from your system.

The detection and removal instructions are targeted towards advanced users so you might want to have someone familiar with Terminal taking a look at it for you.

Also, don’t forget to apply the latest update patch supplied by Apple. To do that, open the main system menu on your Mac by clicking on the “Apple icon” and click on the item “Software update”. Once the software update has checked for updates, apply any new patch/Java update that is available for your system.

We’ll try and post more simpler detection and removal instructions for this shortly.

Download OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview

Apple just released the newest version of their Mac OS X called Mountain Lion. The new version of Mac OS X contains several new features including several new features which already exist in iOS 5.

Mountain Lion Logo

Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 also integrates with Apple’s iCloud allowing you to backup your data in the cloud. The OS is definitely exciting and includes new features such as Messages, Notes, Reminders, Game Center, Notification Center, Integration and more.

OS X Mountain Lion

If you are excited about this, you should go ahead and download OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 from the links provided below. Please note that users will require “Mac Developer Program access” in order to download the developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion.

OS X Mountain Lion is a developer preview and might be unstable. Regular users should stay away from the developer preview as it might cause system crashes and data loss. General public will be able to download or upgrade their Macs to the Mountain Lion later this summer.

New Fake Adobe Flash Malware Disables Apple’s Malware Updates

According to security researchers at F-Secure, a new variant of an existing Trojan Horse posing as a legitimate Flash Player installer (named Flashback.C by F-Secure) is designed to disable updates to the default Mac OS X anti- malware protection system, potentially leaving the system open to the manual installation of other malware without any system warnings.

A Trojan horse works by fooling you into running it; in this case, Flashback disguises itself as an installer package for Flash Player. This Trojan horse is potentially capable of disabling XProtectUpdater-auto-update component of Apple’s built-in XProtect anti-malware application by overwriting the system binary that checks for updates.

Screenshot of the Trojan-Downloader:OSX/Flashback.C installer

Once installed, Flashback.C first checks to see if the user is running “Little Snitch,” a firewall program that could alert the user of its actions. If it is found to be installed, the trojan deletes itself. If it doesn’t find Little Snitch, the malware then tries to connect to a remote host in order to obtain other installation files and configurations. F-Secure notes that “the remote host is up but it does not [yet] push anything.” If and when the site becomes active, it could deliver a payload that the trojan could use to disable the system’s auto-updater, using Safari or Firefox to deliver the malicious code via an LSEnvironment variable that loads when the browser restarts. The local system would be unable to obtain the latest anti-malware definitions and could subsequently be infected by other malicious programs the user installs without seeing the warnings that Mac OS X’s XProtect feature is designed to present.

If you fear that you might have been infected, you can see removal instructions given by F-Secure here. Also, always download software from original company websites to remain protected from Trojan horses like this. Read our tips to keep your computer Safe and Secure here.

Credits: Apple Insider

Apple Releases First Public Update For OS X Lion

Almost a month after it’s launch, Apple has released the first maintenance update for OS X Lion. Following in the trend of the past, it is available for download via the Software Update utility. The download for my MacBook Pro was only about 16MB, and installed almost instantly. The change log was:

  • Address an issue that may cause system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari
  • Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out
  • Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections
  • Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X

Personally, I am very happy to see this update. I had been having trouble with my MacBook Pro staying on Wi-Fi networks, either secured or open. Hopefully it will stop dropping my connection now that i have updated Lion to 10.7.1.

10_7_1.png

Interestingly enough, there is a separate version of the update available for the 2011 MacBook Air and Mac mini. It brings the above changes, plus a couple extra lines. Those extra changes are:

  • Resolves an issue where MacBook Air may boot up when MagSafe Adapter is attached
  • Resolve an issue causing intermittent display flickering on MacBook Air
  • Resolve an issue that causes the SD card slot in Mac mini to run at reduced speed with SD and SDHC media

While this isn’t a huge change, it’s probably the last we will see before we get the big iCloud update. Developers already have 10.7.2, which is the current beta that has iCloud integration. While we aren’t sure when that update will come, we do know it will happen sometime this fall.

Were you experiencing any issues with Lion so far? Are you excited about iCloud launching soon? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Apple Issues Mac OS X 10.6.8 Supplemental Update for Snow Leopard

Apple has issued a supplemental update for users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 on their Macs.

This is the first update by Apple for Snow Leapord post Mac OS X Lion release. The last update was almost a month back with notable features like enhancements to the Mac App Store and built-in protection against known variants of Mac Defender malware, and had updates to make transition to Lion easier.

This Supplemental 10.19 MB update delivers a handful of final fixes for the previous-generation operating system.

The Mac OS X 10.6.8 Supplemental Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 and resolves issues with:

– Transferring personal data, settings, and compatible applicationsfrom a Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard to a new Mac running Mac OS X Lion
Certain network printers that pause print jobs immediately and fail to complete
System audio that stops working when using HDMI or optical audio out

A similar 10.23MB update was released for Snow Leopard Server.

The supplemental and combo updates for Snow Leopard are all available on Apple’s website, or directly through Software Update. Direct links to update below :

Mac OS X 10.6.8 Supplemental Update (10.19 MB) – for users already on Mac OS X 10.6.8

Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update v.1.1 (453.55 MB) – delta release for users who have yet to update to Mac OS X 10.6.8

Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1 (1.09 GB) – combo release for users who have yet to update to Mac OS X 10.6.8

 

Mac OS X 10.6.8 Server Supplemental Update (10.23 MB) – for users already on Mac OS X Server 10.6.8

Mac OS X Server v10.6.8 Update v1.1 (518.28 MB) – delta release for users who have yet to update to Mac OS X Server 10.6.8

Mac OS X Server v10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1 (1.18 GB) – combo release for users who have yet to update to Mac OS X Server 10.6.8

-links via MacRumours

Apple Officially Releases Mac OS X Lion, Available for Download

Apple’s Mac OS X 10.7, codenamed “Lion”, is officially released and is available for purchase at the Mac App Store for $29.99. Apple showcased the new version of OS X at WWDC 2011 in San Fransisco, last month.

OS X Lion has over more than 250 new features,  which include the new multi-touch gestures, full screen apps, Air Drop, and new security features such as hard drive encryption. The OS X Lion will be a 4GB download. Alternatively, users can head to their local Apple Retail Store to download Lion. Later in August, Lion will be made available on a USB thumb drive through Apple Store for $69.

Additional new features in Lion include:

  • Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
  • Auto Save, which automatically and continuously saves your documents as you work;
  • Versions, which automatically records the history of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, revert and even copy and paste from previous versions; and
  • AirDrop, which finds nearby Macs and automatically sets up a peer-to-peer wireless connection to make transferring files quick and easy.
Apple Mac OS X Lion

Before you upgrade, please keep in mind the following configuration to run Lion –

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor to run Lion and not anything lower than this.
  • RAM: A minimum of 2GB RAM
  • HDD Space: At least 4GB of additional disk space is a must.

If you have purchased your Mac in 2006 or later, then you’re good to go.

In order to upgrade to OS X Lion, make sure that you have Snow Leopard 10.6 or higher version running. You also need to have the Mac App Store app installed in order to take advantage of the built-in App Store. In case you are running Snow Leopard 10.5 or anything less, then you must consider upgrading it to a higher version first (Snow Leopard is available for $29 at the Apple Store).

Also, please make sure that any third-party applications installed on your Mac system, are upgraded to their latest version. Third-party applications may not be compatible with the new version and will require an upgrade.

Apple Never Bringing Final Cut Pro 6/7 Import to FCP X

In late June we reported that Apple has released a new version of its video editing powerhouse known as Final Cut. Final Cut Pro X was released to mixed reviews, with many professional editors claiming it was useless for their work. It seems as though Apple has heard their cries, and is choosing to ignore them.

Apple held a private briefing for enterprise contact in London about Final Cut Pro X. They addressed a number of concerns, but not really to anyone’s satisfaction. A summary of the briefing was posted to Twitter by @aPostEngineer. Here are the major points:

1. FCP XML in/out is coming via 3rd party soon…no FCP 6/7 support project support coming ever it seems…
2. Ability to buy ADDITIONAL FCP7 licenses for EXISTING enterprise deployments  coming in the next few weeks… 

3. FCPX EDL import/export coming soon…
4. FCPX AJA application coming soon for tape capture and layback…capture straight into FCPX [events].
5. XSAN support for FCPX coming in the next few weeks…
6. FCPX Broadcast video output via #Blackmagic & @AJAVideo coming soon…
7. Additional codec support for FCPX via 3rd Parties coming soon…
8. Customizable sequence TC in FCPX for master exports coming soon…
9. Some FCPX updates will be free some will cost…

Basically, the most desired features are not going to happen. If you want XML import of export, you can only get it through a third-party add-on. As for importing Final Cut Pro 6 or 7 files: It’s never happening. Looks like Apple is officially moving on.

On a positive note, Apple is going to allow current enterprise users to buy additional Final Cut Pro 7 licenses. This should give professional users the ability to wait for FCP X to get the plug-ins needed to make it useful. Then again, it’s possible that will never happen.

 

 

Mac OS X 10.6.8 Now Available for Download

It seems that we may be looking at the jagged teeth of the final update for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Apple released a  security  security  update into the wild today, bringing the official version number of Snow Leopard to 10.6.8.

 

I ran the ‘Software Update’ application on my MacBook Pro, which was previously running 10.6.7. I hadn’t run it in a few days, but the update was around 475 MB. the  combo  updater, which is designed for multiple versions of OS X, is 1.01 GB to download.

 

If you want to see the full release notes, they are in the box below.

The 10.6.8 update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including fixes that:

  • Enhance the Mac App Store to get your Mac ready to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion
  • Resolve an issue that may cause Preview to unexpectedly quit
  • Improve support for IPv6
  • Improve VPN reliability
  • Identify and remove known variants of Mac Defender

For detailed information on this update, please visit this website:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4561.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222.

I find the easiest way to get my update is to hit Command-Space and type ‘Software Update.’ Again, the update isn’t that big if you keep your Mac up to date. If you prefer to get the  combo updater, you can grab that here.

 

Many analysts are looking at the first bullet in the changes list and seeing that this update means that OS X Snow Leopard is coming to a close. It wouldn’t be surprising if that were the case, however. OS X Lion is due out next month, and its time for Snow Leopard’s regin to end.

 

Another important update in this patch is the line regarding MacDefender. As the first major Mac security threat, its important for Apple to develop a good strategy for dealing with such threats. As a Mac user, I am happy to see them putting this update.

Apple Updates Time Capsule

Time Capsule
Before WWDC 2011, many rumors of an updated Time Capsule started appearing. Today, Apple has announced an updated version of their 2TB and  3TB Time Capsules. Time Capsule allows Mac owners to backup their data via Time Machine. The new 2TB Time Capsule is available for $299 and the 3TB for $499. There’s no mention of new features besides storage capacities.
In addition, Apple has made a few changes to their promotional pages for AirPort Extreme. This leads me to believe that the  device has also received an update. However,  no details on spec changes have been revealed. Pricing for the AirPort Extreme remains the same at $179.

Best Buy Offers $100 Store Gift Card with Purchase of a New Mac

Apple's Back to School Promotion

Apple recently announced their annual “Back to School” promotion. Usually, Apple offers a free iPod touch with a purchase of a new Mac during this promotion but this year they decided to do something different. This year, Apple is offering  a $100 App Store Gift Card with the purchase of a qualifying Mac.

When you buy a new qualifying Mac with Apple education pricing* from June 16, 2011, through September 20, 2011, you’ll get a $100 Back to School Card to use on the Mac App Store, the App Store, the iTunes Store, and the iBookstore.

However, if you are disappointed with the new offering (like myself), Best Buy is offering an alternative. Best Buy is offering a $100 Best Buy gift card to the same qualifying customers. Not only can this gift card be used to purchase an iTunes gift card, but also for any other item in store!  This isn’t an advertised promotion, so customers will have to ask for it specifically.

In order to be eligible, you must be a college student, student accepted to college, parent of college student or faculty/staff at any grade level.  Qualifying  Macs are  the MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac Pro. The promotion from offer is valid until September 20th, 2011, but there’s no word on how long Best Buy will be offering this for.