Archive for the ‘MacOS’ Category

New automation features are coming to macOS in Shortcuts—but not for every app

April 19th, 2019
A few examples of "Shortcuts" that can be applied to Siri with iOS 12.

Enlarge / A few examples of "Shortcuts" that can be applied to Siri with iOS 12. (credit: Apple)

According to a report at 9to5mac citing people familiar with Apple’s plans, several iOS features will come to the Mac in macOS 10.15.

First and foremost among these is Shortcuts, the automation application that Apple built out of its acquisition of Workflow. The app, support for which was introduced in iOS 12, allows iPhone and iPad users to define steps for their devices to perform when they deliver certain user-definable Siri voice commands, tap user-created home screen icons, and so on.

Shortcuts is tightly integrated with Siri, and it was positioned by Apple as a way to make Siri much more powerful than it has been previously. Third-party app developers could develop their own Shortcuts and accompanying Siri commands that could be accessed across the operating system.

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Posted in apple, Automator, iOS, MacOS, screen time, shortcuts, Siri, Tech, WWDC, WWDC 2019 | Comments (0)

Two reports describe major new iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 features

April 16th, 2019
The front of the 2019 iPad Air

Enlarge / The front of the 2019 iPad Air. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Two reports by Guilherme Rambo at 9to5Mac citing "people familiar with the development" of both macOS 10.15 and iOS 13 may have revealed some notable new features in Apple's operating systems for Macs, iPhones, and iPads.

In the first report, published yesterday, Rambo describes new additions in iOS 13, which has long been expected to be a major release after iOS 12 was focused on improving performance and reliability.

The report says that iPads running iOS 13 will support multiple windows: "Each window will also be able to contain sheets that are initially attached to a portion of the screen but can be detached with a drag gesture, becoming a card that can be moved around freely." Users will be able to stack the cards or dismiss them with a gesture.

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Posted in iOS, iOS 13, ipad, iphone, Mac, MacOS, macOS 10.15, Tech | Comments (0)

Apple releases iOS 12.2 with support for News+ service, new AirPods

March 25th, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple News+.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook announcing Apple News+.

Apple quietly pushed out a lengthy iOS software update today. While the day was largely dominated by Apple's "It's Show Time" event in which the iPhone maker announced news, gaming, and TV subscription services, it just released updates that will help users get settled with some of the new announcements.

Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ won't be available until the fall, so iOS 12.2's biggest updates revolve around Apple News+. The company's new, $10-per-month news and magazine subscription service requires an update to the existing News app, which brings the UI for top articles and magazine issues chosen by Apple editors. The updated News app will also allow subscribers to read content offline and receive personalized recommendations based on topics that are most interesting to them.

iOS 12.2 also adds support for Apple's newest AirPods, which carry the new H1 chip that lets wearers call upon Siri without touching the AirPods first. The update also lets users summon Siri from iPhones or iPads to play any video, show, movie, sports game, or channel on their Apple TVs, essentially extending Siri's role on mobile devices as a virtual remote for the Apple TV.

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Posted in animoji, apple, Apple Arcade, Apple News, Apple TV, iOS, MacOS, Siri, software update, Tech | Comments (0)

Microsoft ships antivirus for macOS as Windows Defender becomes Microsoft Defender

March 21st, 2019

Microsoft is bringing its Windows Defender anti-malware application to macOS—and more platforms in the future—as it expands the reach of its Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) platform. To reflect the new cross-platform nature, the suite is also being renamed to Microsoft Defender ATP, with the individual clients being labelled "for Mac" or "for Windows."

Microsoft Defender ATP for Mac will initially focus on traditional signature-based malware scanning.

Microsoft Defender ATP for Mac will initially focus on traditional signature-based malware scanning.

macOS malware is still something of a rarity, but it's not completely unheard of. Ransomware for the platform was found in 2016, and in-the-wild outbreaks of other malicious software continue to be found. Apple has integrated some malware protection into macOS, but we've heard from developers on the platform that Mac users aren't always very good at keeping their systems on the latest point release. This situation is particularly acute in corporate environments; while Windows has a range of tools to ensure that systems are kept up-to-date and alert administrators if they fall behind, a similar ecosystem hasn't been developed for macOS.

One would hope that Defender for Mac will also trap Windows malware to prevent Mac users from spreading malware to their Windows colleagues.

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Posted in apple, cloud, Defender, MacOS, malware, microsoft, security, Tech | Comments (0)

Google Discloses Unpatched ‘High-Severity’ Flaw in Apple macOS Kernel

March 4th, 2019
Cybersecurity researcher at Google's Project Zero division has publicly disclosed details and proof-of-concept exploit of a high-severity security vulnerability in macOS operating system after Apple failed to release a patch within 90 days of being notified. Discovered by Project Zero researcher Jann Horn and demonstrated by Ian Beer, the vulnerability resides in the way macOS XNU kernel

Posted in Apple Mac OS X, Apple macOS Mojave, hacking macos, hacking news, MacOS, macos exploit, macos hacking, malware | Comments (0)

Apple reportedly planning to combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by 2021

February 20th, 2019
Apple reportedly planning to combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by 2021

Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

A new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggests that Apple is serious about combining apps across the iOS and macOS App Stores. The iPhone make is reportedly planning on expanding Project Marzipan, a multistep initiative that will allow developers to create an app only once and have it work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. Apple may reveal the first steps of this program as early as June 2019 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

We first heard about Marzipan back in 2017, but this is the first hint of Apple's tentative schedule for its rollout and application. The company may debut an SDK later this year that will allow developers to port iPad apps to Mac computers. While they will still have to submit two separate apps to the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store, the SDK reportedly makes it so developers only have to write the underlying code once.

By next year, Apple plans to expand the SDK to include iPhone apps, meaning developers could port iPhone apps to Macs in the same way. By 2021, developers may be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps, creating one application that works across all of those Apple devices (what the report calls a "single binary"). At this stage, developers will not have to submit multiple versions of apps to different app stores—and Apple may be able to merge its separate stores into one, all-encompassing app store.

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Posted in apple, iOS, ios apps, ipad, iphone, Mac, Mac Pro, MacOS, project marzipan, Tech | Comments (0)

Clever trick uses Windows executable file to install malicious payload on Macs

February 11th, 2019
A laptop monitor warns of an impending encounter with malware.

Enlarge (credit: Christiaan Colen / Flickr)

Malware pushers are experimenting with a novel way to infect Mac users that runs executable files that normally execute only on Windows computers.

The files and folders found inside a DMG file that promised to install Little Snitch.

The files and folders found inside a DMG file that promised to install Little Snitch. (credit: Trend Micro)

Researchers from antivirus provider Trend Micro made that discovery after analyzing an app available on a Torrent site that promised to install Little Snitch, a firewall application for macOS. Stashed inside the DMG file was an EXE file that delivered a hidden payload. The researchers suspect the routine is designed to bypass Gatekeeper, a security feature built into macOS that requires apps to be code-signed before they can be installed. EXE files don’t undergo this verification, because Gatekeeper only inspects native macOS files.

“We suspect that this specific malware can be used as an evasion technique for other attack or infection attempts to bypass some built-in safeguards such as digital certification checks, since it is an unsupported binary executable in Mac systems by design,” Trend Micro researchers Don Ladores and Luis Magisa wrote. “We think that the cybercriminals are still studying the development and opportunities from this malware bundled in apps and available in torrent sites, and therefore we will continue investigating how cybercriminals can use this information and routine.”

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Posted in Biz & IT, GateKeeper, MacOS, malware, trojans, windows executables | Comments (0)

Apple pushes fix for “FacePalm,” possibly its creepiest vulnerability ever

February 7th, 2019
Apple pushes fix for “FacePalm,” possibly its creepiest vulnerability ever

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple has patched one of its creepiest vulnerabilities ever—a flaw in its FaceTime messenger app that made it possible for people to eavesdrop on audio and video captured by iPhones and Macs.

The bug in Group FaceTime, a feature that allows conference-call-style chats, made it trivial for someone to eavesdrop on someone else simply by initiating a FaceTime call, swiping up and choosing “add person,” and entering their own number to add themselves as a participant in a Group FaceTime call. While people on the receiving end would see a call was coming through, they would have no idea that the person trying to connect could already hear nearby audio and, in many cases, see video.

Apple security under the microscope

Privacy advocates and ordinary users were shocked when details of the eavesdropping vulnerability first broke 10 days ago. When it emerged that the bug was discovered by a 14-year-old and that Apple had failed to act following multiple emails sent by the teen’s mother, people demanded answers. Since then, New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched a probe into the incident, according to Reuters. Some critics now refer to the bug as FacePalm.

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Posted in apple, Biz & IT, eavesdropping, FaceTime, iOS, MacOS, vulnerabilities | Comments (0)

Apple releases macOS 10.14.3, iOS 12.1.3, watchOS 5.1.3, and tvOS 12.1.2

January 22nd, 2019
A software update in macOS Mojave.

Enlarge / A software update in macOS Mojave. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple pushed software updates for macOS and iOS today. They are minor releases that simply offer a few bug fixes and security updates, with no new features—and there are no new features in any of the beta releases for these versions of the operating systems, either.

iOS 12.1.3 fixes a scrolling bug in Messages, an iPad Pro-specific audio bug, and a graphical error in some photos, and it addresses some CarPlay disconnects experienced by owners of the three new iPhone models released in late 2018. It also fixes two minor bugs related to the company's HomePod smart speaker.

Apple's release notes for iOS 12.1.3 are as follows:

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Posted in apple, iOS, iOS 12, iOS 12.1.3, MacOS, macOS 10.14 Mojave, macOS 10.14.3, Tech | Comments (0)

Four months after its debut, sneaky Mac malware went undetected by AV providers

December 21st, 2018
Screenshot of virus-detecting program.

Enlarge / A screenshot of VirusTotal showing only two AV providers detected malware, four weeks after it was outed. (credit: Patrick Wardle)

Four months after a mysterious group was outed for a digital espionage operation that used novel techniques to target Mac users, its macOS malware samples continued to go undetected by most antivirus providers, a security researcher reported on Thursday.

Windshift is what researchers refer to as an APT—short for "advanced persistent threat"—that surveils individuals in the Middle East. The group operated in the shadows for two years until August, when Taha Karim, a researcher at security firm DarkMatter, profiled it at the Hack in the Box conference in Singapore. Slides, a brief description, and a report from Forbes are here, here and here, respectively.

A few things make Windshift stand out among APTs, Karim reported in August. One is how rarely the group infects its targets with malware. Instead, it relies on links inside phishing emails and SMS text messages to track the locations, online habits, and other traits of the targets. Another unusual characteristic: in the extremely rare cases Windshift uses Mac malware to steal documents or take screenshots of targets' desktops, it relies on a novel technique to bypass macOS security defenses. (The above-linked Forbes article has more on how this technique, known as a custom URL scheme, allows attacker-controlled sites to automatically install their malware on targeted Macs.)

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Posted in antivirus, apple, Biz & IT, MacOS, Macs, malware | Comments (0)