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  1. Mozilla takes first step in pulling Firefox plug on macOS Mavericks, Yosemite and El Capitan Beginning next week, Mozilla plans to automatically move users running older versions of macOS to the Firefox Extended Support Release, a version of the browser that provides security updates only. Magdalena Petrova/IDG Mozilla this week announced it would automatically move users running outdated versions of macOS to the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR), an edition that provides security updates only. The move, a first step towards dropping all support, will take place June 30, when Mozilla releases Firefox 78. On that date, users of Firefox still running OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10 (Yosemite) and 10.11 (El Capitan) on their Macs will instead be shunted to the extended channel and given 78.0 ESR. While that and Firefox 78 will be identical, when the latter shifts to version 79 four weeks later, ERS will remain at 78, increased to 78.1 to mark its first security update. Firefox ESR and its limited feature changes were designed for enterprises that valued stability over sexy new functionality. Mozilla has used it before to wind down support for aged operating systems; three years ago, it pushed users who relied on Windows XP or Windows Vista onto Firefox 52 ESR. For the next year, Mozilla will deliver security updates to Firefox 78 ERS running on Mavericks, Yosemite and El Capitan. In July 2021, those patches will stop and anyone stuck on one of those versions of OS X will be taking risks if they're browsing with Firefox. Apple abandoned those flavors of OS X some time ago. The last security update for El Capitan, the youngest of the three, was in July 2018. By tradition, Apple supports only the three latest versions with security updates. Currently, the trio in support are Catalina (10.15), Mojave (10.14) and High Sierra (10.13) from 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Other browsers continue to work on some older Apple operating systems. Although Google shut down Chrome running on Mavericks in 2018, the browser remains supported on Macs running Yosemite and El Capitan. More information about Mozilla moving some Mac users to the ESR build can be found online. Mozilla takes first step in pulling Firefox plug on macOS Mavericks, Yosemite and El Capitan
  2. HandyPAF

    MacYTDL 1.14.3

    A macOS GUI front-end for the youtube-dl video downloader MacYTDL is a macOS GUI front end for youtube-dl, the cross-platform video downloader. It has been developed in AppleScript. The code is not protected and can be opened in Script Editor. MacYTDL is code signed and notarized. Features: Download individual videos and playlists. Download multiple videos separately (in parallel) or in one process (sequentially). Works with all sites supported by youtube-dl. Can cancel individual downloads. Settings for level of youtube-dl feedback, download folder, file format and remuxing format. Batch downloads. Download a text description of the video. Download and embed subtitles in chosen format and language. Download and optionally embed thumbnail images and metadata. Download or extract audio-only files in chosen format. Download selected episodes from ABC iView (Australia) show pages. Optional macOS Service for use in web browsers which copies the current URL, switches to MacYTDL and pastes URL of video to be downloaded. All components downloaded and/or installed by MacYTDL, which can be controlled by the user. Component updates available in the app. A separate log file is retained for each download enabling problem solving if a download fails. Has a built-in uninstaller which moves all components to Trash. Includes a range of simple utilities. Is 64-bit and so runs in macOS 10.15 Catalina. ====================================================================== Changelog: Version 1.14.3 – FFmpeg update/install fix again FFmpeg should now reliably install or update. Users with system language set to German or Italian might notice some dialogs are translated from English. This indicates under-the-hood work to implement localization. Please send raise an issue is this causes any problems. ------------------------------ Requirements: macOS 10.10 or later ====================================================================== Home: https://github.com/section83/MacYTDL Download: 9.6 MB https://github.com/section83/MacYTDL/releases/download/1.14.3/MacYTDL-v1.14.3.dmg
  3. Dr.Web Security Space is an advanced security application that comes packed with several protection modules for fighting against all sorts of threats that may comprise your computer’s stability and performance. It offers support for antivirus, protection against spam and phishing websites, parental control, remote antivirus network options, firewall (you may choose to deploy it on your PC during the installation process), identification of malicious URLs via its personal cloud servers, backups, and blocking mode for removable devices. Some of the most notable antivirus technologies offered by Dr.Web Security Space help you detect viruses, malware, and other types of threats in real time, automatically update virus definitions, proactively block viruses, as well as discover spam emails and filter messages in real time. Dr.Web Security Space for Windows for 3 months Dr.Web Anti-virus for MacOS for 3 months Dr.Web Anti-virus for Linux for 3 months Giveaway: link https://www.comss.ru/page.php?id=5299 Obtaining a license for 3 months 1. To use Dr.Web Antivirus free 3 months, go to the respective product download page: https://www.comss.ru/download/page.php?id=5299 2. On the product page, click Download for 3 months and enter your email address. 3. Confirm your email address after receiving the letter and complete the registration for demolitsenzii Dr.Web for 3 months. conditions proposals You get a trial version (demolitsenziyu) for 3 months free of charge (demoperiod). Validity demolitsenzii starts with the activation code received. Free use of the software Dr.Web for demoperioda guaranteed only if the user agrees to receive service messages about the status of the license. In the case of non-receipt of these messages demolitsenziya blocked, and the following license for examination can be received only nine months after the opt-out
  4. Slow Ring Office Insiders on macOS get new features for Excel and Outlook As another month starts, Microsoft is rolling out a new build of the Office suite of apps to users in the Slow Ring of the Insider program on macOS. Following up on last month's updates, this release comes with version number 16.37, and it brings a few new features to Excel and Outlook. For Excel, there's a new feature that lets users add data from an image to spreadsheet. Essentially, if you take a picture or screenshot of a table with data, Excel can recognize the data in the image and put it into a spreadsheet in text form. Additionally, Microsoft is bringing back Click to Add mode, which was last seen in Excel 2011 for macOS. Microsoft says this was the fifth most requested featured on UserVoice, so it should be good news for plenty of users. On Outlook, it's now possible to use voice dictation to write messages using the new Dictate button. There's also a new capability that lets users create actionable messages, so that users can interact with those messages directly from Outlook. These actions can include leaving comments on a document or event. Finally, there's a small update for PowerPoint, which includes a new search box for finding content in a PowerPoint presentation. The updates should be rolling out right now, so some users may already have it, while others may have to wait a little longer. They should also make their way to non-Insiders sometime soon. Source: Slow Ring Office Insiders on macOS get new features for Excel and Outlook (Neowin)
  5. SteamVR will no longer be supported on Apple's macOS Today Valve Corporation announced that it is ending its support for macOS on its virtual reality gaming platform, SteamVR. Valve stated that the move was made so that it could focus on the other platforms that the virtual reality software is available on - Windows and Linux. The announcing post on Steam was rather short and did not give away much else. It stated: "SteamVR has ended OSX support so our team can focus on Windows and Linux. We recommend that OSX users continue to opt into the SteamVR [macos] branches for access to legacy builds. Users can opt into a branch by right-clicking on SteamVR in Steam, and selecting Properties... -> Betas." SteamVR made its debut on Linux and was first brought to Apple's OSX - or macOS as it is now known - roughly three years ago. After expanding support to Microsoft's technology, it enabled compatibility with plenty of other headsets eventually. After dropping macOS support, the VR software is still available on Windows and Linux. A comprehensive list of compatible headsets for SteamVR can be found on its official page on Steam. Source: SteamVR will no longer be supported on Apple's macOS (Neowin)
  6. Making macOS run well on ARM processors isn’t the hard part Less surprise will mean more delight Mark Gurman at Bloomberg has the confirmation we’ve all be waiting for: Apple will reportedly use a 12-core 5nm ARM processor in a 2021 Mac. There’s plenty of time to work out the details, but getting both the rollout and the technical side of this transition right won’t be easy. We watched a generation of pretty bad Windows 10 ARM laptops come out. Then we got the excellent Surface Pro X, which still has very aggravating software compatibility gotchas. The forthright and direct way Apple handled the last Mac processor architecture switch — from PowerPC to Intel — went really well. Though I’ll admit it’s easy to say that now that the complications of that switch are so far behind us. Still, as I remember it everybody knew what to expect, knew it would take a minute, and was so eager for the switch that they were willing to deal with the hassles it caused. If you haven’t ever watched Steve Jobs’ 2005 announcement of the Intel switch for Macs, I highly recommend it. He makes a strong case for the transition’s necessity, lays out the benefits for users, details how it’s going to happen, and makes some jokes in the process. He’s not trying to hide the rabbit, he just explains that Apple hadn’t been able to make the computers it wanted to make on the old PowerPC chips. Making these new ARM chips that Gurman has detailed must be a huge, multi-year effort, but it will all be for naught if the software doesn’t run well — or at all — on them. And even then, the truth is that just porting macOS and Apple’s own apps over to ARM isn’t the hard part. The hard part is clearly communicating to users and developers what the change will mean to them — and providing them with tools to deal with it. What software will work, won’t work, and will work slowly via emulation? What will developers need to do in order to port their apps over? Will porting an app to ARM even be worth the effort and cost? Apple does not like pre-announcing anything, but I’m not sure how you effectuate a whole damn processor transition without giving developers a heads up. In fact, I think it would be utter madness to not give developers a heads-up as early as possible. Apple was willing to pre-announce and share some basic information on its Mac Pro plans well ahead of that release, so there’s recent precedent for pre-announcing. This year’s WWDC would have been a great time to do it, but who knows if the online-only version of it will change that plan (if it was, you know, the plan). Certainly many developers would benefit from one-on-one time with Apple’s engineers once the transition is official. That’s just the communication and release strategy. When it comes to the actual technical solutions, I am sure that there are no easy answers, either. Windows on ARM has performance issues with emulated apps and straight-up availability issues with apps that don’t work with its emulation. It’s entirely possible that Mac on ARM could face similar problems. And while I am sure Apple was hoping Catalyst apps would be a piece of the puzzle, to date they’ve been quite disappointing. Even with a massive turnaround, they would be need to be just one of many strategies for getting fast apps on the new ARM-based macOS. There will surely need to be some sort of emulation layer for Intel-based apps. And I have to assume that the many developer tools Apple has been pushing lately (like Swift) will smooth the transition for app makers. Even so, there’s a lot of work ahead for Apple and also for app developers, who will have to contend with this new processor architecture at some point. Hopefully that work will also come with new opportunities. I would love nothing more than to not hear anybody (including myself) complain that Adobe apps are either unavailable or painfully slow because there are so many great, native-ARM alternatives. There are more questions than answers, and until we get a better sense of what Apple is planning for software compatibility it’s hard to even say what the right answers would be in the first place. So the best I can do is offer some some very unsolicited advice: don’t be afraid to Osborne your current Macs, Apple. You’ve got the cash. Announce as early as you can and go all-out to support developers big and small. If you want to avoid the stigma Windows faced (and still faces) with its ARM version, make sure that macOS on ARM absolutely flies. Then take whatever investment you’re making in developer tools and developer relations and double it. There’s a marketing term called “surprise and delight.” I’m sure you’ve heard it. When it comes to switching the Mac to ARM, I’d suggest forgetting about the surprise part — it’ll make it that much harder to get everybody to the delight part. Source: Making macOS run well on ARM processors isn’t the hard part (The Verge)
  7. Facebook launches new Messenger app for Windows and macOS During the F8 developer conference last year, Facebook promised to bring a new Messenger app to desktop devices, both on macOS and Windows 10. The Windows 10 version of the app has been in public beta testing for some time, and the macOS variant was spotted in some regions last month, but today, the new Messenger is officially available on both platforms. The goal of the new app is to bring over most of the features of the mobile Messenger apps, and wrap them in a package that looks and feels more native to each platform. The previous Windows 10 app was based on an old version of the iOS app, and the design was somewhat out of place on Windows. [Video here ... ] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=237772287272154 The new app does pretty much what you'd expect it to do, including group video calls and, of course, message syncing across devices. It also supports dark mode, which only made its way to the mobile apps somewhat recently. If you're interested, you can download the new Messenger app from the Microsoft Store or the Mac App Store, depending on your platform of choice. Source: Facebook launches new Messenger app for Windows and macOS (Neowin)
  8. By Sara Morrison @ Recode Macs aren’t as safe as they used to be. Here’s how to protect yourself. Think your Apple product is safe from malware? That only people using Windows machines have to take precautions? According to cybersecurity software company Malwarebytes’ latest State of Malware report, it’s time to think again. The amount of malware on Macs is outpacing PCs for the first time ever, and your complacency could be your worst enemy. “People need to understand that they’re not safe just because they’re using a Mac,” Thomas Reed, Malwarebytes’ director of Mac and mobile and contributor to the report, told Recode. Windows machines still dominate the market share and tend to have more security vulnerabilities, which has for years made them the bigger and easier target for hackers. But as Apple’s computers have grown in popularity, hackers appear to be focusing more of their attention on the versions of macOS that power them. Malwarebytes said there was a 400 percent increase in threats on Mac devices from 2018 to 2019, and found an average of 11 threats per Mac devices, which about twice the 5.8 average on Windows. “There is a rising tide of Mac threats hitting a population that still believes that ‘Macs don’t get viruses,’” Reed said. “I still frequently encounter people who firmly believe this, and who believe that using any kind of security software is not necessary, or even harmful. This makes macOS a fertile ground for the influx of new threats, whereas it’s common knowledge that Windows PCs need security software.” Now, this isn’t quite as bad as it may appear. First of all, as Malwarebytes notes, the increase in threats could be attributable to an increase in Mac devices running its software. That makes the per-device statistic a better barometer. In 2018, there were 4.8 threats per Mac device, which means the per-device number has more than doubled. That’s not great, but it’s not as bad as that 400 percent increase. Also, the report says, the types of threats differ between operating systems. While Windows devices were more prone to “traditional” malware, the top 10 Mac threats were adware and what are known as “potentially unwanted programs.” Adware typically redirects users to websites with ads on them or throws pop-up ads in front of their intended internet destination. Those may not be as “dangerous,” as the report says. They are becoming a “noticeable nuisance,” and some of them are able to track your activity, making them a privacy issue as well. Potentially unwanted programs are apps that are often downloaded along with software you actually want or come pre-installed on your device. The most frequently detected of these came in the form of “system optimizers” that, ironically enough, often pitch themselves to Mac users as adware removers (for a price). Even though Google is a relative newcomer in the operating system business, it has its own set of problems. Malwarebytes found malware pre-installed on some phones running its Android operating system as well as third-party apps that came infected with adware. This is a known issue with Android phones, although as we’ve pointed out before, the security of these devices isn’t always entirely in Google’s control, since Android is an open source platform. As for Apple’s iOS platform, which is used in its mobile devices, the new Malwarebytes report noted that there is currently “no way” to scan for malware but that it is known to exist — mostly in targeted attacks by nation-states, which is not something the average user has to worry about. What can you do about malware if you’re a Mac user? A few things. “People need to understand that they’re not safe just because they’re using a Mac,” Reed said. “They need to exercise care about what they click on, what apps they download — and from where — and who they allow to have access to their computers.” A big factor in the Mac malware increase might be down to one piece of adware called NewTab. As 9to5 Mac pointed out, there were almost 30 million downloads of the NewTab adware app on Mac devices in 2019 alone. This is typically downloaded onto devices by posing as an app or browser extension that will track package deliveries or flights. Reed also recommended against installing Adobe Flash Player. “Fake Flash installers are one of the top methods for getting malware installed on a Mac,” he said. In general, if you’ve downloaded malware, you can try removing it manually or, if you’re less comfortable messing around with your computer’s settings, get a security program that will do it for you. As always, practice good password hygiene, as one machine was infected because the hacker gained remote access by using a password that was exposed in a password breach. That’s one of many reasons to use different passwords for your accounts and change them on a regular basis. Of course, downloading anti-virus software never hurts. Malwarebytes will sell you some of that, as will many other companies. Just make sure the one you choose is a trusted source. And always be wary of free software — it’s never really free. Source
  9. Rocket League is dropping Mac, Linux because of crazy-low player counts [Updated] "0.3% of all active players" stat comes after vague explanation last week. Enlarge Epic Games For anyone who clings to Linux or MacOS as a preferred gaming platform, Epic Games and Psyonix offered a rare kind of bad news on Thursday. The companies confirmed that their mega-hit game Rocket League would no longer receive updates for either platform following a "final" patch for all non-Windows versions on PC coming in "early March." This "end-of-life" version of Rocket League on Linux and MacOS will still function in a wholly offline state, and affected players will be able to access whatever cosmetics and add-ons they'd previously earned through the game's economy system (but no more new ones). Additionally, those platforms will be able to use Steam Workshop content, but only if it's downloaded and applied to the game before the March patch goes live. Otherwise, if any function in the game connects even in the slightest to the Internet—from item shops to matchmaking to private matches to friends lists—it will stop working once the March patch goes live, and any future modes, maps, or other game-changing content won't come to their platforms, either. The announcement suggests that MacOS users buy a Windows OS license and run future online versions of Rocket League through Apple Boot Camp. It also suggests that Linux players should try Steam Proton or Wine to do the same thing. "These tools are not officially supported by Psyonix," the guide points out. Psyonix's announcement vaguely places the blame for this upcoming change on "adapting to use new technologies," which "has made it more difficult to support macOS and Linux (SteamOS)." Nothing else in the article clarifies what those technologies might be. Thus, the developers at Psyonix leave this decision wide open to speculation, particularly about whether the studio's May 2019 acquisition by Epic Games factors into the decision. At the time of that acquisition, in an attempt to abate fans' worries about Epic Games Store exclusivity, the companies announced that existing game owners "will still be able to play Rocket League on Steam with all of the content they've previously purchased." Today's news for MacOS and Linux owners includes a similar promise of "previously purchased" content working after the patch otherwise shuts down access to future online content. The Epic Games Store launcher and its mega-popular free-to-play game Fortnite have yet to receive a Linux port, but both executables come in a MacOS flavor. We're not sure if the same "new technologies" in question will ever affect Fortnite, which has been built in Unreal Engine 4, as opposed to RL's use of Unreal Engine 3. This news differs from the usual question of whether an in-development game will or will not work on non-Windows platforms. We can't think of many popular games that have worked on Linux and MacOS and then had that perk removed. That said, it's not hard to find developers who might defend dumping support for non-Windows platforms, whether because MacOS has waved goodbye to 32-bit support or because customer-support tickets for Linux players are allegedly quite disproportionate to the platform's sales. This news comes long after Valve's vocal efforts to create a Linux-only SteamOS slowed and while Google is reigniting the conversation by requiring Linux and Vulkan support for all its Stadia streaming titles. Update, January 27: In the days since this announcement, Psyonix has issued a more technical breakdown of the reason for this March 2020 change. Rocket League's update roadmap includes plans to jump from DirectX 9 to DirectX 11 and plans to update from a 32-bit executable to a 64-bit one. The DirectX jump seems to be the stickier point: To keep these versions functional, we would need to invest significant additional time and resources in a replacement rendering pipeline such as Metal on macOS or Vulkan/OpenGL4 on Linux. We'd also need to invest perpetual support to ensure new content and releases work as intended on those replacement pipelines. And that's when the team was frank with its non-Windows players: they only make up 0.3% of "active" players. "Given that, we cannot justify the additional and ongoing investment in developing native clients for those platforms, especially when viable workarounds exist like Bootcamp or Wine to keep those users playing." Psyonix didn't define what "active" meant, nor whether that percentage was for all Rocket League players (including consoles) or only its PC playerbase. This statement came as part of an official refund offer to affected Linux and MacOS players, so long as they follow a specific series of steps to request their money back. Source: Rocket League is dropping Mac, Linux because of crazy-low player counts [Updated] (Ars Technica)
  10. Apple on Wednesday took the next step in pulling the plug on the once-prolific Adobe Flash. Apple on Wednesday took the next step in pulling the plug on the once-prolific Adobe Flash. With the latest release of Safari Technology Preview, Flash is no longer supported. Introduced in 2016, Safari Technology Preview gives users an early look at upcoming web technologies in macOS and iOS. It's a standalone app that works alongside the latest version of Safari. The death of Adobe Flash has been years in the making. Back in 2017, Adobe announced it would stop supporting Flash by 2020. Along with Apple, Microsoft, Google and Mozilla all announced their plans for retiring the technology in their respective browsers. Flash was once ubiquitous on the web -- the Flash runtime was installed 500 million times in the second half of 2013. Apple users, however, have been experiencing the web without Flash for a while. The iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch never supported it. Meanwhile, Apple stopped pre-installing it on Macs in 2010. Source
  11. Apple may have known for months Apple stakes a lot of its reputation on how it protects the privacy of its users, as it wants to be the only tech company you trust. But if you send encrypted emails from Apple Mail, there’s currently a way to read some of the text of those emails as if they were unencrypted — and allegedly, Apple’s known about this vulnerability for months without offering a fix. Before we go any further, you should know this likely only affects a small number of people. You need to be using macOS, Apple Mail, be sending encrypted emails from Apple Mail, not be using FileVault to encrypt your entire system already, and know exactly where in Apple’s system files to be looking for this information. If you were a hacker, you’d need access to those system files, too. Apple tells The Verge it’s aware of the issue and says it will address it in a future software update. The company also says that only portions of emails are stored. But the fact that Apple is still somehow leaving parts of encrypted emails out in the open, when they’re explicitly supposed to be encrypted, obviously isn’t good. The vulnerability was shared by Bob Gendler, an Apple-focused IT specialist, in a Medium blog published on Wednesday. Gendler says that while trying to figure out how macOS and Siri suggest information to users, he found macOS database files that store information from Mail and other apps which are then used by Siri to better suggest information to users. That isn’t too shocking in and of itself — it makes sense that Apple needs to reference and learn from some of your information to provide you better Siri suggestions. But Gendler discovered that one of those files, snippets.db, was storing the unencrypted text of emails that were supposed to be encrypted. Here’s an image he shared that’s helpful to explain what’s going on: The circle on the left is around an encrypted email, which Gendler’s computer is not able to read, because Gendler says he removed the private key which would typically allow him to do so. But in the circle on the right, you can make out the text of that encrypted email in snippets.db. Gendler says he tested the four most recent macOS releases — Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and Sierra — and could read encrypted email text from snippets.db on all of them. I was able to confirm the existence of snippets.db, and found that it stored portions of some of my emails from Apple Mail. I couldn’t find a way to get snippets.db to store encrypted emails I sent to myself, though. Gendler first reported the issue to Apple on July 29th, and he says the company didn’t even offer him a temporary solve until November 5th — 99 days later — despite repeated conversations with Apple about the issue. Even though Apple has updated each of the four versions of macOS where Gendler spotted the vulnerability in the months since he reported it, none of those updates contained a true fix. If you want to stop emails from being collected in snippets.db right now, Apple tells us you can do so by going to System Preferences > Siri > Siri Suggestions & Privacy > Mail and toggling off “Learn from this App.” Apple also provided this solution to Gendler — but he says this temporary solution will only stop new emails from being added to snippets.db. If you want to make sure older emails that may be stored in snippets.db can no longer be scanned, you may need to delete that file, too. If you want to avoid these unencrypted snippets potentially being read by other apps, you can avoid giving apps full disk access in macOS Catalina, according to Apple — and you probably have very few apps with full disk access. Apple also says that turning on FileVault will encrypt everything on your Mac, if you want to be extra safe. Again, this vulnerability probably won’t affect that many people. But if you do rely on Apple Mail and believed your Apple Mail emails were 100 percent encrypted, it seems that they’re not. As Gendler says, “It brings up the question of what else is tracked and potentially improperly stored without you realizing it.” Source: Apple is fixing encrypted email on macOS because it’s not quite as encrypted as we thought (via The Verge)
  12. Devs lament 'trash fire' 'Windows Vista-like' release Comment Amid Apple's attempt to fend off criticism for its removal, restoration, and re-removal of an app used by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, the company is also facing particularly voluble criticism from users of its latest desktop operating system, macOS Catalina. Since at least 2015, developers and other technically-savvy folk have fretted that Apple's software quality isn't what it could be. The gripes reached Apple executives and by 2018, there were reports that company technical leaders were focused on improving quality. To judge by the reception of macOS Catalina, aka macOS 10.15, it appears Apple's quality push was more aspirational than actual. In two posts this week, macOS developer Tyler Hall, from Nashville, Tennessee, savaged Apple's macOS Catalina update, likening it to the reviled Windows Vista and subsequently detailing its many alleged faults. The Register contacted Hall to discuss his concerns, but he declined to comment further. "[T]his has all blown up way more than I ever intended," he said in an email. "And I’ve heard personally from folks inside Apple who I’m friends with and others that I just know by reputation, that my comments were hurtful. I’d rather not say anything else." The Register also asked Apple whether the company would comment on how macOS Catalina has been received and whether user dissatisfaction differed from previous releases. But Apple – and this may not come as a surprise – has not responded. To some extent, dissatisfied users should be expected with any software release. And there's no shortage of these. Apple's macOS Catalina forum is currently full of people reporting problems, and criticizing Apple's quality assurance process. Discontent can be attributed in part to Catalina's removal of support for 32-bit apps, necessary for a possible future transition away from Intel. But there's more to it than that. Experienced macOS users tend to advise waiting a few months for updates and bug fixes before installing a major operating system revision. Even so, macOS Catalina appears to be worse than people's general low expectations for software. Among those discussing Hall's posts on Hacker News, there's quite a bit of support for his concerns. • "I'm sort of surprised that they actually released with the state it is currently in." • "This year all their OSes seem to be riddled with issues at release. iOS 13.0 was so bad they released 13.1 in less than 5 days, but even now many things are still hit and miss (with 13.2 in beta). watchOS 6.0 is also still pretty bad and not yet fixed (with 6.1 in beta). macOS 10.15 GM seems pretty buggy." Sentiment on Twitter isn't much better: Then there are the posts that purport to be from Apple employees and describe the company's internal disarray and lack of communication. The Register is unable to verify who these people might be, but other people posting to the thread confirm that Apple employees they've known have raised similar concerns. In particular, these supposed employees raise the same issue cited by Hall, that Apple's marketing group overrides engineering concerns. As Hall argues, "Apple’s insistence on their annual, big-splash release cycle is fundamentally breaking engineering." Michael Tsai, a macOS software developer who blogged about Apple's software quality problems back in 2015, told The Register in an email that he thought Hall's critique is mostly fair. In Twitter message, developer Steve Troughton-Smith said he didn't have much to say about Catalina. "It's been in a pretty stable state for a while, as far as I know," he said, noting that much of the criticism of the operating system follow from its security and privacy features, which he's disabled on his machine. "I don't think it was premature, I think it's been in roughly the same state for a while," he said. "People were running into problems syncing their Reminders to Mojave from iOS 13 because of the new Reminds app, so it wouldn't surprise me if Apple accelerated Catalina by a couple weeks just to make that problem go away." Even so, Troughton-Smith agreed that Apple's software quality recently has been uneven. "I think they made last year a little better at the expense of this year," he said. "They've been having software quality issues since at least iOS 7 and the switch to [Craig] Federighi." "I think iOS 8, 11, and now 13 have been breaking points. iOS 13 has been the first time the OS didn't make it over the line for the iPhone release. There is a pattern here that may be due to scale/complexity, or management style, but it seems balanced on a knife edge." Source
  13. macOS users targeted with new Tarmac malware Tarmac malware deployed via malvertising campaigns across the US, Italy, and Japan. Security researchers have discovered a new piece of Mac malware; however, some of its purpose and full features will remain a mystery for a little longer. Named Tarmac (OSX/Tarmac), this new malware was distributed to macOS users via online malvertising (malicious ads) campaigns. These malicious ads ran rogue code inside a Mac user's browser to redirect the would-be victim to sites showing popups peddling software updates -- usually for Adobe's Flash Player. Victims who fell for this trick and downloaded the Flash Player update would end up installing a malware duo on their systems -- first the OSX/Shlayer malware, and then OSX/Tarmac, launched by the first. Distributed since January 2019 This malvertising campaign distributing the Shlayer+Tarmac combo started in January this year, according to Taha Karim, a security researcher at Confiant. Confiant published a report about the January 2019 malvertising campaign at the time; however, they only spotted the Shlayer malware, but not Tarmac. But in a follow-up report published two weeks ago, Confiant dug deeper in the -- still ongoing -- malvertising campaign and its payloads. This is how Karim found Tarmac, as a second-stage payload for the initial Shlayer infection. However, the Tarmac versions the researcher identified were relatively old, and the malware's original command and control servers had been shut down -- or most likely moved to a new location. This hindered analysis, as Karim wasn't able to gain a full insight into how Tarmac operated. All that's known at the moment is that after Shlayer downloads and installs Tarmac on infected hosts, Tarmac gathers details about a victim's hardware setup and sends this info to its command and control server. At this point, Tarmac would wait for new commands. But since these servers aren't available, Karim wasn't able to determine the full scope behind Tarmac. In theory, most second-stage malware strains are usually very powerful malware strains, possessing many intrusive features. Tarmac, should, at least in theory, be a very dangerous threat. However, for the time being, the mystery remains. Tarmac distributed to US, Italian, and Japanese users But while Tarmac's full set of features have yet to be uncovered, we do know some details about who may have gotten infected. In an interview today, Karim told ZDNet that the malvertising campaign that distributed the Shlayer and Tarmac combo was geo-targeted at users located in the US, Italy, and Japan. While the US and Japan are regular targets for malvertising and malware campaigns, Italy is somewhat of an odd choice. "We think actors proceed by trial and error, and they might have found a sweet spot in Italy, between the profit they can reap and the level of attention from the security community," Karim told ZDNet. Since Tarmac payloads come signed by legitimate Apple developer certificates, features like Gatekeeper and XProtect won't stop its installation or show any errors. Users and companies looking to see if they've had Mac systems infected by this malware can find indicators of compromise (IoCs) in Karim's Tarmac report. Source: macOS users targeted with new Tarmac malware
  14. Twitter launches new macOS app leveraging Project Catalyst It's been nearly two years since Twitter decided to pull support and availability of its app from the Mac App Store in a move that the company said would see it "focusing our efforts on a great Twitter experience that's consistent across platforms". Since then, we have seen Twitter turn its attention to its Progressive Web App (PWA), including a new experience for desktop users visiting the website. However, thanks to Project Catalyst, iOS apps can now be ported over to macOS, although the process is not easy according to reported feedback from developers. While Netflix is believed to have passed on using Catalyst to port its iOS app, Twitter announced back in June that it would be bringing back Twitter for Mac using Project Catalyst for macOS Catalina. Now, for those who have been waiting for an official Twitter client for macOS to return, that day has come. In its prior announcement, the company said: "The new Twitter for Mac app will use our existing iOS codebase, rather than being built from a separate codebase, following the same successful strategy we've used with Web to expand our supported clients. By supporting key Mac-specific behaviors on top of our iOS code, we will be able to maintain feature parity across our iOS and Mac apps with relatively low long term maintenance costs." The app also includes support for Dark Mode and will toggle based on the setting currently applied in the operating system settings and should present a similar user interface for those who have previously used the Twitter app on iPad. If you're keen to download the Twitter for Mac app right now, you can download it from the App Store here at no charge but it may still be deploying to regional Mac App Stores as of the time of writing. Source: Twitter launches new macOS app leveraging Project Catalyst (Neowin)
  15. Up to 40,000 macOS systems expose a particular port online that can be abused for pretty big DDoS attacks. DDoS-for-hire services, also known as DDoS booters, or DDoS stressors, are abusing macOS systems to launch DDoS attacks, ZDNet has learned. These attacks are leveraging macOS systems where the Apple Remote Desktop feature has been enabled, and the computer is accessible from the internet, without being located inside a local network, or protected by a firewall. More specifically, the attackers are leveraging the Apple Remote Management Service (ARMS) that is a part of the Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) feature. When users enable the Remote Desktop capability on their macOS systems, the ARMS service starts on port 3283 and listens for incoming commands meant for the remote Mac. Huge "amplification factor" But sometime this year, cyber-criminals have realized that they can abuse the ARMS service as part of a so-called "DDoS amplification attack." DDoS amplification attacks are one of the many forms of DDoS attacks. It's when attackers bounce traffic off an intermediary point and relay it towards a victim's server. In this case, that intermediary point is a macOS system with Remote Desktop enabled. Protocols like DNS, NTP, CharGEN, Memcached, NetBIOS, CLDAP, and LDAP are often abused as part of DDoS amplification attacks. CoAP and WS-Discovery are just the latest protocols to have joined this list. Most of these protocols are UDP-based, where UDP is a type of network packet used as the base for the other, more complex protocols. ARMS is also a UDP-based protocol. The danger level for any of the above protocol is what security researchers call the "amplification factor," which describes the ratio between a packet before and after it bounces off towards its target. Most DDoS amplification attacks observed in the wild have an amplification factor of between 5 and 10. The higher the protocol, the more useful it is for attackers. According to security researchers from Netscout, who saw the first ARMS-based DDoS attacks in June, ARMS commands an impressive 35.5 amplification factor. Furthermore, while there've been other protocols with big amplification factors in the past, most of them are oddities and rarely used protocols, making them unusable for attackers. Most of today's DDoS amplification attacks rely on DNS and NTP, which even if they have a small amplification factor, there's plenty of servers to go around that attackers can use to amplify their bad traffic. Up to 40,000 macOS expose ARD/ARMS ports However, ARMS is different, in the sense that this is the worst-case scenario, where we have a big amplification factor protocol that's available on a large number of hosts that attackers can abuse. A search with the BinaryEdge IoT search engine shows nearly 40,000 macOS systems where the Remote Desktop feature is enabled, and the systems reachable via the internet. Some attacks peaked at 70 Gbps It is unclear who discovered that the ARMS service could be abused for DDoS amplification attacks, but attacks have already happened in the real world. Netscout spotted the first one in the second week of June. The company said the attack peaked at 70 Gbps, which is a pretty large attack. Other attacks followed, as observed by the Keyo University Shonan Fujisawa Campus in Japan, and by Italian systems administrator Marco Padovan. But while initial attacks were sparse, they're now starting to pick up, according to a source in the DDoS community. The main reason is that some DDoS booters have added support for launching attacks via this protocol, this source told ZDNet. This means that macOS systems across the globe are now being used as bouncing points for DDoS attacks. These systems should not be reachable via the internet According to an analysis of the BinaryEdge search results, the vast majority of these systems are on university and enterprise networks, where system administrators use the Apple Remote Desktop feature to manage large fleets of macOS systems, at a time. These systems should not be available online, and if they need to be, then access should be restricted using Virtual Private Networks or IP whitelists. The Apple Remote Desktop feature is the direct equivalent of Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). In the past, hackers have brute-forced RDP endpoints to gain access to corporate networks, from where they stole proprietary information, or have installed ransomware. Similar to how crooks target companies with RDP systems exposed online, they can do the same for Mac systems with ARD. Admins of macOS fleets should probably secure ARD endpoints to prevent these types of attacks first, and DDoS nuisance second. Source
  16. Two years after Firefox Quantum's release, Mozilla devs said they fixed Firefox's battery-draining problem. Mozilla teased today an upcoming update for Firefox on macOS that they say will reduce power consumption by a factor of up to three. The primary beneficiaries of this upcoming update are Macbook users, who can now expect longer battery lives while using Firefox. Firefox's increased battery consumption has been a problem for Mozilla, and a black stain on the Firefox Quantum release -- a revamped, performance-centric version of the older Firefox browser. While Firefox Quantum has received praises for its increased page loading speeds, Macbook users haven't been that delighted, especially when they're mobile and have to rely on the notebook's battery as long as possible. As reported countless of times on Reddit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], HackerNews and various blogs, Firefox Quantum on macOS has been quite the battery hog, making life difficult for users on the go, who, despite loving Firefox, often had to rely on other browsers to avoid draining their batteries. But according to Mozilla engineer Henrik Skupin, Firefox devs have finally made a breakthrough, and believe they fixed Firefox's power consumption on macOS. Skupin said that a current fix for the battery drain issue has been deployed on Firefox Nightly, where it managed to reduce power usage by three times. The fix is expected to land in the stable version of Firefox in late October 2019, with the release of Firefox 70. According to Firefox statistics, nearly 7% of Firefox's 100 million monthly active users are running a macOS version. Not all may be running on Macbooks, but those who are will most likely be interested in giving Firefox another go in the coming months, knowing the browser won't eat away at their battery at a much faster pace than Chrome or Safari. Per a Bugzilla entry, at the technical level, Mozilla engineers managed to cut down Firefox's power consumption by switching browser page rendering operations to Core Animation, the graphics rendering and animation engine that's built into both iOS and macOS. Source
  17. Operating systems are dwindling towards irrelevance, and that’s no bad thing When PC Pro was born nearly 25 years ago, it didn't start life under that name: It entered the world as Windows Magazine. Magazines gathered in little tribes. There was PC Pro, PC Magazine, Computer Shopper and several others all vying for the Windows users, and then there were MacUser and MacFormat trying to tempt the Macolytes. Later on, the Linux mags came along, once the writers had managed to unjam their beards from the printer. There wasn't – with the possible exception of the ultra-snobby Wired – one magazine that served all those audiences, because why would they? What would a Mac owner want to know about the new advances in Windows 98? It just didn't compute. A quarter of a century later, the operating system is on the brink of irrelevance. Nothing much is defined by the OS that you use. You could be running macOS, Windows, Android or iOS, even desktop Linux, and to a large extent your day-to-day work would be unaffected. Files flow freely from one OS to another with compatibility rarely raising its ugly head. Computing's tribes have never rubbed along so harmoniously. This outbreak of peace has had a dramatic effect on the computing landscape, and nowhere more so than at Microsoft. The company's mantra used to be "Windows everywhere"; now it's getting harder to find mention of Windows anywhere. New Windows releases used to be huge staging posts, now they're little more than blog posts. The recent Build conference, once the place where we tech journalists flocked to get a full day's advanced briefing on all the new features in the next version of Windows, barely made mention of the W word, according to those who were there. Microsoft's embrace of Linux and its conversion to the Chromium engine for the Edge browser are based on a realisation that Microsoft failed to grasp for too long: despite those billion or so users, the world doesn't revolve around Windows anymore. It's hard to think of anything but niche software packages that could survive by chaining themselves to a single OS anymore. In the process of researching and writing this column, I've gone from Word on my Windows laptop to finishing it off on the train using Word on my iPad Pro. I read the background articles using Chrome on my Android phone, clipped quotes and notes to OneNote mobile, which I've accessed on the other platforms, and saved the copy itself in Dropbox. Had any of these applications or services been tied to a particular OS, I wouldn't be using them. Twenty years ago, Sun boss Scott McNealy used to lose his rag at every press conference when asked about Windows. "Who cares about operating systems?" he would bellow. "Nobody knows what operating system is running inside their car or their mobile phone," he would argue, in the days before iOS and Android were even conceived. They were, to his mind, an irrelevance. He was wrong at the time, but he would be entitled to say "I told you so" if he were still around to swagger into press conferences now. The OS is dwindling in importance. Like a good football referee, you barely notice it's there at all. Even Microsoft has sussed that the operating system just has to get out of the way, which is why it's worked hard to reduce unwanted interruptions from security software and the dreaded Windows Update. To use the favourite phrase of a former editor, Windows has learned to "just deal with it". While a small part of me misses the tribalism and the pub banter with the smug Mac brigade (they probably had reason to be smug, truth be told), the "anything for an easy life" part of me is relieved. I can pick up almost any device and be confident that it will let me get on with the day job. Only a few specialist apps are tied to a particular machine. Windows doesn't really matter any more – it's a good job we changed PC Pro's name all those years ago. Source
  18. A Real Gatekeeper In the years since Apple released the iPhone, with its “locked-down-by-nature” approach to application security, the company has progressively chipped away at the freedoms Mac developers have historically had to do, more or less, whatever the heck they wanted. With the introduction of the Mac Application Sandbox in 2012, Apple applied an iOS-like mechanism through which applications are entitled only to access their own data, and must explicitly request permission from Apple to access any resources “outside of their own sandbox.” At the time, I wrote that while the technology was promising, it left much to be desired. Around the same time, they introduced Developer ID, a system for certifying at runtime that a given piece of software has been cryptographically signed by a developer whose identity is known to Apple. Applications that are not signed with Developer ID are allowed to run in macOS, but by default are met with a foreboding warning about the safety of doing so. The component of macOS that is responsible for limiting the launch of software from unknown developers is called “Gatekeeper.” Last year, in 2018, Apple introduced a new notarization service, an expansion of Developer ID functionality. Developers submit their applications to Apple, where they are scanned for known malware, and have their use of specific system technologies vetted. The “notarization” on an app allows the system to verify at runtime that a given application passes a baseline safety metric for downloaded software. Finally, in 2019, Apple announced that software signed with Developer ID certificates, that is to say all non-Mac App Store software, must also be notarized. The Catalina 10.15 public beta identifies software that has not been notarized as potentially risky because it “cannot be scanned for malware.” In effect: developers who ship software directly to end-users are now required to notarize their apps. While working on the notarization process for my own apps, and a company I work for, I noticed an interesting error from “altool”, the command line program that is used to submit binaries to Apple for verification: 1 package(s) were not uploaded because they had problems: Error Messages: To use this application, you must first sign in to iTunes Connect and sign the relevant contracts. (1048) The error is easily worked around by logging in to App Store Connect and agreeing to any updates Apple has recently made to their contracts. I’m so used to more-or-less blindly agreeing to these changes, that it didn’t sink in for me at first what a potentially major change this is. My colleague Patrick Machielse noticed right away what the larger implication is: all Mac software, inside or outside of the Mac App Store, can now be held up by unsigned contract agreements with Apple. In a rush to fix a horrible bug and get it out to customers? Better review that new contract ASAP. For the past 35 years, any Mac developer who wanted to ship an update directly to customers could do so by recompiling a binary and distributing it. When macOS 10.15 ships this fall, the status quo will change. Mac developers must register with Apple and sign their products. They must submit their binaries to Apple for notarization. And most significantly of all, they must agree to the terms of Apple’s App Store developer contracts, even if they don’t distribute their apps through the App Store. Source
  19. Apple today released macOS Mojave 10.14.6, the sixth update to the macOS Mojave operating system that first launched in September. macOS Mojave 10.14.6 comes over a month after the release of macOS Mojave 10.14.5, an update that introduced AirPlay 2 support for Smart TVs. macOS Mojave 10.14.6 can be downloaded by going to the "Software Update" section of System Preferences and selecting the Update Now option. According to Apple's release notes the macOS 10.14.6 update introduces several Apple News+ improvements on the Mac. Downloaded issues are available in the My Magazines section of Apple News+, and there's a new option for clearing all downloaded magazine issues to free up space. The update also fixes several bugs, including one that could prevent the creation of a new Boot Camp partition on iMac and Mac mini with Fusion Drive and an issue that could cause a hang during a restart. macOS Mojave 10.14.6 may be one of the final updates to the Mojave operating system as Apple shifts its focus to macOS Catalina, which is set to be released this fall and is currently being beta tested. Source
  20. One of the biggest disadvantages of using pirated software is the increased risk of letting your computer get infected with malware. Cybercriminals often bundle the cracked versions of paid software on piracy websites with adware and cryptominer to earn free cash. So, if you’re installing such programs from unknown sources, the chances of you getting hacked are pretty good. The same attack vector is being used by hackers to distribute a new Mac cryptocurrency miner named Bird Miner. As Malwarebytes’ official blog explains, Bird Miner has been found to be bundled with a cracked installer of a software named Ableton Live, which is a tool for high-end music production. Malwarebytes found that Ableton Live 10’s cracked 2.6 GB installer is available on piracy website VST Crack. Security researchers from the firm became suspicious when they found that Bird Miner’s post installation script was busy copying installed files to new locations with random names. The new files with random names seem to have various functions, including the role of launch daemons. One such daemon launches a shell script called Crax, which makes sure that the malware is hidden from the security researchers. The malware further checks to see if your Mac’s CPU is operating at more than 85 percent load to avoid running the cryptomining script in this case. Bird Miner uses Tiny Core Linux emulation The last piece of the puzzle is the launch of an executable named Nigel, which is an old version of an open source emulator named Qemu. For those who don’t know, Qemu is a terminal-only virtualization software that lets one run Linux packages on non-Linux machines. The Qemu emulator further uses a file named Poaceae, which is a bootable Tiny Core Linux image. Finally, as soon as the Tiny Core system boots up, the xmrig miner starts running to mine the Monero cryptocurrency. The Malwarebytes researchers mention that familiarity with Linux could be the reason why creators of the malware chose the Linux route. This malware further shows why using pirated software increases the chances of getting infected very easily. Source
  21. A security researcher has disclosed a new flaw that undermines a core macOS security feature designed to prevent apps — or malware — from accessing a user’s private data, webcam or microphone without their explicit permission. The privacy protections, recently expanded in macOS Mojave, were meant to make it more difficult for malicious apps to get access to a user’s private information — like their contacts, calendar, location and messages — unless the user clicks ‘allow’ on a popup box. The protections are also meant to prevent apps from switching on a Mac’s webcam and microphone without consent. Apple’s Craig Federighi touted the security features as “one of the reasons people choose Apple” at last year’s WWDC developer conference. But the protections weren’t very good. Those ‘allow’ boxes can be subverted with a maliciously manufactured click. It was previously possible to create artificial or “synthetic” clicks by using macOS’ in-built automation feature AppleScript, or by using mouse keys, which let users — and malware — control the mouse cursor using the numeric pad on the keyboard. After fixing these bugs in previous macOS versions, Apple’s current defense is to block all synthetic clicks, requiring the user to physically click on a button. But Patrick Wardle, a former NSA hacker who’s now chief research officer at Digita Security, said he’s found another way to bypass these protections with relative ease. One of the Apple consent dialogs displayed to a user when an app requests access to a user’s personal information, like their location. Wardle, who revealed the zero-day flaw at his conference Objective By The Sea in Monaco on Sunday, said the bug stems from an undocumented whitelist of approved macOS apps that are allowed to create synthetic clicks to prevent them from breaking. Typically apps are signed with a digital certificate to prove that the app is genuine and hasn’t been tampered with. If the app has been modified to include malware, the certificate usually flags an error and the operating system won’t run the app. But a bug in Apple’s code meant that that macOS was only checking if a certificate exists and wasn’t properly verifying the authenticity of the whitelisted app. “The only thing Apple is doing is validating that the application is signed by who they think it is,” he said. Because macOS wasn’t checking to see if the application had been modified or manipulated, a manipulated version of a whitelisted app could be exploited to trigger a synthetic click. One of those approved apps is VLC, a popular and highly customizable open-source video player that allows plugins and other extensions. Wardle said it was possible to use VLC as a delivery vehicle for a malicious plugin to create a synthetic click on a consent prompt without the user’s permission. “For VLC, I just dropped in a new plugin, VLC loads it, and because VLC loads plugins, my malicious plugin can generate a synthetic click — which is fully allowed because the system sees its VLC but doesn’t validate that the bundle to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with,” he explained “And so my synthetic events is able to click and access the users location, webcam, microphone,” he said. A slide from Wardle’s talk in Monaco on June 2, in which he described a vulnerability that could be exploited to gain access to a user’s webcam, microphone and personal data. (Image: Patrick Wardle/supplied) Wardle describe the vulnerability as a “second stage” attack because the bug already requires an attacker — or malware — to have access to the computer. But it’s exactly these kinds of situations where malware on a computer tries to click through on a consent box that Apple is trying to prevent, Wardle said. He said he informed Apple of the bug last week but the tech giant has yet to release a patch. “This isn’t a remote attack so I don’t think this puts a large number of Mac users immediately at risk,” he said. An Apple spokesperson did not return a request for comment. It’s not the first time Wardle has warned Apple of a bug with synthetic clicks. He reported related bugs in 2015, 2017 and 2018. He said it was “clear” that Apple doesn’t take these bugs seriously. “In this case, literally no-one looked at this coat from a security point of view,” he said. “We have this undocumented whitelisting feature that is paramount to all these new privacy and security features, because if you can generate synthetic events you can generically thwart them of them trivially,” he said. “It’s important to get this right,” he said. Source
  22. Changes across Apple's products mostly fall into two categories: TV, or bug fixes. Enlarge / Apple announced some of these features at its services-and-TV-focused event on March 25. Ron Amadeo Today, Apple began rolling out new versions of its iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS operating systems for iPhones and iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs, respectively. The updates are largely focused on the video services that Apple announced at its March 25 event—namely, a revamped Apple TV app, Apple TV Channels, and an expansion of AirPlay 2 to devices produced by Apple's partners. A handful of bug fixes, performance optimizations, and other small tweaks are also included in the updates. And no doubt deliberately timed with these updates, AirPlay 2 and Apple TV app support has finally rolled out to supporting Samsung TVs as planned. Apple says they'll roll out to supporting LG, VIZIO, and Sony smart TVs "later this year." There's still no sign of the Apple TV+ subscription service and its included original programming unveiled at the aforementioned event, but that wasn't expected just yet. Apple will likely launch that this fall. The new Apple TV app and Channels The centerpiece of two of these updates (iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3) is the revised Apple TV app. Now available in 100 countries, it has a revised interface, the new Channels feature, a kids' tab, and quite a bit more—all of which was previously described at Apple's March 25 event and detailed in a blog post published by the company earlier today. The headlining "Channels" feature is a new, easier way to subscribe to content from networks like HBO, Showtime, and Starz through the Apple TV app and Apple's own billing system. You could do this before in some cases, but Channels is an entirely new platform that's a bit different on the back end—the content actually plays in the TV app through Apple's own system, rather than requiring you to download and open a third-party application. This is a little more convenient, but it also allows Apple to enforce strict standards about tracking user viewing data—and it, of course, plays into Apple's push to further monetize and control services used on its devices. The other big change is access to the iTunes library directly from the TV app; previously, you'd have to actually buy your TV episodes and movies in the iTunes app but watch them in the TV app, which could be confusing. Now you can buy directly within the app. Users can share subscriptions with others in their households via Family Sharing (up to six people), and Apple also added new personalized recommendation features in the app. iOS 12.3 Now let's get into the updates themselves. iOS 12.3 is arguably the most extensive of the four. It adds the new TV app and Channels feature just described, plus AirPlay 2 support for targeting those Samsung smart TVs that now support it (and the TVs from other brands that will support it later). See the description above or the notes below for all the details on the TV features. In terms of smaller features, Apple's notes for this update say that you can now follow a magazine from the Apple News+ catalog browsing view, and Apple Music will offer more frequent personalized recommendations. Apple also talked up the editorial curation of the kids' section in the Apple TV app, so once again we're seeing evidence of Apple's big spree of hiring an army of editorial people to carefully monitor, filter, and select all the content that appears across News, TV, Books, Music, and the App Store. Enlarge / You can update to iOS 12.3 from the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Samuel Axon Apple is investing a lot more in that approach and placing a much greater emphasis on it than any of its competitors. As we've seen at recent events, Apple sees itself not just as a tech company, but as a guidepost for culture. Bug fixes include a fix for non-responsive Apple TV remotes, a solution for some Wi-Fi call drops, and a fix for an issue "where song information from a connected iPhone may not appear in a car's display." These are Apple's release notes: iOS 12.3 includes support for AirPlay 2-enabled TVs and features a redesigned Apple TV app. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements. AirPlay 2 AirPlay 2 now supports sharing videos, photos, music and more from your iPhone and iPad directly to your AirPlay 2-enabled smart TV One-tap playback automatically plays your chosen TV show or movie on the last screen you used based on time and location Intelligent suggestions are all done on-device so your personal information stays private Apple TV app The Apple TV app features an all-new design that highlights expertly curated collections and personalized recommendations Apple TV channels offer subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, Starz, and more, available to watch directly in the Apple TV app, online or off Subscriptions to Apple TV channels can be shared with up to six family members, with no new apps, accounts, or passwords needed New-release movies are available to buy or rent in the Apple TV app, including the full catalog of over 100,000 movies and the largest selection of 4K HDR titles A new dedicated kids section helps you discover editorially handpicked shows and movies safe for kids of all ages The Apple TV app can now intelligently suggest playing to the most likely Apple TVs or AirPlay 2-enabled TVs nearby The update also includes bug fixes and improvements. This update: Adds the ability to follow a magazine from the Apple News+ catalog browsing view Apple Music's For You tab now updates multiple times a day suggesting music based on themes like genres, artists, and moods you love Fixes an issue that could prevent Apple TV Remote from pausing video, controlling video, or changing volume on supported receivers Addresses an issue that could cause calls made using Wi-Fi calling to drop Fixes an issue where song information from a connected iPhone may not appear in a car's display tvOS 12.3 tvOS 123 also rolled out today, alongside an Apple TV Software update labeled 7.3 for older Apple TV units. The result is a new TV app experience for the third- and fourth-generation Apple TVs as well as the Apple TV 4K. And these are Apple's brief release notes on Apple TV Software Update 7.3: This update includes general performance and stability improvements and this feature: Apple TV app: Now available on Apple TV (3rd generation), the Apple TV app gives you one place to watch all of your favorite shows and movies across all of your devices. Subscribe to just the Apple TV channels you want. Browse thousands of titles from the iTunes Store that you can buy or rent. And get recommendations for shows and movies based on everything you watch. macOS 10.14.5 macOS Mojave 10.14.5 adds AirPlay 2 support and otherwise largely focuses on bug fixes and performance improvements. Apple says the update reduces audio latency on 2018 MacBook Pros and fixes an issue with OmniOutliner and OmniPlan. Point releases like this generally don't offer much in the way of new features. The notes from Apple for macOS 10.14.5 are as follows: Adds AirPlay 2 support for sharing videos, photos, music, and more from your Mac directly to your AirPlay 2-enabled smart TV. Adds the ability to follow a magazine from the Apple News+ catalog browsing view. Improves audio latency on MacBook Pro models introduced in 2018. Fixes an issue that prevented certain very large OmniOutliner and OmniPlan documents from rendering properly. Disables accessories with insecure Bluetooth connections. Enterprise content: Fixes an issue that prevented resetting the user account password from the login window after using a personal recovery key (PRK) to unlock the FileVault volume. Fixes an issue that prevented the InstalledApplicationList MDM command from recognizing that updates are available for apps installed via VPP. Hang tight if you're still waiting for some big feature, though; Apple will likely outline big new features for the next major macOS release at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June. Enlarge / Remember that macOS software updates are now in the System Preferences panel, not the App Store, in Mojave. Samuel Axon watchOS 5.2.1 watchOS 5.2.1 is the first update since the one that added support for Apple's second-generation AirPods. The headlining bug fix "fixes an issue where the numbers on the Explorer face would not appear for some users." Additionally, it brings the ECG app and irregular-heart-rhythm notifications to users in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, and Slovakia. It's not mentioned in the update notes, but the update also adds a new 2019 version of the LGBTQIA+ Pride watch face. Users can select either the 2018 or 2019 face, whichever they prefer. Here are Apple's release notes for watchOS 5.2.1: ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 now available in Croatia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, and Slovakia Irregular-heart-rhythm notifications now available in Croatia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland, and Slovakia Fixes an issue where the numbers on the Explorer face would not appear for some users All of these software updates are rolling out to devices starting today. If you don't see them yet, wait a bit and look again—they should become available to all users soon. Source: Apple releases iOS 12.3, macOS 10.14.5, watchOS 5.2.1, and tvOS 12.3 (Ars Technica) Poster's note: To view the original article's image gallery, please visit the above link.
  23. Microsoft Edge Browser for macOS Leaked Microsoft teased the macOS version of Microsoft Edge browser at the Build developer conference a few hours ago, but the company hasn’t said a single word about the date when it could release it for download. And while the software giant decided to stick with its already signature “coming soon” ETA, it looks like the download link for the Canary version of Microsoft Edge for Mac is already live. As discovered by Twitter user WalkingCat, who has an excellent track on Microsoft scoops, users can now download Microsoft Edge for Mac Canary version 76.0151.0 straight from Microsoft’s servers. The firm hasn’t officially released this version, so it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t offer support either, meaning that should you come across any bugs, you’re on your own trying to fix them.Currently in the Canary channelAt the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that Canary builds are very prone to bugs. In other words, while you can install this leaked version of Microsoft Edge for macOS and run it just fine, you shouldn’t configure it as your daily driver, as it can break down things the moment you expect the least. As for the feature lineup, the macOS version seems to be on par with the Canary sibling on Windows 10. Judging from reports coming from users who already installed this browser, Edge for macOS runs pretty smoothly, with no major issue discovered till now. By moving from EdgeHTML to Chromium, Microsoft can make Edge browser available cross-platform, and after releasing the preview builds on Windows 10, the company now wants to ship similar downloads for macOS and for earlier editions of Windows. Windows 7 and 8.1 will also be able to run Edge since it lands as a Win32 installer, albeit no ETA is available in this case as well. You can download Microsoft Edge Canary for macOS directly from Microsoft using this link. UPDATE: Microsoft Edge for macOS Dev is also up for grabs from this Microsoft page. Source
  24. Russian Antivirus Company Dr.Web Found New Malware Targeting MacOS Specialists of the Russian company Dr Web found malicious software that threatens the MacOS operating system, which allows attackers to download and execute any Python code on the user's device. In addition, sites distributing this malware also infected Windows users with a dangerous spyware Trojan. According to the employees of the company Dr Web, a new threat was discovered by their experts on April 29. This malware is called Mac.BackDoor.Siggen.20 and it's BackDoor that allows you to download malicious code from a remote server and execute it. According to experts, the attackers will be able to gain unauthorized remote access to the computer system. They explained that it runs in the background and is hidden from the user. It is said that it is difficult to detect this malware. Mac.BackDoor.Siggen.20 gets to devices through sites owned by its developers. One such resource is designed as a business card site with a portfolio of a non-existent person, and the second is disguised as a page with the WhatsApp application. The Press Service of the company said that BackDoor or Trojan is loaded on the device depending on the operating system. If a visitor uses Mac OS, his device is infected with Mac.BackDoor.Siggen.20, and BackDoor.Wirenet.517 (NetWire) is loaded on Windows devices. NetWire is a long-known RAT Trojan by which hackers can remotely control the victim's computer, including the use of a camera and microphone on the device. In addition, the distributed RAT Trojan has a valid digital signature. According to web specialists, about 300 visitors with unique IP addresses opened the site distributing Mac.BackDoor.Siggen.20 under the guise of Whatsapp application. The dangerous resource works since April 29 and has not yet been used by hackers in large-scale campaigns. Nevertheless, programmers recommend updating the antivirus in time, not to open suspicious business cards and distributing. Source
  25. Screen Time is also headed for macOS 10.15, a report says. Enlarge / A few examples of "Shortcuts" that can be applied to Siri with iOS 12. 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. According to the report, Shortcuts will be supported in the next version of macOS, but as with iOS, it may require users to download an application not included with the OS by default in order to create custom Shortcuts. Further, the report suggests that Shortcuts will work only with Marzipan apps. Marzipan is Apple’s ongoing project to make development of apps that work across both iOS and macOS easier. Last year’s major macOS release, 10.14 Mojave, included a few Apple-made apps using Marzipan like Apple News and Stocks, but it has not been made widely available to third-party developers yet. Another macOS app called Automator has existed for a long time and performed some similar functions to Shortcuts, and it’s unclear what will happen to Automator when Shortcuts arrives. However, the fact that only Marzipan apps will work with macOS Shortcuts may offer a clue. Apple is unlikely to remove Automator if Shortcuts can’t replace it for numerous apps on users’ systems. The result may be a somewhat confusing period in which the apps exist side by side, doing slightly different things for different apps. It’s likely Apple will encourage developers to make most future macOS apps Marzipan apps, so over time, the ecosystem could eventually reach the point that it makes sense to drop Automator. 9to5Mac’s sources also say that Screen Time, another major iOS 12 feature, will arrive on macOS 10.15. Screen Time allows users to see reports about how much time they’re spending on their devices, and in which apps. It also lets you define time limits and other restrictions for either yourself or your kids. Currently, the Screen Time app for iOS collects data across all your iOS devices together in your reports. By adding macOS support, Apple will give users a more complete picture of their habits and usage of their computing devices. It’s likely both the Screen Time and Shortcuts apps for macOS will be Marzipan apps. Finally, the report says that macOS 10.15 will additionally include a revamped Settings panel for managing your Apple user ID and managing features like Family Sharing and Messages features from iOS, like the confetti that appears when you congratulate someone. macOS 10.15 will be revealed during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, with a public release to follow sometime in the fall of this year. Source: New automation features are coming to macOS in Shortcuts—but not for every app (Ars Technica) Poster's note: To view the article's image slideshows, please visit the above link.
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