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  1. 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)
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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)
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. It’s undeniable that one of the best characteristics of every Apple product is its display. Apple ships computers – from iPads to iMacs – with great quality, well calibrated displays that can be used for professional work which requires a great level of fidelity. Now, it appears Apple is working a new Mac and iPad display feature to launch with macOS 10.15. Previously, Astro HQ came up with a solution, Luna Display, that allows Mac users to use their iPad as an external display. There are many solutions on the market for that, but Luna Display has become the top one given that it’s a hardware product leveraging the power of the GPU so the experience is as seamless as possible. Now, Apple is working on making that seamless experience native to the Mac. According to people familiar with the development of macOS 10.15 – the next major version of Apple’s desktop OS – the new system will have a feature that allows users to send any window of any app to an external display. The external display can be an actual external display connected to the Mac or even an iPad. The new feature – called “Sidecar” internally – can be accessed via a simple menu. This new menu will be opened by hovering over the green “maximize” button in a Mac app window for a split second. The menu will have options for making the window fullscreen, tiling and moving to external displays, including the user’s iPads and external displays connected to the Mac. Selecting one of the display options moves the current window to the selected external display or iPad, in fullscreen. Users with an iPad that supports Apple Pencil will also be able to draw with the Pencil on iPad when it’s being used as an external display for the Mac, effectively turning the iPad into a Wacom-like tablet. Engineers are also working on options that will allow windows to be easily snapped to one side of the screen, similar to a feature that already exists on Windows. Apple is expected to unveil macOS 10.15 this June, during the opening keynote of its Worldwide Developers Conference. Source: Apple planning Luna Display-like desktop extension feature for macOS 10.15, codenamed ‘Sidecar’ (9to5Mac)
  17. Google Publicly Discloses macOS Kernel Vulnerability After discovering security vulnerabilities in several Microsoft products, including Windows 10 itself, the Google Project Zero team returns with a new public disclosure, this time affecting Apple’s macOS. Because as the security researchers working at Google discovered, a vulnerability in the macOS kernel allows an attacker to abuse the way filesystem images are mounted to make data changes. In the technical analysis of the vulnerability, the Google Project Zero team explains that the way the copy-on-write feature is implemented in macOS makes it possible for a user to make changes to a mounted file system image without the operating system to be aware of them. “If an attacker can mutate an on-disk file without informing the virtual management subsystem, this is a security bug. MacOS permits normal users to mount filesystem images. When a mounted filesystem image is mutated directly (e.g. by calling pwrite() on the filesystem image), this information is not propagated into the mounted filesystem,” the original advisory notes.Apple already working on a fixThe vulnerability was originally reported to Apple in November, and as per the Google Project Zero policy, the company was provided with a 90-day deadline for releasing a fix. Because Apple failed to provide a patch before the deadline was reached, Google publicly disclosed the vulnerability in late February. However, Apple has already acknowledged the security flaw, and it is currently working with the Project Zero team on addressing it. “We've been in contact with Apple regarding this issue, and at this point no fix is available. Apple are intending to resolve this issue in a future release, and we're working together to assess the options for a patch,” the Google security researchers explained. Specifics as to when Apple could release the fix aren’t obviously available just yet, and as with everything Apple, any specifics are unavailable right now. Source
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  19. MacOS malware samples went undetected since its first attack four months ago. The Mac malware variants are believed to have been linked to the Windshift hacker group. Four months after the attack by a mysterious hacker group on Mac users, few of its MacOS malware samples went undetected by most of the antivirus providers. One of these Mac malware variants is believed to have been linked to Windshift the APT group that surveils individuals in the Middle East. Windshift APT Taha Karim, Security Researcher at Dark Matter profiled the WindShift APT in the Box Conference at Singapore. In August, Karim reported the few things that make Windshift stand out among the other APTs which includes: The malware’s reliance on the links which are embedded inside phishing emails and SMS text messages to track the locations, online habits, and other traits of the targets. Windshift makes use of the Mac malware to infiltrate documents and take screenshots of the victim’s desktops. The technique the malware variants use to bypass MacOS security defenses. Three Mac malware samples went undetected Mac security expert Patrick Wardle published an analysis of Karim’s findings, which were revealed at the Box Conference. The findings from VirusTotal at that time stated that only Kaspersky and ZoneAlarm detected the malware file. Later, Wardle detected four more malicious files of which, three had not been detected by any antivirus providers. Apple not sharing malware definitions with AV community The findings were surprising for Wardle because Apple had already revoked the cryptographic certificates the developers used to digitally sign their malware. “The fact that the signing certificate(s) of all the samples are revoked (CSSMERR_TP_CERT_REVOKED) means that Apple knows about this certificate... and thus surely this malware as well... yet the majority of the samples (3, of 4) are detected by zero anti-virus engines on VirusTotal. Does this mean Apple isn't sharing valuable malware/threat-intel with AV-community, preventing the creation of widespread AV signatures that can protect end-users? Narrator: yes,” Wardle wrote. The C2 servers the malware used are no longer available on the Internet, which means that the infected computers are not in danger of being surveilled. However, the number of malware infection detections has gradually risen in the days since Wardle published his analysis. The lack of timely detection is troubling because Apple has reportedly not been sharing definitions of the malware samples with antivirus providers. Such sharing is standard practice in the industry and is very important in tracking APTs. "I think the lack of detections highlights that traditional AV struggles with new/APT malware on macOS but also Apple's hubris. We've seen them do this before. It's disheartening, and somebody needs to call them out on it,” Wardle told Ars Technica. source
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  21. Microsoft today embraced Google’s Chromium open source project for Edge development on the desktop. The company also announced it is decoupling the browser updates from Windows 10 updates, and that Edge is coming to all supported versions of Windows and to macOS. Microsoft launched Edge in July 2015 as the default browser for, and exclusive to, Windows 10. But it never saw much adoption. Sure, Microsoft claimed Edge had 330 million active devices back in September 2017, but it never did reveal an active user figure beyond “hundreds of millions” (Google said Chrome passed 1 billion active users in May 2015). Edge has 4.34 percent market share today, according to the latest figures from Net Applications. So Microsoft wants to make some big changes, which it says will happen “over the next year or so.” The first preview builds of the Chromium-powered Edge will arrive in early 2019, according to Microsoft. Chromium-based Microsoft Edge Adopting the Chromium project means a lot more for Microsoft. The Edge rendering engine EdgeHTML will be swapped out for the Blink rendering engine. The Chakra JavaScript engine will be swapped out for V8. Microsoft will even take some of the UI stack, for use on non-Windows 10 platforms. Also worth noting: Microsoft is not forking Chromium. Microsoft hopes moving to Chromium will “create better web compatibility for our customers” and “less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.” The former is certainly true, as the Edge web platform will thus become aligned with web standards and other Chromium-based browsers. The latter is not true in the short term (plenty of testing will be needed to accommodate the switch) but it is likely in the long term, as developers will have one fewer browser to explicitly test against. No longer wasting resources on building Edge’s backend will likely turn out to be a big win for Microsoft. It is a lot of work to constantly update a browser engine to be standards-compliant and compatible with the actual web. Microsoft has decided to let the open source community do that instead, which it will participate in, so it can focus on improving the browser itself. Again, Edge isn’t changing significantly. This is an “under the hood” transformation, and most Edge users won’t notice anything significantly different — save for some sites working as expected. The future of EdgeHTML and Chakra Edge uses Blink/Chromium on Android and WebKit/WKWebView on iOS. Thus, when Edge on desktop moves to Blink and V8, the main use case for EdgeHTML and Chakra will disappear overnight. Windows 10 apps that use EdgeHTML and/or Chakra will be able to keep using them, according to Microsoft. But, Microsoft will also eventually let app developers leverage the Chromium-based solution that Edge will use. This will likely impact regular apps that render web content but also Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), which are essentially mobile websites that mimic native apps. App developers will thus be able to choose to keep using the legacy option or switch to Chromium. Microsoft says it has no plans to stop maintaining EdgeHTML and Chakra, although if usage were to decline, developers could expect them to hit end of support eventually. Chrome extensions In addition to better web compatibility, Edge users stand to benefit from support for Chrome extensions. Microsoft expects that it will be very easy for developers to bring their Chrome extensions to Edge. It might even be the case that it requires no work at all in most cases, but it’s too early for the company to say so definitively. Microsoft’s intention is to support existing Chrome extensions in Edge, but how exactly this will work remains to be seen. Keep in mind that for years now, Google has been locking down the Chrome Web Store and Chrome extensions in general — Microsoft will have to be careful with its solution. All supported versions of Windows So far, all this largely makes sense, but Microsoft also wants to port Edge to all supported versions of Windows. Edge is no longer going to be a Windows 10-only affair. That means Edge is coming to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1. For Windows 10, this means the Chromium-based Edge and future updates is coming to Windows 10 version 1607, version 1703, version 1709, version 1803, and version 1809. Those are all supported versions of Windows, so they’ll be getting the latest version of Edge until Microsoft ends support. Microsoft also currently supports Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server version 1709, Windows Server version 1803, Windows Server version 1809, and Windows Server 2019. The company hasn’t yet said if the latest version of Edge is coming there too. This is a massive undertaking that one can only justify through a corporate lens. It’s about letting IT departments offer a heterogeneous browser environment. Microsoft wants everyone on the latest version of Windows, but for those that cannot, or refuse to, upgrade, it has decided to bring the latest Edge to them. That means bringing Edge to older versions of Windows, including older versions of Windows 10. Within major organizations, there are computers running all sorts of Windows versions, and right now only a single one can get the latest version of Edge. macOS If you thought supporting old Windows versions was nuts, your jaw will drop when you hear Microsoft also wants to bring Edge to macOS. This is bizarre for several reasons, not even including that Microsoft ceased development of Internet Explorer for Mac in June 2003 and Apple killed Safari for Windows in July 2012. But the same heterogenous environment thinking applies: Microsoft wants all devices in an organization using the latest Edge, and that requires getting Macs onboard. Indeed, Microsoft doesn’t expect to get a lot of Mac users switching to Edge, the company said. Instead, the company simply wants to make it easier for more developers, many of whom use Macs, to test against Edge. Bringing Edge to macOS is about developers, not market share. More frequent updates Edge is updated every six months. Chrome and Firefox, meanwhile, are updated every six weeks. Even if you do have the latest Windows 10 version, Edge updates today are tied to Windows 10 updates, and half a year is a long time on the web. It’s a long time to wait for compatibility fixes, performance improvements, and new features. Could Edge get more frequent updates than Chrome and Firefox? I’m not holding my breath. But Microsoft does say that agility will be a focus going forward and does expect “a more frequent cadence” than the current six-month wait. Chrome updates hit Windows, Mac, and Linux all on the same day, while Firefox updates hit Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android on the same day. Microsoft wants the version of Edge on Windows and Mac to be the same, but we’re hearing it’s too early to commit to same-day updates across all supported versions of Windows and macOS. Chromium contributions Microsoft says it intends to become a “significant contributor” to the Chromium project. The company will try to improve Chromium not just for Edge, but for other browsers as well, and not just for PCs, but for other devices too. The priority will, however, be web platform enhancements to make Chromium-based browsers better on Windows devices. Microsoft stands to benefit if the web works well on Windows, as the impact trickles down to its customers, partners, and the overall business. Last month, Microsoft was spotted making contributions to the Chromium project for ARM-based Windows devices. The thought at the time was that Chrome was being ported to Windows 10 on ARM, but now we know Microsoft was thinking bigger. (Chromium-based browsers are 32-bit only, meaning they run emulated and negatively impact battery life. Microsoft wants to fix for all Chromium-based browsers, including Chrome and Edge.) Microsoft intends to continue work on ARM64 support, but it also hopes to improve Chromium’s web accessibility and take advantage of other hardware features like touch support. Indeed, Edge is the only major browser with a 100 percent HTML5Accessbility score and is known for having solid touch scrolling performance. In fact, Microsoft doesn’t want to switch to Chromium until some of that functionality has been contributed to the project. That way, Edge won’t lose features when the switch happens next year. Source
  22. Still likely to end the year ahead THE GAP BETWEEN Windows 7 and Windows 10 use on traditional desktops and laptops continues to narrow, despite the fact that both operating systems lost a small amount of ground this month in the figures produced by Netmarketshare. Windows 7 drops to 38.89 per cent (-0.46) with Windows 10 continuing to snap at its heels at 38.14 (-0.14), meaning that the difference is now just 0.75 per cent, which suggests that Microsoft is still on target to finally overtake itself before the year is out. Just. Possibly. Windows 8.x is now 5.52 per cent (-0.29), with the vast majority on version 8.1. Windows XP has a slight bounce to 4.23 (+0.63). We've stopped mentioning Vista now, such is its rarity. Although the figures from Netmarketshare have a margin of error (or put another way, we take them with a slight pinch of salt) the fact that Windows 10 hasn't grown as a result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which both fell in this period is a bit of a curveball - in fact most of the movement has been on the Apple front in the wake of its new Macbook Air made of old tin cans and string. As you'd expect, the latest version, macOS 10.14 has seen the biggest gains of the month standing at 3.57 (+1.52), though the rate of upgrade has been slow by Mac user standards, macOS 10.13 has dropped to 3.2 (-1.43) but it hasn't been the usual swift handover. Even macOS 10.12 still has 1.36 (-0.22) and macOS 10.11 has 1.14 (0.23) which is actually a slight rise. The Linux-based systems continue to hover around the same point - Ubuntu on 0.57 (-0.05), Chrome OS on 0.32 (-0.01) and the rest on 1.47 (0.09). Worth noting there are more people using Mac OS X 10.10 and "Unknown" than Chrome OS right now - though it still has the lead in the browser market. When we remove the filter and look at market share amongst all device types - that is to say any device that has connected to the internet during November, the story changes. Window 7 (which, lest we forget is almost exclusively desktop/laptop machine anyway) is the most popular operating system in the world with 16.08 per cent. Windows 10 comes second with 15.77 and Android 8.0 has 8.62. Generically though, Android is in the lead - 39.34 per cent. Windows stands at 35.98. iOS has 18.51 per cent and Mac OS, 4.02. Linux has 0.88 and despite its popularity is schools, Chrome OS has 0.13. For completeness, below them is Series 40 (Symbian) at 0.04, Windows Phone OS at 0.03 and RIM OS (Blackberry) at just 0.01 per cent market share. Source
  23. Kon-Boot is an application which will silently bypass the authentication process of Windows based operating systems. Without overwriting your old password! In other words you can login to your Windows profile without knowing your password. Easy to use and excellent for tech repairs, data recovery and security audits. Fast, tiny and gets your job done! KON-BOOT 2in1 for Windows and Mac OSX. One Kon-Boot pendrive to bypass Windows and Mac OSX authorization process. One Kon-Boot pendrive to rule them all! Kon-Boot 2in1 is basically Kon-Boot for Windows and Kon-Boot for Mac OSX connected together. No need for multiple pendrives anymore. System Requirements: Kon-Boot 2in1 can be only installed on USB thumb drive (there is no .ISO in the package). Windows OS and Internet connection is required for the installation. All other requirements were already presented above (in the Kon-Boot for Windows and Kon-Boot for Mac OSX sections). Supported Operating Systems: All Windows systems starting from Windows XP to Windows 10 (both x86 and x64) Regarding the UEFI support only Windows 8/8.1/10 x64 systems are supported (this is default Microsoft policy, additionally there are virtually none x86 UEFI systems out there). Kon-Boot now is able to bypass online account authorization on Windows 8/8.1. On Windows 10 only local account authorization bypass is available (with possibility to add new administrator account automatically (USB only)). macOS: - macOS High Sierra OSX 10.13 (NEW) - macOS Sierra OSX 10.12 - OSX 10.11 - OSX 10.10 - OSX 10.9 - OSX 10.8 - OSX 10.7 - OSX 10.6 (experimental) Changelog: - Includes fixes for Windows (+awesome feature for Commercial licenses) and Mac OSX (supports 10.13). Complete Changelog: Version 2.7 update released - 03.02.2018: Multiple Kon-Boot installer fixes Version 2.7 released (2.6 version was skipped to match the 2in1 version) - 01.01.2018: Additional features for Commercial version (automatically executed powershell scripts!) (UEFI part only for Windows 8/Windows 10 x64) Multiple fixes for kon-boot stability (UEFI part) Multiple installer fixes (USB installer now requires online activation) CD version is deprecated and will no longer be maintained (last version with CD support is 2.5) UEFI support for x86 bit Windows system is deprecated and will no longer be maintained (there are virtually no x86 UEFI systems out there anyway) Entire documentation updated and moved to online form Homepage: http://www.piotrbania.com/all/kon-boot/ Changelog: https://kon-boot.com/docs/#windows_guide/#changelog Downloads: Kon-Boot 2.7 Full - Win + Mac: Site: https://www.upload.ee Sharecode[?]: /files/8141386/Kon-Boot_2.7.rar.html Mirror: Site: https://www.multiup.eu/en Sharecode[?]: /download/8525461794db0387a206788d25d91c13/Kon-Boot_2.7.rar FYI: Multiup can be .eu or .org. Pls use which is working for your location.
  24. An electron version of Windows 95 Windows 95 is the operating system that’s now used as a yardstick for what’s possible on modern devices and platforms. We’ve seen Microsoft’s popular OS appear on the Apple Watch, an Android Wear smartwatch, and even the Xbox One. Today, someone has gone a step further and made Windows 95 into an app that you can run on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Slack developer Felix Rieseberg is responsible for this glorious app, allowing nostalgia lovers to play around with Windows 95 in an electron app. Rieseberg has published the source code and app installers for this project on Github, and apps like Wordpad, phone dialer, MS Paint, and Minesweeper all run like you’d expect. Sadly, Internet Explorer isn’t fully functional as it simply refuses to load pages. The app its only 129MB in size and you can download it over at Github for both macOS and Windows. Once it’s running it surprisingly only takes up around 200MB of RAM, even when running all of the old Windows 95 system utilities, apps, and games. If you run into any issues with the app you can always reset the Windows 95 instance inside the app and start over again. Enjoy this quirky trip down memory lane. Source
  25. Apple's macOS surreptitiously creates and caches thumbnails for images and other file types stored on password-protected / encrypted containers (hard drives, partitions), according to Wojciech Reguła and Patrick Wardle, two macOS security experts. The problem is that these cached thumbnails are stored on non-encrypted hard drives, in a known location and can be easily retrieved by malware or forensics tools, revealing some of the content stored on encrypted containers. How are these thumbnails created On macOS, these thumbnails are created by Finder and QuickLook. Finder is the default macOS file explorer app, similar to Windows Explorer. Whenever a user navigates to a new folder, Finder automatically loads icons for the files located in those folders. For images, these icons are gradually replaced by thumbnails that show a preview of the image at a small scale. But in a recent macOS version, Apple has added a new feature to Finder called QuickLook. This feature allows users to hold down the Space key while having a file selected and view an image-like preview of the document's content. Apple devs created this feature to allow users to preview files with similar names and determine which one they want to open. Under the hood, these QuickLook previews are nothing more than images, similar to the thumbnails Finder creates for photos. Both types of thumbnails are created and stored in the same location, at: $TMPDIR/../C/com.apple.QuickLook.thumbnailcache/ "Leak" known for years Users using encrypted containers to safeguard files from intrusive eyes may be unaware that they might be leaking information via the thumbnail cache or via the QuickLook functionality. According to Wardle, this "leak" has been known about for at least eight years and has been a professional secret known by many forensics experts [1, 2, 3]. However, with political regimes around the world cracking down on dissident voices with top-of-the-line tech and increased brutality, both Reguła and Wardle have now published blog posts detailing this mechanism in the hopes of alerting users about the issue in order to take preemptive measures. Wardle says that by running the following two commands after unmounting an encrypted container, users can delete the thumbnail cache (and reboot the computer), and clear any compromising thumbnails from the non-encrypted section of their OS. $ rm -rf $TMPDIR/../C/com.apple.QuickLook.thumbnailcache $ sudo reboot Source
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