Articles about OS X

Software vulnerabilities up 18 percent in 2014 and Microsoft isn't to blame

Software analyst testing

Errors in software, whether operating systems or applications, are usually the root cause of security issues, allowing hackers and cyber criminals a way in to systems.

In 2014, 15,435 vulnerabilities across 3,870 applications were discovered according to a new report from vulnerability intelligence specialist Secunia. That represents an 18 percent increase in vulnerabilities compared to the year before, and a 22 percent increase in the number of vulnerable products.

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Apple MacBook vs Google Chromebook Pixel

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Two new laptops launched this week, both pioneering USB-C and packing 12-inch displays. The likenesses stop there, and the distinctions can't be overstated. One computer you can buy now, the other comes next month. Should you consider either? My primer will help you decide.

Apple unveiled the new MacBook, which measures 1.31 centimeters at its thickest and weighs less than a kilogram, two days ago. Sales start April 10. This morning, Google launched the second-generation Chromebook Pixel, which is immediately available for purchase. Both laptops adopt USB Type-C for power and, using adapters, hooking up to other devices. USB-C puts both computers at the bleeding edge for charging and connectivity, But their approach to ports couldn't be more different.

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Tether unlocks your Mac when your iPhone's nearby


Having to type in a password every time to unlock your Mac is recommended practice, but it is also a nuisance. Since ditching the password is a bad idea, from a security standpoint, you are not left with many options to make life easier. But, there is a way you can have your cake and eat it too.

You can set up your Mac to automatically unlock when it detects your iPhone nearby. You still get to enjoy the benefits that come from having a password, but without having to put any effort into it. And you can do that using Tether, touted to be "the wireless leash to your Mac".

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Silicon Power Armor A65M is a waterproof and military-grade USB 3.0 hard drive for Mac


Using cloud-based storage is extremely convenient, and arguably safer than traditional hard drive storage. Why? If, God forbid, there is a fire or other disaster in your home or office, your files are safe and secure offsite.

With that said, there are some deficiencies with the cloud, such as a need for an internet connection, and the potential lack of control of your own files. Yes, internet is seemingly ubiquitous nowadays, but do you feel uncomfortable not having access during an outage? If so, a USB solution coupled with offsite storage for redundancy is a smart choice. Today, Silicon power announces the ultra-rugged Armor A65M. Designed for Mac, it should work with Linux and Windows too.

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Oracle: How about some adware to go with that new Java for Mac?


One of the things I -- and I assume a lot of fellow users -- like about using a Mac is that most OS X programs do not try to trick the user into installing adware. In fact, a lot of the programs I use do not even feature a typical setup, as they can be installed simply by copying them to the Applications folder. For someone coming from Windows, it may feel impossible to grasp at first -- yes, you can actually enjoy the install process. Wow!

Of course, there are developers who do not care about the experience their users have during and after the setup, so they bundle adware with their programs. Thankfully, on Macs it's easier to spot, but it's still something to look out for at times, especially if you wish to install Oracle's latest Java release.

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OS X, iOS and Linux have more vulnerabilities than Windows

OS X, iOS and Linux have more vulnerabilities than Windows

It might come as something of a surprise, but Windows is more secure than not only Apple's iOS and OS X, but also Linux. I'll just let that sink in for a moment...

Windows, the operating system ridiculed for its vulnerabilities and susceptibility to viruses is actually more secure than the supposedly Fort Knox-like Linux and OS X. This startling fact comes from the National Vulnerability Database (described as the "US government repository of standards based vulnerability management data") which details security issues detected in different operating systems and software titles.

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My favorite tech products of 2014 [Mihaita]

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I'm not easily impressed. Lots of tech products see the light of day each year, but only a few I consider to be truly great. And by that I mean technology that I want to have in my life, that brings value, and, last but not least, that makes me feel good. The subjective factor is just as important, I believe, when it comes to the things that I have to look at and interact with on a daily basis. That's just the way it is, and I'm fine with it.

Because of this, a pretty long list can get really, really short in no time. My colleagues have already shared their favorite tech products of 2014 with you, and now the time has come for me to do the same. It's BetaNews tradition, after all. So, without further ado, here they are.

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Apple's year-end is about security

Hidden security threat

When it comes to security, Apple can and should do better. It is one of the biggest offenders, after all, making quite a few serious mistakes in this area. One of its most-important services, namely iCloud, has been instrumental in this year's celebrity photo leaks scandal, better known as The Fappening. And, more recently, a weakness in its OS X deployment software for iOS apps has exposed hundreds of thousands of iPads and iPhones to the WireLurker malware. And these are just two examples. Unsurprisingly, as the year draws to an end, security remains a talking point in Apple's case.

Let's start with the good news, first. Apple has pushed an update for OS X 10.10 Yosemite, 10.9.5 Mavericks, and 10.8.5 Mountain Lion, seemingly for the first time, to quickly fix a critical vulnerability discovered in NTP (Network Time Protocol), a protocol which is widely used to synchronize device clocks with dedicated servers. Normally, OS X updates are not applied automatically, but this one is apparently so critical that it is.

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Countdown to Armageddon -- Google Earth API will be dead in 1 year!


In the grand scheme of things, we aren't far removed from a time when most people thought the Earth was flat. Yes, we went from thinking a boat could sail off of the edge of the world, to landing a spacecraft on a comet -- crazy, right?

When Google Earth was first released, it was a mind-boggling program. It allowed users to easily navigate a virtual Earth; a high-tech globe, if you will. While people take it for granted, the search-giant's offering remains wonderful. Unfortunately for developers, Google is killing the Earth API.

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Macs and Linux come under attack as the threat landscape shifts

Security attack

The latest monthly report from internet security specialist Doctor Web shows that whilst Windows and Android users have no cause for complacency, November saw substantial numbers of malicious programs aimed at Mac OS X and Linux platforms.

Trojans remain the most popular form of attack making up 8.7 percent of all malware detected. Trojan.InstallCore.12, which installs different adware, toolbars and browser extensions, ranks first. BackDoor.Andromeda.404, which downloads other malicious programs into an infected system when commanded to do so by intruders, ranks second.

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Apple releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update with Wi-Fi and enterprise fixes

Apple releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update with Wi-Fi and enterprise fixes

It's only a few weeks since Apple launched Yosemite and there's already an update available. Today, Apple pushes out the OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update to address issues that had been found in the initial release. This is a fairly minor x.1 update, and there are only ten entries in the changelog for most users, while enterprise users have two more updates and additions.

Described -- of course -- as "recommended for all OS X Yosemite users", the update fixes a problem with Time Machine that made older backups invisible. It also addresses issues with the Notification Center, and problems with entering Japanese text. It "improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac".

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Microsoft makes .NET open source -- brings it to Linux and OS X


They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but boy oh boy, don't tell that to Satya Nadella. To many, Microsoft represents a dinosaur in technology, but as the fictional Jurassic Park showed us, dinosaurs can be brought back to life and thrive in modern times. In other words, even though Microsoft never died, its image was in decline, but it has been resurrected by doing and saying all the right things.

Today, Microsoft continues its upwards trajectory by announcing that .NET is going open source. While this isn't Microsoft's first open source rodeo, this is certainly the biggest. Hell, it is even bringing .NET to both Linux and OS X! Competitors beware; Microsoft is a Tyrannosaurus Rex and is showing its teeth.

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Privacy battle on the horizon


The new internet protocol known as Multipath Transmission Control Protocol enables easy privacy invasion, but also secures today’s networks.

On the internet, your traffic is not your own -- no matter how you roam. New multipath technologies, including one found hidden dormant in the internals of the newest Mac operating system, OS X 10.10 Yosemite, may provide consumers with more tools to gain control of their online communications. However, this freedom comes at a price, which network operators may not be willing to pay.

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Want to stay safe from WireLurker malware on iOS, OS X? Don't use shady app stores!

Warning Sign Sky Cloud Cloudy

In spite of some incidents here and there, both iOS and OS X are mostly safe from malware. Obviously, that assumption only holds true assuming that users do not go out of their way to get into trouble by jailbreaking their devices and messing with cracked apps or software grabbed from shady places. It is common sense, really -- the security measures that Apple enforces can only go so far to protect users in uncontrolled environments. (The same thing can also be said in regards to Android and Windows, but that is a different story.) And if you need any more proof of just how important it is to stick to trusted sources, this is it.

In the past six months, hundreds of thousands of iOS and OS X users have been affected by the WireLurker malware family, according to security research firm Palo Alto Networks, after using Chinese third-party app store Maiyadi App Store to download OS X software. Go figure!

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Windows 10 will offer Mac-like trackpad gestures

Man Laptop Dark

Anyone who has ever used a modern-day Mac will tell you that Apple gets its trackpads right. Sure, they look nice and feel great to the touch, but, most importantly, they are also properly supported in OS X. It offers myriad gestures to help users navigate as efficiently as if they were using a mouse. In fact, the trackpad is designed to feel like an integral part of the system, not as a bolt-on, as there are lots of things that can be done faster with it, like locating a window or opening the notifications panel.

The same cannot be said about Windows PC trackpads. They truly feel like bolt-ons. And it is not because they are poorly put together, but rather because the drivers never seem to be good enough to reveal the trackpads' true potential. Microsoft, however, wants to change that in Windows 10, as the upcoming operating system will support Mac-like trackpad gestures. Finally.

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