New Mac Virus Discovered by Sophos

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Date: Thursday, March 26th, 2009, 17:51
Category: News

Early this week, security firm Sophos discovered a new Trojan Horse virus which they are calling OSX/RSPlug-F. They even have a video of the virus in action! The virus’ method seems to be a variation of the malware DNSChanger which was detected some time ago.
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As indicated by the blog entry, the virus is activated by browsing to particular web sites and downloading an infected program. Once the user selects the download, the virus is downloaded via a remote download server and OSX/RSPlug-F will try to change your DNS server settings which could lead to your Internet traffic being redirected through malicious servers.
Blogger Graham Cluley’s states, “One of the ways in which the OSX/RSPlug-F Mac Trojan horse is being distributed by hackers is in the form of a poisoned HDTV/DTV program called MacCinema.”
The biggest problem is that being disguised as a useful piece of software, users are that much more likely to give the program authorization to do whatever it wants. Since many programs on OS X request an administrator’s password the first time they are run, users may simply be in the habit of entering their password and hitting ok without a second thought. Another interesting thing about this particular distribution, it affects both Macs AND Windows. If you are using Windows, the web site will conveniently download a Windows executable file instead of the OS X program variant.
To keep up to date on the issue, you can follow the Sophos Analyses page or MacFixit.

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OnLive Gaming Service Announced, Will Be Mac and Windows-Compatible

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Date: Thursday, March 26th, 2009, 08:28
Category: News

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Over at the Game Developers Conference, the OnLive broadband gaming service was announced. The effort, developed over seven years, focuses on offering a variety of game choices to subscribers by handling the each game’s video and audio on remote servers and streaming the results to players. According to Gamasutra, the service is stated to be compatible with Mac and Windows-based machines (via a web browser), or without a machine at all via the use of a “micro console” attachment which connects directly to a television.
“What OnLive does is seamless and completely transparent, and it does not have any requirements for the local system,” said OnLive founder and CEO Steve Perlman.
OnLive’s service, which is planned to combine a relatively low monthly subscription fee with other per-game business models not yet fully determined, requires only a one-megabyte download to a computer, or a small plastic dongle (called a “micro-console”) to connect to a TV; no GPU is required.
Once subscribed, users will be able to run any of the service’s games, regardless of system requirements.
A variety of major publishers including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., Take-Two, Eidos, and Atari have already signed on and OnLive has announced a partnership with Epic Games that will see the Unreal Engine 3 easily adapt to OnLive’s APIs.
“Not only have we solved the problem of compressing the video games, we’ve solved the latency problem,” Perlman said to Gamasutra. “We knew, in order to make this thing work, we’d have to figure out a way to get video to run compressed over consumer connections with effectively no latency. Our video compression technology has one millisecond in latency — basically no latency at all. All the latency is just for the transport, and we’ve also addressed that.”
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you ever wanted to stream your console games to your Apple notebook, you might not have long to wait.
Let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Users Reporting Dropped Internet Connections During Time Capsule Backups

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Date: Thursday, March 26th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Software, Time Capsule

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In the category of “it should be working perfectly forever but isn’t”, a number of users have reported that their Time Capsule units are dropping Internet connections during the backup process. According to MacFixIt, the AirPort Utility does not see the Time Capsule during the dropped out period. Even so, the backup continues and completes despite the Internet connection not working. Time Capsules may also be dropping Internet connections more frequently than during backup sessions as multiple users report anywhere from 5 minute to 30-minute increments between drops.
One user, identified as “Zzooomm”, described the situation as follows:

“Time Capsule V7.4.1 loses Internet/Wireless Connection with my MacBookPro2,2 Core 2 Duo 10.5.6 during backup. It appears the backup continues successfully. Opening Airport Utility shows my second Airport Extreme but not the Time Capsule. Within 10 minutes of completing the backup, the TC reappears. Suggestions?”

Strangely enough and on an apparently-unrelated note, Apple has acknowledged that the Real Player Downloader has been causing communications complications between airport cards and Time Capsules. To repair this, head over to System Preferences, Accounts, Login Items, highlight the RP Downloader and click the (-) button. This is a solution that many of the users on the discussion threads acknowledge solves the issue.
If you do not have the Real Player Downloader installed and are still having problems, be sure you have Apple’s latest update to the Time Capsule firmware, 7.4.1. If you do not have it, download the update from Apple and install it.
If you have the firmware updated and do not have Real Player Downloader installed and are still having issues, try resetting your Time Capsule following instructions in the User’s Manual or read this Apple Knowledge Base article.
If you’ve seen this issue on your end or have an opinion to offer on it, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Releases 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro Graphics Firmware 1.0 Update

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Date: Thursday, March 26th, 2009, 08:17
Category: MacBook Pro, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released its Graphics Firmware 1.0 update for its 17″ unibody MacBook Pro notebook. The update, a 770 kilobyte download, addresses the appearance of vertical lines or distorted graphics on the notebook display.
Like other patches, the update can also be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.
If you’ve tried the firmware update and have any comments to offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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