AT&T cracking down on customers using tethering, hotspot cracks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 5th, 2011, 10:53
Category: iPhone, News

attlogo

If you thought you were clever in tethering your smartphone or turning it into a Wi-Fi hotspot, AT&T might have some words about that.

Per 9to5Mac, users have reported being kicked off their unlimited data plans for using free tethering apps such as MiWi for jailbroken iPhones or PDANet for Android handsets. AT&T is reportedly sending notices to these customers, informing them their plans will switch automatically to a US$45 per month DataPro plan on August 11. The carrier discontinued its US$30 unlimited data plan last summer, but allowed existing subscribers to be grandfathered in.

An AT&T representative wouldn’t confirm the hard cut-off date, but did acknowledge that it’s now cracking down on free tethering to 9to5Mac. The carrier started sending ultimatums to customers earlier this year, complete with a lovely passive-aggressive tone.

AT&T isn’t the only carrier that’s taking a hard stance against free tethering. Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and AT&T have apparently pushed Google into hiding free tethering apps from the Android Market, though only on smartphones sold by those carriers. Verizon also reportedly shows a warning page when it catches a user tethering without paying, and provides a number to call and set up a mobile broadband package.

Unfortunately, AT&T’s current customer agreement says that it may terminate or modify a customer’s service for unauthorized tethering.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.

Alleged iPhone 5 proximity sensor picture leaked, subtle differences noted

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 5th, 2011, 06:59
Category: iPhone, Rumor

If you’re going to get excited about something today, it might as well be a purported proximity sensor.

The SW-Box.com web site claims to have obtained a genuine iPhone 5 proximity light sensor flex cable in advance of the device’s launch, which is expected this fall. The site boasts that its offices are “just a stone’s throw” from “the Apple factory,” presumably a reference to contract manufacturer Foxconn’s plant in Shenzhen, China.

“We spend a lot of resources on research and intel,” the company wrote on the part’s product page, asserting that the component is indeed the “real deal.” The part’s pricing starts at US$3.77 and goes as low as US$2.52 for volume orders of 50 or more.

According to the site, the flex cable is “evidence of solid engineering” and is “micro-architectured to stand the tests of time and heat.” The part also contains “dynamic light sensing diodes and high flow terminals” that balance functionality and cost.

The part contains minor differences in the orientation of the components as compared with a corresponding iPhone 4 part, possibly providing evidence of at least a partial redesign in the next-generation iPhone. One difference appears to be the fact that, as with the CDMA iPhone 4, the noise canceling microphone has been moved off of the proximity sensor part.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Russian police raid points to MacDefender scam

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 5th, 2011, 04:26
Category: News, Software

If you wanted to know who was responsible for all that MacDefender malware nonsense a few months ago, they might have something.

After a raid on Russian payment giant Chronopay’s offices, authorities have found evidence linking the company to the MacDefender fake anti-virus scam that targeted Mac users.

Per security expert Brian Krebs’ blog post, Russian cops have discovered “mountains of evidence” that Chronopay employees were providing technical and customer support for bogus anti-virus software, including MacDefender.

Police discovered “Website support credentials and the call records of 1-800 numbers used to operate the support centers,” Krebs wrote. Evidence was also found linking the company to Rx-Promotion, an online program that worked with spammers to promote sites selling counterfeit prescription drugs.

Chronopay has a 45 percent share of the Russian e-commerce market and had denied involvement with the scam in May after Krebs leveled accusations against the company. Co-founder Pavel Vrublevsky was arrested in June over allegations that he hired a hacker to attack his company’s rival.

“If allegations against ChronoPay are true then we should expect significant decrease of revenues received by cyber criminals in the appropriate segments of black market in the near future,” said Maxim Suhanov, a specialist at computer-forensics firm Group-IB.

A recent analysis of the fake anti-virus distribution networks found that scammers were using highly profitable pay-per-install programs to deploy the malware. PPI networks reportedly charge as little as US$750 for 10,000 installs.

“If you do the math, it’s almost like you’re printing money,” researcher Damon McCoy said. “You could pay the PPI networks US$75 to get 1,000 fake AV installs. And if you had an average conversion rate of one in 50, making between US$25-US$35 on each install, that works out to about 20 sales — or conservatively US$500 per one thousand installs.”

Users first discovered the MacDefender malicious software in late April. Using a method known as “SEO poisoning,” the malware automatically downloaded itself onto users’ computers and posed as an anti-virus software in an attempt to trick users into providing credit card information. Security firms categorized the threat as “low” because the users were still required to agree to install the software and provide a password.

However, in late May, a variant of the malicious software was discovered that installed itself without administrator approval. Apple issued a security update to Mac OS X meant to detect and disable the malware.

Security researchers have applauded Apple for its recent security efforts, especially in Mac OS X Lion, while also warning that the Mac platform’s increased visibility may open it up to increased threats from hackers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.4.2

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 5th, 2011, 04:49
Category: News, Software

carbon.jpg

Late Tuesday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.4.2. The new version, a 5.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed an issue in which scheduled tasks with a remote Macintosh specified as the source would not run properly if the scheduled task had been upgraded from an earlier version of CCC.

- Fixed an issue in which a task scheduled to run when the source or destination was reconnected would not fire unless the disk was physically detached from the Mac.

- Fixed an issue that would interfere with the execution of scheduled tasks configured to back up to a network volume.

- Fixed an issue in which some network filesystems would not appear in the source and destination menus, or would cause a crash when selected.

- Fixed an issue in which the Cloning Coach would appear frozen on screen.

- The email recipients field should now be editable on Tiger systems.

- Several general tweaks to user interface behavior.

- Fixed an issue in which a restored volume wouldn’t be bootable if the volume had been restored while booted from a different version of Mac OS X than what was being restored.

- CCC now avoids setting file flags and permissions on files that are not owned by the user account that was used to mount a network filesystem.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would report that it was unable to enable ACLs on the destination volume when specifying a folder as the destination.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would not display the list of currently-configured scheduled tasks in the Scheduler window.

- Added undo and redo support to the “Ask a question about CCC” form in CCC’s Help window.

- Fixed an issue in which the “Send test email” button would be unclickable if the Scheduler window was resized vertically.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task would not run, rather it would only display the background “Defer/Skip” window. This issue was associated with a “-[__NSCFBoolean objectForKey:]: unrecognized selector sent to instance” error in the CCC log file.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would report an error enabling ACLs when the source was a remote Macintosh. The error would subsequently cause the backup task to fail.

- Growl notifications should now work with scheduled tasks.

- /.DocumentRevisions-V100 is now excluded by default. A note on this exclusion has also been added to the appropriate section of the documentation.

- CCC now deletes the per-task archive folder at the end of the backup task if that folder is empty. The _CCC Archives folder will also be deleted if it is subsequently empty.

- Archive folders were occasionally created with restrictive access that would prevent the user from accessing their contents. These folders will now be more reliably created with the user set as the owner.

- Fixed a bug in which an improperly unmounted volume would cause scheduled tasks to fail. Suspending a Parallels VM, for example, could trigger this behavior (Parallels unmounts the “C” drive but does not remove the mountpoint folder).

- Fixed an issue affecting Leopard users in which CCC would hang when the user clicked the Stop button.

- Fixed an issue in which Growl notifications would not be accepted by the Growl helper when sent from a CCC scheduled task.

- The “Maintain a backup (Archive modified and deleted items)” preset no longer calls for archive pruning. Archive pruning must be requested explicitly by the user.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would report permissions problems while accessing some files on network filesystems.

- Made a couple tweaks to the sending of email notifications that should make it work better with some email servers.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.4.2 retails for a US$10 shareware registration fee. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.