Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro notebooks banned from some state bar exams, security concern cited

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Date: Wednesday, February 1st, 2017, 05:53
Category: Legal, MacBook Pro, News, security, Touch Bar

If you have a new Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro notebook and are looking to take the bar exam, you might need to leave the notebook behind.

According to an announcement from testing software company ExamSoft, the Touch Bar’s predictive text feature could compromise “exam integrity.”

For law students looking to take the North Carolina bar exam, test proctors have been instructed to keep a look out for models with the Touch Bar and technicians will be on hand to ensure the feature is disabled. Test takers will be approved to use the laptops provided they followed ExamSoft’s helpful instructions for reverting the Touch Bar back to a row of standard function keys.

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Apple’s Activation Lock website could have played role in hack, thereby leading to its sudden closure

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Date: Tuesday, January 31st, 2017, 05:44
Category: Hack, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

Apple’s Activation Lock web site may have been involved in a hack, thus explaining its sudden removal and elimination.

As it turns out, the Activation Lock website was a vital part of a bypass hack used to unlock devices bricked by Activation Lock, perhaps hinting at why Apple shelved it.

The hack centered around the perpetrators changing one or two characters of an invalid serial number, thereby generating a valid serial number for an iOS device. The valid number could then be used to gain full access to the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

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Apple’s iCloud Activation Lock page removed without explanation

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Date: Monday, January 30th, 2017, 05:48
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, retail, security

Without hint or warning, Apple has removed the iCloud Activation Lock status page, which used to exist at iCloud.com/activationlock, but that URL now leads to a 404 error instead. The utility let anyone type in the IMEI or serial number of an iOS device to find out if Activation Lock had been turned off, something which proved to be useful to verify the authenticity of a seller when buying a used iPhone online.

References to the web page have been removed from Apple’s support documentation, indicating this is not a temporary issue and the page has been intentionally pulled from service.

A previous Apple support document recommended that users check the Activation Lock status of an iOS device before buying it to ensure that the product was ready to use. The text was removed on January 24th and the iCloud.com/activationlock URL stopped working not long afterwards.

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Apple releases iOS 10.2.1 update

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Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2017, 05:58
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

It’s been a day for updates and Apple just released iOS 10.2.1, the current version of its mobile operating system.

The update, which weighs in between 65 megabytes and over a gigabyte depending on whether you download it over the air or via iTunes, offers the following fixes and changes:

Auto Unlock
Impact: Auto Unlock may unlock when Apple Watch is off the user’s wrist.
Desription: A logic issue was addressed through improved state management.

Contacts
Impact: Processing a maliciously crafted contact card may lead to unexpected application termination.
Desription: An input validation issue existed in the parsing of contact cards. This issue was addressed through improved input validation.

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Meitu selfie app apparently collecting, transmitting user data back to Chinese source

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2017, 05:11
Category: Android, iOS, iPhone, News, privacy, security, Software

The good news is that the Meitu app adds some cool selfie editing tools, allowing you to pretty much transform your selfie pictures into nifty anime characters.

The bad news is that the app is apparently sending back as much private information as it can to a Chinese source.

The MeituPic app, launched in 2013, soared to the top of the Chinese app charts. It was rebranded as “Meitu” in 2016 and works by taking a selfie, smoothing a person’s skin, adding virtual makeup and a number of other effects.

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Apple patches “Fruitfly” malware, which relied on pre-OS X system calls

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2017, 05:30
Category: Developer, News, security, Software

Apple appears to have nixed the “Fruitfly” malware strain.

The malware, which has been patched over, relied on antiquated code predating OS X. Although older, the Fruitfly malware had been used in real-world attacks on biomedical research groups according to security software maker Malwarebytes.

Fruitfly operated by communicating with two command-and-control servers, and can perform actions like typing, webcam and screen captures, and moving and clicking a mouse cursor, Malwarebytes said in a blog post on Wednesday. It also maps other devices on a network and tries to connect to them.

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Safari-get.com URL leads to new malware strain for macOS-based machines

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Date: Monday, January 9th, 2017, 05:00
Category: macOS, News, security, Software

You’re going to need to be a little more careful when surfing the Web on your Mac.

For the past few weeks, people have been tricked into visiting a phony website embedded with malware that can freeze Macs, according to a report this week by the cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes.

The new malware, which can be activated by visiting safari-get.com, can trigger two sets of actions depending on the version of the computers’ operating systems.

In one case, the malware causes the computer’s Apple email client to create a deluge of draft emails that contain the words “Warning! Virus Detected!” in the email subject line. Although the emails don’t get actually get delivered to anyone, the sudden flood of draft emails hogs the computer’s resources, thus causing the computer to freeze.

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Yahoo discloses details of August 2013 hack, says more than one billion accounts compromised in effort

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Date: Thursday, December 15th, 2016, 05:32
Category: Hack, Hacks, News, security

yahoomail

It doesn’t look good when half a billion of your company’s email accounts are hacked.

And it looks a bit worse when a cool billion of them in total were hacked.

Yahoo on Wednesday announced that it believes more than one billion Yahoo user accounts were compromised in a hack by an unauthorized third party in August of 2013.

The company disclosed that information stolen from affected accounts includes names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, hashed passwords, and both encrypted and unencrypted security questions and answers. Clear text passwords, bank account information, and credit/debit card information were not believed to be accessed in the attack.

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iPhones secretly storing call data in iCloud, allows later access for law enforcement (Updated)

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Date: Friday, November 18th, 2016, 05:43
Category: iOS, iPhone, privacy, security, Software

applelogo1

This definitely qualifies as a mess between privacy, security and law enforcement.

While Apple emerged as a guardian of privacy earlier this year, fighting the FBI’s demands to help crack San Bernadino shooter Syed Farouk’s iPhone, implementing improved encryption for all its handsets and refusing to undermine that encryption, it appears that private data is being sent to the iCloud without user consent.

Russian digital forensics firm Elcomsoft has found that Apple’s mobile devices automatically send a user’s call history to the company’s servers if iCloud is enabled — but the data gets uploaded in many instances without user choice or notification.

“You only need to have iCloud itself enabled” for the data to be sent, said Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft.

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Some newer MacBook Pro units arriving with System Integrity Protection feature disabled

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Date: Friday, November 18th, 2016, 05:06
Category: MacBook Pro, macOS, News, OS X, security, Software

macbook_pro_sip_off

This is kind of strange.

Since the days of OS X El Capitan, Apple has activated a protection feature called System Integrity Protection, which is designed to keep your Mac safe from malware by restricting the permissions of the root user account and preventing unauthorized access to protected files and folders.

The program runs behind the scenes and is generally enabled by default in Mac running OS X El Capitan. Developer Jonathan Wight noticed that the System Integrity Protection feature has been disabled on newer Macs, prompting developer Steven Troughton-Smith to do an informal Twitter survey asking users about the status of their new machines.

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