“MAC Defender” trojan goes live, prompts users for credit card information

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Date: Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011, 04:20
Category: News, security, Software

Security firm Intego announced Monday that a fake antivirus program for Mac OS X has been discovered in the wild. While the threat potential remains low, inexperienced users could be fooled into paying to remove fake viruses “detected” by the software, and in the process, could end up giving credit card information to scammers.

Per Ars Technica, the fake antivirus software calls itself “MAC Defender,” perhaps the first hint that it should not be trusted (Apple makes “Macs,” not “MACs”). The developers have incorporated what’s known as “SEO poisoning” to make links to the software show up at the top of search results in Google and other search engines. Clicking the links that show up in search results brings up a fake Windows screen that tells the user a virus has been “detected,” another clue that something is fishy. JavaScript code then automatically downloads a zipped installer for MAC Defender.

If the “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” option is turned on in Safari, the installer will be unzipped and run. Since the installer requires a user password, it won’t install without user interaction. However, inexperienced users may be fooled into thinking the software is legitimate.

Intego notes that the application is visually well designed and doesn’t have numerous misspellings or other errors common to such malware on Windows, though it does seem to contain some sketchy grammar. The software will periodically display Growl alerts that various fake malware has been detected, and also periodically opens porn websites in the default browser, perhaps leading a user to believe the detected malware “threats” are real. Users are then directed to an insecure website to pay for a license and “clean” the malware infections. However, buying the license merely stops the fake alerts from popping up, but your money and credit card info is now in the hands of hackers.

While MAC Defender wouldn’t likely fool an experienced user, Intego notes that its appearance in the wild is yet another opportunity to detail some useful security precautions. Don’t let your browser automatically open downloads. If your browser asks if you want to run an installer even though you didn’t try to download one, click “cancel.” And never give your password to run installers you aren’t 100% sure about.

On a final note, if you or anyone you know happens to know who created this thing, feel free to kick them in the shins at your earliest convenience.

Apple addresses security concerns with QuickTime 7.6.9 update for Mac OS X 10.5.x operating systems

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Date: Wednesday, December 8th, 2010, 05:14
Category: News, security, Software

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Per the cool cats over at CNET, Apple has updated its Quicktime software, now at version 7.6.9, to fix vulnerabilities where a maliciously designed file could execute arbitrary code or lead to the application terminating.

As Apple describes in its knowledge base article:
“Description: A heap buffer overflow exists in QuickTime’s handling of JP2 images. Viewing a maliciously crafted JP2 image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This issue is addressed through improved bounds checking. For Mac OS X v10.6 systems, this issue is addressed in Mac OS X v10.6.5. Credit to Nils of MWR InfoSecurity, and Will Dormann of the CERT/CC, for reporting this issue.”

Also included in this security update are fixes to maliciously crafted avi file types, other movie file types, FlashPix image files, GIF image files, or PICT image files, as well as a possibility that local users may have access to sensitive information on certain Windows machines.
The update is for Mac users running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or Server 10.5.8. For more information, visit the entire security update article.

As usual, the update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, let us know in the comments.

Apple explains iOS 4.2 security fixes

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Date: Wednesday, November 24th, 2010, 08:41
Category: News, security, Software

Following Apple’s Monday release of iOS 4.2 for iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices, the company outlined its security fixes in a Knowledge Base entry posted online.

Per Macworld, many of the patches protect against malicious attackers running code on your device, which could in theory be used for all sorts of malicious purposes. Vulnerabilities were corrected for WebKit, Configuration Profiles, CoreGraphics, FreeType (in PDF rendering), and more to prevent against this type of attack.

iOS 4.2 also includes a fix for iAd content display, to prevent attackers in what Apple calls “a privileged network position” to force phone calls from your device without your permission. A separate fix for Mail corrects an issue where carefully-crafted HTML emails could track whether you viewed a message, even if you had turned off remote image loading in Settings.

The update also addresses a situation where your MobileMe password could become visible to an outside user in a privileged network position when using the Photos app to send images to the service. iOS 4.2 also corrects a race condition that could force the Reset Safari option to take a full 30 seconds to remove your saved Web passwords–during which time a speedy user with access to your device could still log in to those sites.

So, there you have it. And if you’ve noticed any major changes in iOS that you’d like to comment on, let us know.

Apple release Security Update 2010-007 update for Mac OS X 10.5 operating systems

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Date: Friday, November 12th, 2010, 05:27
Category: News, security, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released Security Update 2010-007, bringing the same security patches included in the recent Mac OS X 10.6.5 release to Macs running 10.5 Leopard client or server versions.

Per Macworld, the more prominent fixes included in the update is a fix for a bug in Apple Type Services which could allow the downloading of a maliciously crafted font file to lead to arbitrary code execution. That bug, originally caught by security firm Core Security, was similar to a vulnerability in Apple’s iOS that allowed hackers to jailbreak devices running that software. Apple patched the flaw in an iOS update

In addition to fixing the font bug, 2010-007 brings an updated version of Adobe’s Flash Player plug-in (numbered 10.1.102.64) which patches a number of security vulnerabilities, some of which could lead to arbitrary code execution. Patches are also included for a number of holes in QuickTime, Time Machine, Safari RSS, Quick Look, and several of OS X’s other underlying systems.

The Leopard client version of Security Update 2010-007 is a 240.74 megabyte download while the server version is a 448.10 megabyte download. If you’re running an eligible system, the relevant update should appear via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Security researchers locate additional iPhone security hole, publish findings

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Date: Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 04:02
Category: iPhone, News, security

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Even if you feel absolutely secure in entering your PIN every time you unlock your iPhone, there may still be some security shortfalls. Per a blog post by Bernd Marienfeldt, Marienfeldt and fellow security wonk Jim Herbeck have discovered that plugging even a fully up-to-date, non-jailbroken iPhone 3GS into a computer running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx allows nearly full read access to the phone’s storage even when it’s locked.

The belief is that they’re just a buffer overflow away from full write access as well, which would surely open the door to making calls. Bernd believes the iPhone’s lack of data encryption for content is a real problem, and also cites the inability to digitally sign e-mails as reasons why the iPhone is still not ready for prime time in the enterprise.

Still, better that these guys found it and put the evidence in front of Apple than another party locate the security hole.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Security Update 2010-003 for Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6 operating systems

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Date: Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 04:40
Category: security, Software

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Following up on a slew of recent software updates, Apple released Security Update 2010-003 on Wednesday. The update, which varies in size between 6.2 and 208 megabytes depending on the version used and fixes assorted security holes described here.

The update, as usual, can be located, snagged and installed Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Security Update 2010-003 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve installed the update and noticed any changes, let us know.

Apple releases Security Update 2010-002 for Mac OS X 10.5.x

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Date: Tuesday, March 30th, 2010, 03:26
Category: security, Software

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Following yesterday’s release of the Mac OS X 10.6.3 update for Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) users, Apple also released Security Update 2010-002, a 208 megabyte download that incorporates previous security updates have been incorporated into this security update and essentially brings Mac OS X 10.5.x to the same security standard as Mac OS X 10.6.3.

For a full list of the changes, click here.

As usual, the update can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

Security Update 2010-002 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple Releases Security Update 2010-001

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Date: Wednesday, January 20th, 2010, 06:58
Category: security, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released Security Update 2010-001 for its Mac OS X operating systems. The updates, which range between a 21 and 159 megabyte download (depending on operating system), address critical vulnerabilities in the system where hackers and malicious software can take advantage and either compromise the system or steal personal information.

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later for the Mac OS X 10.5 operating system and Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later for the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system and can also be located and snagged with Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the updates and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Second iPhone Worm in the Wild

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Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2009, 06:24
Category: iPhone, security

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We told you not to jailbreak your iPhone, but you had to be super cool and rebellious. Per BBC News, jailbroken iPhones could be vulnerable to a new, malicious worm that can allow remote access and control without the owner’s knowledge or permission. It’s been estimated that hundreds of users are currently affected by a worm that targets users of “jailbroken” iPhones who live in the Netherlands and use the bank ING Direct. But security company F-Secure told stated that the currently isolated issue could easily jump to thousands of handsets. The worm is reportedly spread between phones when they share the same Wi-Fi spot.

In order for an iPhone to be vulnerable to the new worm, they must have willingly modified their handset’s software to allow them to run unauthorized code. Phones can be jailbroken to run applications or modify the system in ways not approved by Apple.

The worm only affects jailbroken phones that have SSH (secure shell) installed, without the default password — “alpine” — changed. It employs the same method as a previous worm, Ikee, that was not malicious. Instead, the wallpaper-changing prank simply changed the user’s background to a picture of 1980s pop star Rick Astley, who sang the 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The new worm reportedly has botnet functionality and connects to a Web-based command and control center based in Lithuania.

For now, the worm is only aimed at customers who live in the Netherlands and bank with ING Direct. The company has stated that it intends to put a warning on its Web site.

Intego Warns Against Ikee Worm for iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, November 11th, 2009, 06:31
Category: iPhone, security

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It’s not Rick Astley you have to worry about, it’s the Ikee worm.

According to Macworld UK, Intego, which develops and sells desktop Internet security and privacy software for the Mac, claims to have spotted a hacker tool, which potentially copies personal info from users iPhones.

The news comes after the first iPhone worm, known as Ikee, was revealed, which simply adds Rick Astley wallpaper to jailbroken iPhone phones.

Intego claims the new worm is far more dangerous than the Ikee worm. This hacker tool, which Intego identifies as iPhone/Privacy.A, takes advantage of the same vulnerability in the iPhone as the Ikee worm, allowing hackers to connect to any jailbroken iPhone whose owners have not changed the root password.

“It is important to note that standard, non-jailbroken iPhones are not at risk; it is extremely dangerous to jailbreak an iPhone because of the vulnerabilities that this process creates,” claims Intego, who believe 6-8 per cent of iPhones are jailbroken.

The tool reportedly allows a hacker to silently copy user data from a compromised iPhone including email, contacts, SMSs, calendars, photos, music files, videos, as well as any data recorded by any iPhone application insists Intego.

This new hacker also tool gives no indication that it has invaded an iPhone warns the company.

“Hackers using this tool will install it on a computer – Mac, PC, Unix or Linux – then let it work. It scans the network accessible to it, and when it finds a jailbroken iPhone, breaks into it, then steals data and records it,” insists Intego.

“This hacker tool could easily be installed, for example, on a computer on display in a retail store, which could then scan all iPhones that pass within the reach of its network. Or, a hacker could sit in an Internet café and let his computer scan all iPhones that come within the range of the wifi network in search of data.|

“Hackers could even install this tool on their own iPhones, and use it to scan for jailbroken phones as they go about their daily business,” Intego adds.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and, well, if you were planning on jailbreaking your iPhone in the near future, you might want to give it a second thought.