Adobe releases Flash Player 11.7.700.169

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Date: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013, 08:15
Category: iOS, iPad, News, security, Software

A hefty update is never unappreciated.

On Wednesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.7.700.169 for Mac OS X, a 16.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:

Fixed Issues:
- On Retina-enabled OS X devices, Flash applications are scaled incorrectly upon opening (3496539).

-In AIR on iOS, loading a SWF with and embedded video can cause a crash in some circumstances (3514499).

- In AIR on iOS, loading an image from a remote server can cause a crash (3476445).

- On OS X, setting stage.fullScreenSourceRect when renderMode is set to “GPU”, leads to inaccurate mouse position reporting (3512232).

- In the Chrome browser, the copy shortcut (Ctrl/Cmd+C) fails (3496300).

- Attempting to embed a Flash project into Microsoft word can result in a crash (3498002).

- In AIR for iOS, some apps get rejected for missing push notification entitlement (3501744).

- In AIR for iOS, Flex applications running on iPad2 over 3G connections can experience a crash (3435401).

- In AIR for iOS, reloading of pure asset SWFs isn’t allowed (3516971).

- On OS X, some fonts do not rending properly when viewing Flash content in the Google Chrome browser (3506958).

New Features:
- Sandboxing enhancements.

- Prevent Cloud backup for Shared Objects (iOS).

- Use CPU render mode for selected devices (iOS).

- Externally host secondary SWF files (iOS).

Adobe Flash Player 11.7.700.169 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Opera web browser updated to 12.15.1748

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Date: Thursday, April 4th, 2013, 07:55
Category: News, security, Software

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It’s hard to knock a useful web browser update.

On Thursday, Opera Software released version 12.15.1748 of its web browser. The new version, a 20.3 megabyte download via MacUpdate, boasts the following fixes and changes:
- Fixed a moderately severe issue, as reported by Attila Suszter; details will be disclosed at a later date.

- Added safeguards against attacks on the RC4 encryption protocol.

- Fixed an issue where cookies could be set for a top-level domain.

Opera 12.15.1748 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

Apple includes Yontoo trojan on XProtect.plist database

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Date: Monday, March 25th, 2013, 07:37
Category: News, security, Software

With any luck, the Yontoo trojan won’t be around on the Mac OS X platform for long.

Per the Intego Security Blog and MacRumors, shortly after news emerged of a new adware trojan targeting OS X web browsers, Apple updated its malware and adware detections list to block Yontoo.

The company has apparently updated its “XProtect” anti-malware system. XProtect.plist will now recognize Yontoo and warn users that attempt to install the software on their computers.

Intego’s post notes that the XProtect detection “is very specific and potentially location-dependent.” The extra specificity, Intego supposes, may be there in order to stop only indirect installations of the file.

News of the Yontoo trojan emerged recently when a Russian anti-virus company pointed out its existence. Yontoo asks users if they want to install a browser plugin, media player, download accelerator, or other video-oriented program. Upon agreeing to the download, the plugin begins transmitting browsing data to an off-site server. User browsing data is processed, and the server sends back a file embedding third-party code into webpages visited by the user. The viewing or clicking of embedded ads then generates ad affiliate network profits for the criminals behind the adware.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple adds two-step verification, other new features to iCloud security

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Date: Friday, March 22nd, 2013, 06:44
Category: News, security, Software

When in doubt, beef up the ol’ security system a bit…

On Thursday, Apple has rolled out a new two-step verification service for iCloud and Apple ID users. This functionality greatly enhances the security of Apple accounts because it requires users to use a trusted device and an extra security code.

Per 9to5Mac, the security code can be sent via SMS or via the Find my iPhone iOS app (if it is installed). Users can now setup two-step authentication on their devices via the Apple ID web site. Users need to access the security tab on this website to conduct the setup process.

During the setup process for two-step verification, users can choose which of their iOS devices they want to be “trusted.” This new service will allow only you to be able to reset your password.

Full details can be located at the Apple ID web site.

Advertising-based trojan goes into wild on Mac OS X, Windows platforms

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Date: Thursday, March 21st, 2013, 07:55
Category: Hack, News, security, Software

The available list of Mac malware (and jerks creating it) just grew a bit.

Per MacNN, a new Mac trojan is inserting ads into Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, says a Russian security firm, Doctor Web. Nicknamed “Trojan.Yontoo.1,” the malware is so far being distributed through movie trailer pages, which prompt people to download a browser plugin, a media player, a video enhancer, or a download accelerator. When launched, the malware asks to be installed under a name such as “Free Twit Tube.”

In reality, the installer inserts a plugin into the aforementioned browsers, which transmits data about the websites a person visits to a remote server, and inserts ads into places in sites where they wouldn’t otherwise exist. Visiting the official Apple page for the iPad mini, for instance, may trigger an ad for unrealistically low iPad discounts. Doctor Web notes that the attackers could potentially swap out the plugin for different or updated code.

The malware is targeting Windows systems as well, but Doctor Web comments that hackers are increasingly targeting Mac owners, and that such ad schemes generate money regardless of the platform they’re on. The hackers likely receive money for each ad impression, and more if a person actually clicks on an ad. There doesn’t appear to be any defense against the trojan in OS X at the moment, short of rejecting the installation; Apple may, however, be able to create a safeguard by updating the OS’ blacklist.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

New iOS passcode bypass bug discovered one day after iOS 6.1.3 release

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Date: Thursday, March 21st, 2013, 07:32
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, security

Well, this is sort of awkward…

Remember how you JUST installed iOS 6.1.3 to get rid of a passcode bypass bug that would allow an unauthorized person to access the Phone app on a locked iPhone? Per iMore and The Next Web, a new bypass bug has been discovered.

The passcode bypass in the previous versions of iOS 6 required a series of well-timed taps and button presses. The result was full access to the Phone app on a locked device without entering the passcode. This new bug (not quite new, it seems to have existed prior to iOS 6.1.3) requires a sequence that’s a little easier to execute as can be seen in this video. For some reason, this bypass seems to to be more difficult to accomplish on newer, Siri-capable devices.



The bypass can be achieved using the iPhone’s Voice Dial feature. By holding the Home button on a device for a few seconds, the Voice Dial feature will come up. Issue a dial command such as “Dial 303-555-1212”, then as the call is being initiated, eject the SIM card. The iPhone detects the SIM has been removed, cancels the call, and displays an alert saying there is no SIM. Behind the alert you will see the Phone app and after dismissing the alert, you will have full access to the Phone app. As before this means you can access contact information as well as all photos on the device.

Initially thought to only be possible on non-Siri phones, reports are now coming in of this bypass being performed on the iPhone 4S and 5 as well, though it doesn’t seem to be as easily reproducible on these devices. Performing the bypass on these devices devices would also require Siri to be disabled and Voice Dial to be enabled.

Unlike the previous bug, this bypass can also easily be prevented by disabling Voice Dial. This can be done in the iPhone’s Settings app, under General > Passcode Lock, by turning the Voice Dial switch to off. With the way Apple has been handling these so far, it would not be surprising to see this fixed in a 6.1.4 update.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6.1.3 update

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Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013, 12:59
Category: iOS, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

I’ll say this for Apple: it’s getting speedier on its iOS updates.

On Tuesday, Apple released iOS 6.1.3, a 107 megabyte download offering the following fixes for its supported iOS devices:

- Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the passcode and access the Phone app.

- Improvements to Maps in Japan.

iOS 6.1.3 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

Apple releases Safari 6.0.3 update

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Date: Friday, March 15th, 2013, 07:17
Category: News, security, Software

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Hey, an update’s an update.

Late Thursday, Apple released Safari 6.0.3, an update to its web browser. The new version, a 44.8 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), includes the following fixes and new features:
- Contains updated security content. Download included with OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion.

- Improves scrolling on facebook.com.

- Improves scrolling while zoomed in on a webpage.

- Improves performance on webpages with plug-in content.

- A fix for an issue that could cause the inaccurate appearance of an alert that bookmarks can’t be changed.

- A fix for an issue that could cause duplicate bookmarks to appear on an iOS device after editing bookmarks with Safari in OS X.

- A fix for an issue that permitted users to access unfiltered search results when searching from google.com when Parental Controls are enabled.

- A fix for an issue that could prevent Safari from restoring the last position on a webpage a user navigated back to.

Safari 6.0.3 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install and run and can also be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Google Chrome updated to 25.0.1364.172

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Date: Wednesday, March 13th, 2013, 07:08
Category: News, security, Software

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Hey, take an update where you can find it.

On Wednesday, Google released version 25.0.1364.172 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 48.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- This release contains stability improvements, and a new version of Adobe Flash.

Google Chrome 25.0.1364.172 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Security firm Skycure illustrates possible hacking attacks through iOS’ use of Provisioning Profiles

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Date: Tuesday, March 12th, 2013, 07:41
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

In the words of assorted security analysts, Apple may be setting itself up for a malware fall thanks to its Provisioning Profiles.

Per The Next Web, while iOS users have been relatively safe from malware on their devices, researchers from security company Skycure say they’re concerned about a feature of iOS that could be used by malicious actors to read information, passwords and even encrypted data from devices without customers knowledge. They’ve detailed the new vulnerability in a presentation at the Herzliya Conference and a company blog post.

It’s worth noting at the beginning that Skycure’s product, still in development, is a mobile firewall with a cloud component designed to secure devices against attacks just like these. This isn’t all that unusual, though, as many security firms like Sophos and Intego produce research reports along with consulting and security products.

Provisioning Profiles (mobileconfigs) are small files installed with a single tap on iOS devices. They essentially function as instruction lists which can alter many settings, including network configurations and they’re used by thousands of companies around the world including app developers, corporations with IT departments and more.

Their use is officially approved by Apple and there is nothing innately malicious about any given profile. But, if put to the right uses, they do open up the ability to read usernames and passwords right off of a screen, transmit data that would normally be secure (over HTTPS) to a malicious server where it can be read and a lot more.

In a demonstration, Skycure’s CTO Yair Amit and CEO Adi Sharabani sent the author to a website where a link was offered. A provisioning profile was presented, installed and led to a screen that looked a lot like a phishing attempt, which requires an action on the part of a user in order to infect or grant access to a hacker.

After the profile was installed, Sharabani demonstrated that he could not only read exactly which websites the author had visited, but also scrape keystrokes, searches and login data from apps like Facebook and LinkedIn. To be perfectly clear, this is not a vulnerability within iOS, instead it uses standardized frameworks to deliver a profile that has malicious intent.

iOS has typically been far more secure than other platforms because of its heavy use of curation on the App Store, but also because it has been built from the ground up to use sandboxing. This means that apps are cordoned off, unable to reach outside of their data box or to affect any other apps that have not given them explicit permission to do so.

Provisioning Profiles step outside of that protection and can do things like route all of a victim’s traffic through a third-party server, install root certificates allowing for interception and decryption of secure HTTPS traffic and more.

Sharabani provides a couple of scenarios by which people could be convinced to install what seems like a harmless provisioning profile, only to be a victim of a traffic re-routing attack:

- Victims browse to an attacker-controlled website, which promises them free access to popular movies and TV shows. In order to get the free access, “all they have to do” is to install an iOS profile that will “configure” their devices accordingly.

- Victims receive a mail that promises them a “better battery performance” or just “something cool to watch” upon installation.

The attacks, Sharabani stated, can be configured to use a VPN, APN proxy or a wireless proxy (WiFi), so just because you’re not on a WiFi network doesn’t mean that the profile can’t send your traffic to a third-party. This also means that (unlike a VPN, where there is an indicator in your status bar), you could also be affected by the hack without your knowledge. Of course, you would still have had to install a profile in the first place.

For the third attack scenario, Skycure came up with a list of cellular carriers that ask clients to install a special profile that configures their device to work with that network’s data servers. Of course, those sites could end up being compromised to deliver corrupted profiles, but it’s bound to be harder to do if it’s the carrier’s own servers doing the distribution.

As of now, no evidence has been found of a Provisioning Profile attack in the wild. And, to be extremely blunt once again, you are not at risk at all if you don’t install any profiles to your device, period. And if you have to, make sure that those profiles are from a trusted source and are verified. You should also only download and install profiles from ‘secure’ HTTPS links.

The disclosure of the issue, Sharabani says, is really about raising awareness, rather than starting a panic. While the attacks can be powerful and harmful, the Provisioning Profile attack, much like phishing, relies on user ignorance. Just as you wouldn’t type your password into a page provided as a random link, don’t install profiles from websites that you don’t know and avoid them completely if at all possible.

Because of the deep integration of Provisioning Profiles into the workflows of IT departments and other companies, it’s unlikely that they’ll be going away any time soon. So the best defense for now is knowledge and care.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.