Symantec releases Norton Flashback Detection and Removal Tool

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Date: Friday, April 13th, 2012, 08:26
Category: News, Software

In the midst of all this Flashback hubbub, Symantec on Thursday released a free scan-and-removal tool to help remove the now-infamous Flashback malware. The utility is available on http://us.norton.com/mac-flashback/promo as a 649 kilobyte download and requires a quick agreement to the software terms prior to download.

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

Apple updates iTunes account security protocols, adds new security prompts for users

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Date: Friday, April 13th, 2012, 07:41
Category: News, security, Software

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This could make your iTunes account that much more secure.

Or it could make you want to put an axe through the screen as you just want to buy a cool 99 cent app.

Per Ars Technica, Apple has begun asking users to select and answer a series of questions associated with their Apple IDs to enhance security measures.

The security prompts began popping up on iOS devices on Wednesday, wherein users were met with a prompt that states “Security Info Required.”

After being shown the message, users are asked to select from a number of security questions and provide personal answers. Users are also prompted to provide a backup e-mail address in case the primary address associated with their Apple ID is compromised.

The changes are meant to curb fraud and phishing attempts that have been used for many years to hijack iTunes accounts. Because credit card information is tied to a user’s account, nefarious people will steal and resell accounts, allowing people to buy content like music, movies and applications on someone else’s dime.

This week’s changes are only the latest in a series of measures by Apple over the years to improve security associated with iTunes accounts. Some of the steps taken include requiring users to verify their account information when they log into new devices, and upgrading passwords to make them more complex with varying characters.

Some users have been confused by the new security prompts appearing this week, and have expressed concern on the Apple Support Communities website that the alerts could be bogus phishing attempts. However, the revised measures have been proven to be legitimate, and Apple has admitted they are part of an ongoing effort to bolster security.

If you’ve seen these prompts on your end, please let us know what you make of them in the comments.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.0 (Service Pack 2) released

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Date: Friday, April 13th, 2012, 06:11
Category: News, Software

Even your crankiest relatives at Thanksgiving can’t deny that an update is a good thing.

On Tuesday, Microsoft released its Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.0 (Service Pack 2) update. The update, a 112 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

– Document Connection support for SkyDrive documents is improved. This update enables users to view and access documents that are located in the root level of a SkyDrive folder.

– The drag-and-drop feature in Document Connection is added in Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). This update adds a drag-and-drop feature for files in Document Connection in Mac OS X 10.7.

– Upload functionality for SharePoint sites is improved. This update fixes an issue in which you receive the following error message when you upload a file to a SharePoint site: Upload Failed You must sign in to save your changes to the server.

– The Italian grammar checker is improved. This update fixes an issue in which the Italian grammar checker does not check a complete document.

– The German grammar checker is improved. This update fixes an issue in which the German grammar checker does not check a complete document when the document contains certain German sentences.

Improvements for Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011
– The database and the rebuild utility are improved. This update includes fixes that increase the robustness of the database and that improve the effectiveness of the rebuild utility. Outlook for Mac uses the Office database to store personal information, such as messages and contacts.

– This update fixes issues that cause database corruptions, instability, and crashes. This update also improves database transactions and the ability to recover from certain errors. If there is a problem within the database, Outlook for Mac starts the Database Utility, which tries to rebuild the database. After you install this update, the Database Utility recovers additional account information, such as shared resources and categories, and recovers from corruption scenarios. This update also adds the ability to cancel a database rebuild in Outlook for Mac.

– IMAP account sync that includes support for synchronizing with Gmail is improved. After you install this update, Outlook for Mac updates new messages in IMAP folders regularly. Additionally, Outlook for Mac users who use Gmail accounts can map folders, such as Drafts, Deleted Items, Sent Items, and Junk E-Mail, automatically.

– Outlook for Mac performance in key scenarios is improved. This update introduces several performance improvements in the following areas:
General responsiveness during syncing
Deleting multiple records
Displaying email message content
Sending email messages

– Exchange email message sync is improved. This update introduces a new sync model for Exchange. The new model enables Outlook for Mac to download an email message in parts. For example, Outlook for Mac first downloads and displays message text and then downloads large images and attachments.

– Downloading messages in parts reduces the load on the Exchange server and improves performance for the user.

– Support for calendar scheduling resources is improved. This update improves support for calendar scheduling resources and for free/busy comparison functionality in the Scheduling Assistant.

– Week numbers are added to the calendar display. This update adds a preference to enable the calendar to display week numbers.

– Distribution list expansion functionality is included. This update enables you to expand distribution lists into individual members when you add a distribution list in the To field or rest the mouse pointer on a distribution list.

Improvements for Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac 2011:
– Functionality for pasting special hyperlinks is included. This update introduces functionality that enables you to paste special hyperlinks in PowerPoint.

– The list of co-authors is improved. This update fixes an issue in which you cannot see the list of co-authors in a presentation.

– Full Screen View in Lion is supported. This update supports Full Screen View in PowerPoint. Additionally, when you close slide show mode in PowerPoint, edit mode opens.

Improvements for Microsoft Word for Mac 2011:
– Printing PDF faxes is improved. This update fixes an issue in which Word cannot send .pdf files as faxes.

– The user information display in templates is improved. This update fixes an issue in which a Word template does not display a user’s name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address when you view the template after the template is saved in .doc format.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and for the Service Pack 1 updater to have been previously installed.

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

Apple releases Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 8, Java for Mac OS X Lion 2012-003 updates, looks to remove Flashback malware

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Date: Friday, April 13th, 2012, 06:25
Category: News, Software

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Maybe this will settle it once and for all.

Late Thursday, Apple released Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 8, the update removing the most common variants of the Flashback malware. The 80.6 megabyte download requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 to install and run.

The company also released Java for Mac OS X Lion 2012-003, which also looks to remove the most common type of the now-infamous Flashback malware. The 63.8 megabyte download requires OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.

The updates, which can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. If you’ve tried the new versions and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Skype updated to 5.7.60.1037

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Date: Thursday, April 12th, 2012, 08:45
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, version 5.7.60.1037 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 23.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– We have made overall improvements to the product quality and calling experience.

– Following user feedback, we have enabled Volume Control in the Preferences for users who use USB headsets.

– Fixed: IM area becomes blurry after scrolling

Skype 5.7.60.1037 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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

Adobe releases Flash Player 11.3.300.214 beta update

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Date: Thursday, April 12th, 2012, 06:48
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.3.300.214 for Mac OS X, a 10.9 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new beta version includes the following fixes and changes:

– Texture streaming.

– Background Updater for Mac.

– Driver gating hardware acceleration relaxed to 2006.

– MouseEvent.RELEASE_OUTSIDE.

– ApplicationDomain.getQualifiedDefinitionNames().

– Improved Mac App Store Support.

– Simulator Support for iOS.

– Aspect Ratio Enhancements.

– ADT support to package 144×144 size icons has been added in AIR 3.3.

– Capabilities.screenDPI now returns appropriate DPI value for high resolution iPads.

Flash Player 11.3.300.214 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please feel free to hurl your two cents in via the comments.

Apple developing program to track, destroy Flashback malware

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Date: Wednesday, April 11th, 2012, 07:38
Category: News, security, Software

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I think this is where an awesome montage scene of productivity/progress begins in an 80s movie. Or at least the cast involves vows to achieve a long-term goal.

Apple revealed on Tuesday that it is currently developing software to detect and remove the Flashback malware that has infected an estimated 600,000 Macs worldwide.

The company made mention of the upcoming tool in a support document regarding the malicious software, as noted by The Loop. The document also pointed users to last week’s Java update that patched the security flaw that the virus was exploiting.

“In addition to the Java vulnerability, the Flashback malware relies on computer servers hosted by the malware authors to perform many of its critical functions. Apple is working with ISPs worldwide to disable this command and control network,” the company said.

Apple also advises Macs running OS X 10.5 or earlier to disable Java in their browser preferences.

The Flashback trojan horse was first discovered last September. The malware posed as a phony Adobe Flash Player installer in order to trick users into installing it. At the time, a security first categorized the threat as “low.” The current version of Flashback used the Java vulnerability to create a botnet that could mine personal information from unsuspecting users.

Evidence of Apple’s efforts to contact ISPs surfaced earlier on Tuesday when a Russian security firm revealed that the company had targeted one of its servers as being “involved in a malicious scheme.” Dr. Web chief executive Boris Sharov said the server was “not doing any harm to users” and was being used to monitor the spread of the virus.

Sharov noted that the relative rarity of Apple security issues meant that Dr. Web hadn’t established close ties with the company. “For Microsoft, we have all the security response team’s addresses,” he said. “We don’t know the antivirus group inside Apple.”

Last week, a Dr. Web analyst claimed that 600,000 Macs around the world had been infected by the Flashback malware. 56.6 percent of those infections are reportedly located in the U.S.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

QuarkXPress 9.2.1.1 update released

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Date: Wednesday, April 11th, 2012, 07:52
Category: News, Software

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No one ever said updates were a bad thing.

On Wednesday, software developer Quark released version 9.2 of its QuarkXPress design application. The 160 megabyte update, which can be downloaded here, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Support for iPad retina screen in app templates.

– The ability to add retina-resolution icons to app templates.

– Support for Xcode 4.3.x on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

– Improvements to the reliability of the notifications feature – Improvements to the bookstore app template.

QuarkXPress 9.2.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 later to install and run and retails for US$799.00 for the full version.

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

CrossOver updated to 11.0.3

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Date: Tuesday, April 10th, 2012, 14:43
Category: News, Software

CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 11.0.3. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

Application Enhancements:
– Fixed a bug whereby Microsoft Office 2010, Service Pack 1 refused to install. It should now install cleanly (an update of CrossTie files from the web-site may be necessary).

– Fixed a bug where Quicken 2012 would hang adding a new online account or updating a bank account.

– Fixed a bug where PowerPoint 2010 would refuse to play slideshows. Slideshows will now work in PowerPoint 2010.

CrossOver Enhancements:
– Fixes for (we hope!) the last outstanding problems with CrossOver registration / licensing.

– Improvements to Japanese and Russian translations.

CrossOver 11.0.3 retails for US$69.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat Pro updated to 10.1.3

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Date: Tuesday, April 10th, 2012, 11:18
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Adobe released version 10.1.3 of its Adobe Reader application. The update, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, adds the following fixes and changes:

– New electronic signature types have been added, including typewritten and hand-drawn.

– It is now possible to send signed documents via EchoSign.

– AcroForms is now supported.

– Users can sign AcroForms that are not Reader Enabled without a Submit button.

– The document message bar and associated workflow dialog text have been updated.

– Export PDF Reader’s Export PDF service expands optical character recognition beyond English to include French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

– 2951429: Ink Manager color swatches are broken, display in RGB, most spots missing.

– Printing workarounds for the issues below appear at http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/pdf-wont-print- reader-10.html:   

– The printing preference to print on both sides of the paper is on by default.
Reader crashes when trying to print when Protected Mode is on.

– Acrobat X Professional crashes on close Preflight panel access: See http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/acrobat-x-professional-crashes-close.html.

– PDFs in a browser appear as a grey box and don’t display when sent via HTTPS/SSL: For a hot fix and workaround, go here: http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/pdf-opens-grey-screen-browser.html.

– Some plugins that rely on HFTs may cause a hang or crash. For example, the LeanGreen plugin does not work. Acrobat 10.1.3 crashes when closing Acrobat after accessing Preflight panel.

Acrobat Reader 10.1.3 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel-based processor and Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.