Security companies estimate that Flashback infection rate is remaining steady, advise users to run update/malware removal tools

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Date: Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, 06:18
Category: News, security, Software

Ok, guys, it’s time to update your Mac and help bring down the Flashback trojan malware infection rate.

Per CNET, following an effort to estimate how many Macs remain infected with the Flashback malware, the data from these monitoring efforts have suggested that despite early reports of the malware levels sinking rapidly from efforts by Apple, news organizations, and anti-malware companies, the levels of infections appears to be remaining constant.

The spread Flashback malware was facilitated by a neglected security hole in Apple’s Java runtime for OS X, and at its peak had infected around one percent of Mac systems. To tackle the spread of the malware, initially news organizations covered methods for manually removing the malware, followed by security companies issuing malware removal tools to facilitate this process. Apple then released a series of Java updates to close the vulnerability and also scan for and remove known instances of the malware.

During the time of these infections, security companies set up sinkhole servers and other techniques to monitor the network traffic from the Flashback infections, and determine how many unique computers had been infected with the malware. Following the peak of the malware infection on August 6, initial reports from the anti-malware efforts suggested the infection rates had dropped significantly, with the number of infected Macs decreasing to a reported low of 30,000 in 10 days. However, despite these claims the malware has remained active, and adjustments have had to be made to these numbers.

Following the reports of success at tackling the malware, security company Dr. Web revealed errors in the malware estimation calculations and suggested that the number of infected systems was in fact much higher. Security companies followed this news with more conservative estimates that suggested a more shallow fall in the malware, to an estimated 140,000 systems in late April.

Despite the higher numbers, the number of malware infections did fall from its peak, though while some have hoped the number to fall far lower, the malware appears to have fallen to a revolving infection rate of just over 100,000 Mac systems. In a new report by Intego, the company claims that in the past week it has observed the following numbers from its sinkhole operation:

04/30/2012 – 102,769 infected Macs

05/01/2012 – 96,948 infected Macs

05/02/2012 – 103,779 infected Macs

05/03/2012 – 121,826 infected Macs

05/04/2012 – 102,375 infected Macs

05/05/2012 – 118,593 infected Macs

05/06/2012 – 113,909 infected Macs

Intego notes that these numbers are only the active infections it monitors on a day-to-day basis, and is not the total number of Macs infected. The malware is only active when a user logs in and thereby suggests that this activity difference reflects a steady state variance in when people are using their Macs, which will revolve as Macs are used more in some parts of the world than at others. Therefore the total number of infected systems will likely be much higher at around the 140,000 of previous recent estimates.

Intego has further noted that despite the initial impact in the malware’s activity by community efforts, the numbers appear to no longer be declining and show indications that they may even be increasing. Intego speculates the reason for this is that a small percentage of users have not taken any effort to either update their systems, but it may be more than just updating. Apple has only offered updates and malware removal options for OS X 10.6 and above (its supported versions). However, this malware will infect systems with older versions of OS X, so even if the older versions have been kept up to date, they will be left vulnerable without Apple issuing a proper Java fix. Not only can they still contain the malware, but they also will be subject to new infections by any of its variants.

In short, if you have a Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later, please update the Java updates via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature. And for Apple, well, a Flashback removal update for Mac OS X versions previous to Mac OS X 10.6 or later wouldn’t hurt…

Apple updates HP, Samsung drivers for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 operating systems

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Date: Friday, April 27th, 2012, 07:15
Category: News, Software

You just can’t beat a good print driver update.

Late Thursday, Apple released version 2.9 of its HP printer drivers.

The updated driver provides updated support for HP’s entire line of printers, scanners, fax machines, and multi-function machinery when connecting to a Mac running OS X 10.6 or later. The update is available as a 524.8 MB download download from Apple’s Support website.

The company also released version 2.4 of its Samsung printers drivers for Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7. The new drivers offer updated support for Samsung’s base of printers, scanners, fax machines, and multi-function peripherals and are available as a 27.6 megabyte download from Apple’s support website.

The updates can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve installed the update 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.

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 releases Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 7, Java for Mac OS X Lion 2012-001 updates

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Date: Wednesday, April 4th, 2012, 06:51
Category: News, Software

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Have updates, will travel.

Late Tuesday, Apple released Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 7, providing “improved reliability, security and compatibility.” The 76 megabyte download requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 to install and run.

The company also released Java for Mac OS X Lion 2012-001, which claims to offer improved compatibility security and reliability. The download comes in at 63.8 megabytes and 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, focus on multiple vulnerabilities that exist in Java 1.6.0_29, the most serious of which may allow an untrusted Java applet to execute arbitrary code outside the Java sandbox. Visiting a web page containing a maliciously crafted untrusted Java applet may lead to arbitrary code execution with the privileges of the current user. If you’ve tried the new versions and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Adobe releases Flash Player 11.2.202.228 update

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Date: Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, 07:38
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.2.202.228 for Mac OS X, a 10.7 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version includes the following fixes and changes:

- Drivers gating for hardware acceleration relaxed — Previously, the hardware accelerated content was gated to 1/1/2009, however, we have relaxed the driver gating to 1/1/2008.

- Throttling event — This release introduces a new ThrottleEvent. A ThrottleEvent is now dispatched by the stage when the Flash Player throttles, pauses or resumes content.

- Mouse lock, relative mouse coordinates, right and middle click events — Create immersive, panoramic games with infinite scrolling to enable new classes of content, including first-person games.

- Multithreaded video decoding (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) — The video decoding pipeline is now fully multithreaded. This feature should improve the overall performance on all platforms. Note that this feature is a significant architecture change required for other future improvements.

Flash Player 11.2.202.228 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.

VLC updated to 2.0.1

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to a release candidate version of 2.0.1. The new version, a 25.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Support for MxPEG files and streams.

- New features in the Mac OS X interface for more customization.

- Numerous fixes in the Qt, the Mac OS and the skins interfaces.

- Fixes for HTTP Live Streaming, CDDB, UDP/RTP support.

- Security issues SA-1201 and SA-1202.

- Limited support for Bluray discs menus.

- Numerous fixes for MKV support.

- Fix for splitted RAR files playback.

- Numerous fixes for more than 120 bugs.

- Codec and 3rd party libraries security updates.

VLC 2.0.1 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 to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Epson 2.10 drivers for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7

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Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2012, 06:43
Category: News, Software

It’s like your father told you on your wedding day: “You should keep your Epson printer drivers updated.”

Which was pretty weird advice on your wedding day.

Late Wednesday, Apple released version 2.10 of its Epson printer drivers.

The updated driver provides updated support for Epson’s entire line of printers, scanners, fax machines, and multi-function machinery when connecting to a Mac running OS X 10.6. The update is available as a 984 MB download size from Apple’s Support website.

The updates can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Apple releases iTunes 10.6 update, adds support for 1080p video, other fixes

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Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012, 13:52
Category: News, Software

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It’s an update day.

And that’s kind of nifty.

Following its iPad 3 press event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple released version 10.6 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, an 81.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- iTunes 10.6 adds the ability to play 1080p HD movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store.

- Improved song matching via iTunes Match.

- Improved album artwork handling, downloading, and display.

- Addresses an issue where songs may skip when playing from iCloud.

iTunes 10.6 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

HandBrake updated to 0.9.6

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Date: Wednesday, February 29th, 2012, 08:26
Category: News, Software


Handbrake, Eric Petit’s incredibly useful open-source DVD ripping/conversion utility, has been updated to version 0.9.6.

The new version, a 7.1 megabyte download, offers a wide variety of fixes and changes that have been documented here.

HandBrake 0.9.6 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.