Rumor: Apple creating its own mapping services for iOS 6

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 11th, 2012, 10:40
Category: iOS, Rumor, Software

Ok, this could be interesting.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple will move away from Google Maps services in iOS 6, making the transition to an in-house mapping service that included 3D views. According to the report, Apple’s prior acquisitions of mapping companies Placebase and Poly9 could work with last year’s purchase of 3D mapping firm C3 Technologies rounding out the suite of services.

The most important aspect of the new Maps application is a powerful new 3D mode. The 3D mode does not come enabled by default, but users simply need to click a 3D button that is conveniently and visibly stored in the app. This 3D mode is said to essentially be technology straight from C3 Technologies: beautiful, realisitic graphics based on de-classified missile target algorithms.

Apple’s in-house mapping services will otherwise be rather similar in appearance to the current Google Maps application, although Apple’s implementation is said to be a “much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience” and will include a new icon based on the same view of the company’s Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino but with new colors and styling.

Apple has clearly been working for some time to reduce its reliance on Google by developing its own mapping services for iOS, as evidenced by its acquisitions of mapping expertise and job postings addressing its ambitions for mapping. The company has already moved location services in-house and revealed last year that it is building a crowd-sourced traffic database based on users’ GPS data.

With the release of iPhoto for iOS back in early March, Apple took its first big step outside of the actual Google mapping services, taking advantage of OpenStreetMap and other services to generate its own map tiles for the application’s Photo Journals feature.

Apple is expected to preview iOS 6 at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, with the operating system presumably making its public debut alongside new iPhone hardware later in the year.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Symantec estimates Flashback trojan could have netted authors $10,000 a day during its peak

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, 09:58
Category: News, security, Software

Ok, so maybe crime DOES pay…

Per Symantec’s company blog, the malware known as “Flashback” that was believed to have infected hundreds of thousands of Macs may have paid out as much as US$10,000 a day to its authors.

The estimate comes from Symantec, which said in a post to its official blog that the primary motivation behind the malware was money. The Flashback Trojan includes an ad-clicking component that will load itself into the three major browsers for Mac — Safari, Firefox and Chrome — and generate revenue for the attackers.

“Flashback specifically targets queries made on Google and, depending on the search query, may redirect users to another page of the attacker’s choosing, where they receive revenue from the click,” Symantec explained.

Peering into the Trojan’s code, the security firm found a redirected URL that generates the authors of the code 8 cents per click. If a user conducts a Google search, Flashback will “hijack” the ad click from Google, taking money away from the search giant and granting “untold sums” to the authors of the Trojan.

A previous analysis of a different Trojan found that a botnet with just 25,000 infections could generate up to US$450 per day. At its peak, the Flashback Trojan was estimated to have infected 600,000 Macs worldwide, which means the authors could have earned as much as US$10,000 per day.

The presence of Flashback has greatly diminished since Apple released a series of software updates last month aimed at squashing the malware, including a Java update and a separate removal tool.

The Flashback Trojan was first discovered by another security firm, Intego, last September. The software attempts to trick users into installing it by appearing as Adobe’s Flash Player installer package.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you haven’t downloaded and installed Apple’s anti-flashback removal tool via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature, there’s no time like the present.

Google Chrome updated to 18.0.1025.168

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, 06:04
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 18.0.1025.168 for the Mac. The new version, a 35.4 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- Security and bug fixes.

Google Chrome 18.0.1025.168 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Google Chrome updated to 18.0.1025.165

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012, 11:17
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 18.0.1025.165 for the Mac. The new version, a 35.4 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- Fixes a top crasher on the Mac.

Google Chrome 18.0.1025.165 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Google Drive service launched, users begin with 5GB of free online storage space

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012, 06:21
Category: News, Software

You just can’t knock free cloud space.

Per Google’s official blog, the company launched its long-rumored Google Drive service was officially launched on Tuesday, offering users 5 gigabytes of free cloud-based file storage.

Google Drive was presented as a service that allows users to “create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff.” It allows users to upload and access all file types, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and more.

Users can start at drive.google.com/start#home and the Google Drive application can also be installed on a Mac or Windows PC to sync files locally. A Drive application is now available for Google Android devices, while the company said it is “working hard” on a version of Drive for iOS devices.

Storage can be upgraded to 20 gigabytes for US$5 per year, 80 gigabytes for US$20, 200 gigabytes for US$50, 400 gigabytes for US$100, and one terabyte for US$256.

Upgrading to a paid account will also give Gmail users a boost on their e-mail storage through Google to 25 gigabytes. Storage used in Gmail does not come out of space allotted for Google Drive.

In comparison, Apple’s iCloud service, which launched last October, comes with 5 gigabytes for free, while users can buy an additional 10 gigabytes for US$20 per year, 20 gigabytes for US$40, or 50 gigabytes for US$100.

Google said that Drive allows users to work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Using the new service, users can also share content easily, and add and reply to comments on anything, including PDFs, images, or video files.

Of course, the company’s search technology is also a part of the package, granting the ability to search by keyword and filter by type, owner and more. Google Drive can also recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition technology.

Drive also ties in with other Google products, allowing users to attach photos from Drive to posts in the Google+ social networking service. Soon, users will also be able to attach files from Drive directly to e-mails in Gmail.

Google also boasted that drive is an “open platform,” which will allow third-party developers to enable new features. Some of the additions mentioned by the company include the ability to send faxes, edit videos, and create website mockups.

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

Mozilla releases Firefox 12.0 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 24th, 2012, 12:26
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 12.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 32 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

- Firefox can now migrate your bookmarks, history, and cookies from Google Chrome.

- With Sync enabled, add-ons can now be synchronized across your computers.

- The CSS text-size-adjust property is now supported.

- Redesigned media controls for HTML5 video.

- The outerHTML property is now supported on HTML elements.

- View source syntax highlighting now uses the HTML5 parser (see bug 482921).

- The Style Editor for CSS editing is now available to web developers.

- Web developers can now visualize a web page in 3D using the Page Inspector 3D View.

- SPDY protocol support for faster page loads is now testable.

- XMLHttpRequest now supports HTML parsing.

- Files can now be stored in IndexedDB (see bug 661877).

- Websockets has now been unprefixed.

- Firefox notifications may not work properly with Growl 1.3 or later (691662).

Firefox 12.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Google Chrome updated to 18.0.1025.142

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 29th, 2012, 06:00
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 18.0.1025.142 for the Mac. The new version, a 35.4 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- Sped up graphics and drawing performance for users on capable hardware, and enabled fancier 3D content for other users on older computers.

Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Mozilla releases Firefox 11.0 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012, 07:47
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 11.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 32 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

- NEW – Firefox can now migrate your bookmarks, history, and cookies from Google Chrome.

- NEW – With Sync enabled, add-ons can now be synchronized across your computers.

- NEW – The CSS text-size-adjust property is now supported.

- HTML5 – The outerHTML property is now supported on HTML elements.

- HTML5 – View source syntax highlighting now uses the HTML5 parser (see bug 482921).

- DEVELOPER – The Style Editor for CSS editing is now available to web developers.

- DEVELOPER – Web developers can now visualize a web page in 3D using the Page Inspector 3D View.

- DEVELOPER – SPDY protocol support for faster page loads is now testable.

- DEVELOPER – XMLHttpRequest now supports HTML parsing.

- DEVELOPER – Files can now be stored in IndexedDB (see bug 661877).

- DEVELOPER – Websockets has now been unprefixed.

- FIXED – Redesigned media controls for HTML5 video.

- FIXED – Firefox notifications may not work properly with Growl 1.3 or later (691662).

Firefox 11.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Google Chrome updated to 17.0.963.78

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2012, 11:58
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 17.0.963.78 for the Mac. The new version, a 35.4 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

- This release fixes issues with Flash games and videos, along with a security fix.

Google Chrome 17.0.963.78 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Intego announces discovery of “Flashback.G” trojan variant, advises caution

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 23rd, 2012, 12:21
Category: News, security, Software

On Thursday, security firm Intego announced that it has discovered more strains of the Flashback Trojan horse. The company says that “many Mac users have been infected by this malware,” especially the latest variant, Flashback.G.

Per Macworld, Intego describes three unique methods that the Trojan horse uses to infect Macs: It attempts to exploit a pair of Java vulnerabilities in sequence, which the company says allows infection with no further user intervention. Failing those two approaches, resorts to social engineering. In that last case, the applet presents a self-signed digital certificate, falsely claiming that the certificate is “signed by Apple Inc”; if you click Continue, the malware installs itself.

To fall victim to the Flashback Trojan horse, you first need to run software. By definition, Trojan horses disguise themselves as other kinds of software, tricking the user into, say, double-clicking an icon to launch a new download—thereby infecting themselves. Note, however, that if you’re still running Snow Leopard and your Java installation isn’t current, a maliciously-coded webpage could cause the malware to install without further intervention on your part, depending on your browser’s security settings.

According to Intego, the latest Flashback.G variant can inject code into Web browsers and other applications that connect to the Internet, often causing them to crash. It attempts to sniff out usernames and passwords that you enter into many popular sites (like banking sites, Google, PayPal, and others), presumably so that the malfeasants behind the software can exploit that information in other ways.

As part of its installation process, the malware puts an invisible file in the /Users/Shared/ folder; that file’s name is variable, but it uses a .so extension. Other files the malware creates include /Users/Shared/.svcdmp, ~/.MACOSX/environment.plist, and ~/Library/Logs/vmLog. It also places a Java applet in ~/Library/Caches.

Intego has stated that its VirusBarrier X6 software can detect Flashback if it’s installed, and even prevent it from installing in the first place.

If you suspect you’ve already been infected, you can check by launching Terminal (in /Applications/Utilities/) and pasting in the code below, and pressing Return:

ls /Users/Shared/.*.so
If the response you see in Terminal includes “No such file or directory,” you’re in the clear. If you instead see a list of one or more files with a .so extension and no “no such file” declaration, you may well have fallen victim to the malware.

If you do find that you’re infected, removing the files referenced above or installing antivirus software like Intego’s should remove any traces of Flashback.

If you’ve seen this trojan on your end or tried this fix, please let us know in the comments.