Google Chrome updated to 18.0.1025.165

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

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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.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.4.5

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Date: Tuesday, April 24th, 2012, 13:25
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.4.5. The new version, a 6.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed a minor timing issue that would prevent CCC from finishing the submission of an email notification when a scheduled task was configured to sleep or shut down the Mac.

- Fixed an issue in which non-ASCII characters would be improperly displayed during the backup task (this was only a cosmetic problem).

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would occasionally not retain the user’s last choice in the preset configurations menu.

- Growl notifications should be a bit more consistent on Lion.

- In anticipation of Mountain Lion’s requirement that I use Apple’s code signing certificate to sign my application, this version of CCC will migrate entries in the CCC private keychain to a new keychain. I have leveraged codesigning in CCC for almost 5 years and recently started to rely on it to have access to keychain entries without annoying the end user for permission to do so. Switching code signing certificates at this point invalidates the keychain item access control lists that I previously applied, forcing me to migrate the keychain or face losing access to those keychain items. When you launch this new version of CCC, you’ll see a progress panel that indicates that CCC is migrating the keychain. This should be fast and eventless. If you see a dialog from the system asking you to grant CCC access to a keychain item, however, it is imperative that you click on “Allow” to give CCC access to those keychain items.

- In earlier versions of CCC, when an encrypted disk image’s passphrase keychain entry was updated by the scheduled task helper application, access to that keychain item would be limited to only the scheduled task helper application. Subsequent ad hoc attempts to back up to the encrypted disk image (e.g. in CCC’s main window) would result in a request to grant CCC access to the keychain item. This update fixes that access limitation.

- Fixed a bug in which CCC would not properly set the modification date on files copied to SMB shares hosted by some versions of Windows. This would result in CCC wanting to recopy every file to the destination on subsequent backups.

- Reverted to the pre-3.4.4 behavior of automatically running a scheduled task upon wake if the task missed a scheduled run time during sleep. If you would prefer that CCC automatically skip tasks missed during sleep, drop me a line on the Help Desk, there is a hidden setting that will accommodate this preference.

- In previous versions, CCC might report that a source or destination folder on a network volume does not exist, when it plainly does. CCC now appropriately handles the permissions limitation that led to this errant message.

- Fixed an issue in which extended attributes may be recopied to some non-HFS destinations every time a backup task runs.

- Fixed a couple issues that could result in a crash.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would hang on launch if there is a corrupted scheduled task configuration file present. Now that corruption is detected and these files are removed.

- Fixed an issue in which the “Reschedule all future events for this time of day” setting did not work for tasks configured to run weekly or monthly.

- Fixed an issue in which weekly and monthly tasks scheduled with a start date prior to the Daylight Saving Time switch and a start time within the “lost hour” would run multiple times a day.

- Scheduled tasks can now mount the underlying network volume for a source volume that is a disk image.

- Fixed an anomaly with progress indication in which the progress indicator would jump wildly if the user ran a task with exclusions, then another task without exclusions.

- Scheduled tasks will now reschedule themselves when the system time zone is changed. If a task was scheduled for 2PM Eastern time and you change the time zone to Pacific time, the task should run at 2PM Pacific time. This functionality is only partially available to Tiger users. Tiger doesn’t offer “time zone changed” notifications, so the currently-scheduled task will only be rescheduled upon wake, or when the task is reloaded.

- Some of the postflight cleanup tasks that are required for making a clone of Mac OS X bootable were getting skipped when minor transfer errors occurred. These tasks will now run regardless of minor transfer errors, so the destination volume should be bootable even when minor errors occur (assuming there aren’t any other hardware compatibility problems).

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.4.5 retails for a US$10 shareware registration fee. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to run.

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

Mozilla releases Firefox 12.0 update

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

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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.

Symantec: Flashback malware still present on approximately 140,000 Macs

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Date: Tuesday, April 17th, 2012, 19:21
Category: News, security, Software

The good news: The Flashback malware’s infection numbers have gone down dramatically.

The bad news: About 140,000 of you need to look into removing the malware on your Mac.

Per a recent Symantec blog post, the security firm guessed that the number of affected machines would have dropped precipitously by now given that Apple and third-party vendors released their respective Flashback-neutralizing programs last week. The Mac maker even rolled out a removal tool for those Mac users who don’t have Java installed, and thus may be harboring a dormant version of the malware.

Statistics from Symantec’s “sinkhole,” or spoofed command and control server, show that Flashback has been removed from some 460,000 machines since Apr. 9, but the company expected less than 99,000 would be carrying the trojan by Tuesday.

Sinkholes are used by internet security and research entities to monitor and analyze the spread of malicious programs, though the standard practice sometimes brings unwarranted suspicion to smaller, less well-known firms. For example, Apple reportedly attempted to shut down the server hosting a sinkhole belonging to Flashback’s discoverer Dr. Web, mistakenly thinking that it was a legitimate command and control server. Apple’s move, however, can also be considered standard practice when dealing with fast-moving malware.

There has been no speculation as to why the remaining Macs haven’t already disposed of Flashback, as the self-installing program can be easily identified and deleted. It is possible that machine owners remain unaware of the program and haven’t yet performed a software update that would eradicate it.

The trojan itself continues to propagate on upatched systems. Analysis into Flashback’s structure reveals that it is coded to exceed the .com top level domain, and generates domain names from .in, .info, .kz and .net. Flashback creates one new string every day that is paired with a random TLD.

Once a user visits a site carrying Flashback, the program installs itself without the need for permission and proceeds to collect sensitive data like user iDs, passwords and web browsing histories which it then sends to an off-site repository.

Just as Flashback exploited the “Oracle Java SE Remote Java Runtime Environment Denial Of Service Vulnerability” to create its botnet, another threat has surfaced that uses the same hole as a means of distribution.

Called Backdoor.OSX.SabPub.a, the newly-discovered malware was created in March and is considered an “active attack” trojan as an operator manually checks and harvests data from an affected machine. SabPub has also been seen being distributed in malicious Word documents, installing itself by exploiting a known record parsing buffer overflow vulnerability.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VMWare releases Fusion 4.1.2 update

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Date: Monday, April 16th, 2012, 09:53
Category: News, Software

On Friday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.1.2 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 180 megabyte download, can be found here and offers the following fix:

- Resolved an issue that caused the following message when you resumed a suspended virtual machine: The Virtual Machine is unable to reserve memory.

- The McAfee Virus Scan software is updated.

- Resolved an intermittent problem that caused printing to fail on Mac OS X Lion.

- Resolved an issue that occurred when copying and pasting information from newer Linux distributions.

- Improved compatibility with certain versions of Mac OS X.

- Improved the behavior of the minibar when placed at the top of the display.

- Fixed mapping of comma on numeric keyboard mapping of a French keyboard.

- Resolved an intermittent problem when removing a CD device from a virtual machine.

Fusion 4.1.2 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

If you’ve tried the new version 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 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.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.15094.749908

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Date: Monday, April 9th, 2012, 12:08
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.15094.749908 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 306 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Improved 3D support.

- Ability to easily download and install Fedora 16 from within the Parallels Wizard.

- Support for the Dvorak keyboard, Arabic keyboard and French numeric keyboard layout.

- Improved support for the Swedish keyboard layout.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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