Macs have long been considered a secure PC option, given that less malware is created to attack the less-used operating system. But that might be changing. Anti-malware security vendor Malwarebytes is warning users that malware attacks targeting the platform jumped 270 percent in 2017.
In particular, security experts warn that four new malware exploits have been identified by Mac users in 2018. One Mac user found that their Domain Name Server settings (DNS) had been changed, and they were blocked from changing them back. According to Computer World, this malware “also installed a trusted root certificate on the person’s Mac. The threat left the user vulnerable to fraudulent phishing websites posing as the real deal and man-in-the-middle attacks.”
Malwarebytes researchers have also found a new Java-based exploit for Macs that they believe was likely developed “for nefarious purposes” by an undisclosed nation state. Another attack found by the security vendor “included deployment of malicious links on a popular software downloads website.”
While Apple platforms tend to be very secure, the truth is that they are not impenetrable. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of Mac users’ lax sense of security.
“Apple’s macOS includes some good security features that are helpful, but they are easily bypassed by new malware,” Malwarebytes told Computer World.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Computer World gave a pretty comprehensive list. It recommends:
- Avoid clicking links if you don’t know the sender.
- Use strong passcodes.
- Understand the risk of public Wi-Fi, and don’t access confidential or financial services using such networks.
- Do not download software from unapproved App Stores.
- Run a virus scan now and then.
- Use two-factor authentication when possible.
- Learn to use and understand Apple’s new privacy protection tools when they appear in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4.
- Read the Mac and iOS security guides.
Source: computerworld.com – Warning as Mac malware exploits climb 270%
Published: March 12, 2018
It’s one of those milestones that is supposed to be great – but also shows just how dominant Microsoft truly is in the personal computer market. According to Computer World, Apple’s Mac computers account for one in every ten personal computers used to access the internet over the last two months. A year ago, the number was 6.2% of the global user share.
Chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, Bob O’Donnell, told Computer World why he believes Apple has finally reached this milestone. “It’s due on some level to growth driven by BYOD. Over the years, companies have been more willing to let employees bring their own devices in. I presume that has something to do with [Mac growth].”
O’Donnell also noted that recent security concerns could have contributed to the company’s growth. “Macs are generally considered to be more secure because of fewer attacks [aimed at them].”
Another reason for the rise in popularity may have something to do with longevity of devices. On average, Mac owners tend to hold onto their PCs for longer than Windows owners. Although this means that more Windows systems are being purchased, Apple’s share would slowly build against them.
Source: computerworld.com – Macs now account for 10% of active personal computers
Published: March 13, 2018
After all the hullaballoo surrounding the release of the iPhone X last November, you might not be ready for news about the next generation of the popular Apple smartphone. But, as it turns out, Apple is. Company insiders announced that the California-based tech goliath is preparing to reveal a trio of new iPhones this fall.
The trio includes what will be the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded version of the current iPhone X, and a less expensive version of the iPhone X that includes all of the original’s key features. According to The Toronto Star, “Apple wants to appeal to the growing number of consumers who crave the multi-tasking attributes of so-called phablets while also catering to those looking for a more affordable version of the iPhone X.”
Is Apple trying to make up for lackluster sales with the iPhone X? Statistics have shown that Apple sold far below its projections of 80.2 million phones in the final quarter of 2017, reaching only 77.3 million units. The cheaper version of the iPhone X suggests that Apple listened to customers who were unhappy with the original device’s thousand dollar selling point.
Some experts suggest that the screen increase is another good move for Apple. “This is a big deal,” Gene Munster, a co-founder of Loup Ventures and a long-time Apple watcher, told The Toronto Star. “When you have a measurable upgrade in screen size, people go to update their phone in droves. We saw that with the iPhone 6, and we think this is setting up to be a similar step up in growth. The market that will see the biggest jump in sales is likely Asia. That market has many single-device consumers, and they love big phones.”
Apple has not commented on the situation officially, so we will likely have to wait until fall to see these new phones.
Source: thestar.com – Apple to release trio of new iPhones, including its largest ever
Published: February 27, 2018
What’s the most annoying thing to happen at a party or get-together in your home? When your friend sets a frosty drink down on your wooden coffee table without a coaster, of course! No one wants to see rings on their furniture. Unfortunately, drinks may not be the only culprit! According to various reports, Apple’s HomePod smart speaker allegedly leaves white rings on wooden surfaces in less than 20 minutes of use.
The $349.00 device, which launched February 9th, has reportedly caused early users a lot of grief when it came to their wooden tables and surfaces. Many have taken to Twitter to express their discontent.
One user – @Guvinsf415 – said “#homepod left rings on my wood furniture in less than 20 minutes of use. Thanks #apple I am glad a (sic) paid $400 to make perfect etched circles on my more expensive furniture. Guess I can not move it now to cover up the mark. Evil geniuses you are.”
Another user, Casey Newton, took a guess at the cause of the problem, tweeting, “Congratulations to everyone on their beautiful HomePods and sorry it secretes a deadly acid that destroys your furniture.”
On its HomePod support page, Apple has addressed the frustrating issue. It says that it’s “not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-dampening silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces” and that “the marks can be caused by oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface.”
Apple hopes the marks will disappear on their own “after several days when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface.” But in the meantime, the company says “If you’re concerned about this, we recommend placing your HomePod on a different surface.
Source: pcmag.com – Apple’s HomePod May Leave White Rings on Wood Surfaces
Published: February 14, 2018
For years, Apple has used a mixture of Qualcomm and Intel baseband chips for its iPhones. But according to a report published this week, Apple will be ditching Qualcomm and moving exclusively to Intel for future smartphone designs.
CNET amounts this move to tensions between the Apple and Qualcomm. The two companies have been locked in a legal battle over how much Apple should pay Qualcomm for the use of its chips and technology licenses. In December, Intel “accused Apple of infringing on a number of its patents, while Apple charged that Qualcomm illegally used its battery management technology.”
Qualcomm chips in the iPhone serve important functions such as controlling the device’s antenna feature. The report says that “Intel can meet Apple’s technical requirements for chips, which will include improved 4G transmission speeds, as well as offer more competitive prices than Qualcomm.”
Don’t be too concerned for Qualcomm, though. According to KGI analysts, Qualcomm is ahead of Intel in the 5G game, giving it quite the competitive edge.
Source: cnet.com – Apple reportedly ditching Qualcomm chips for future iPhones
Published: February 5, 2018
If you were thinking Apple would have trouble selling the anticipated number of iPhone X devices for $999 USD, you were right. According to an article in The Vancouver Sun, Apple will be halving its production of the iPhone X this quarter to 20 million units. Following its announcement of this cut early on January 29, shares decreased more than two percent.
Reportedly, the cut comes after slower-than-expected holiday sales in Europe, the United States, and China. Analysts have suggested what you might have already guessed; the reason the for the slow sales is the high price.
Analysts at UBS say that “a survey of people planning to buy the iPhone showed that the percentage of them looking to buy the iPhone X has dropped to 37 per cent from 43 per cent in an earlier survey.”
Verizon has also chimed in on the issue, saying “their postpaid device activations were lower than last year as people were keeping phones longer.” Longevity of devices, making the new iPhone less relevant, could also be a reason for slower sales.
The iPhone X has been on sale since November, and has been making media buzz for a long time. But at these prices, analysts predict 2018 won’t be a “super-cycle” year for Apple.
Cheap battery replacements might not be enough to appease consumers angered by Apple’s recent slowdown scandal, where the iPhone maker admitted to quietly slowing the performance of older phones in an effort to prolong battery life. One individual who is particularly fired up is Senator John Thune of South Dakota. Thune sent a letter to Apple this week, asking the company more questions about the scandal, and requesting a response by January 23rd.
Senator Thune is the chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which explains his interest in the matter. He said in his letter, addressed to CEO Tim Cook, that “Apple has failed to act with enough transparency,” reported The Verge. Thune also asks Apple whether “the company will issue updates in the future that slow device performance, and whether it tracked consumer complaints about performance issues.”
As has been widely reported, Apple has been compensating for the news of the slowdowns by offering a discount on battery replacements from $79 to $29. Senator Thune also wants to know how Apple arrived at that discount number, and whether is has considered free replacements or offering rebates to customers who have already paid the undiscounted fee.
Senator Thune is by no means the only government official to be concerned by Apple’s actions over this scandal. According to The Verge, officials in France are looking into a criminal probe of the company.
Don’t want to be the last of your friends to download that app you’re all looking forward to? Maybe you were the hold-out on Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and now you’re embarrassed to be so far behind? Fear not, because according to The Verge, Apple will let you pre-order. Now, apps you buy before the release date will automatically download when ready, just like albums from iTunes.
A simple but useful feature – this is the kind of update that makes you wonder why it wasn’t available in the first place, as opposed to nearly ten years after the App Store launched. In comparison, the Google Play Store has offered a similar feature for years.
According to The Verge, developers will “now be able to put their app in the App Store up to 90 days in advance of its release, rather than only being able to publish their app when it’s ready to launch. Once it’s up, customers will be able to choose to pre-order it and have the app delivered when it’s ready.”
It is up to the developer how they charge for a pre-order. The pre-order can be either free or paid, and if they charge and then choose to change the price later, the customer will still be charged whichever is lower. Either way, it won’t show up on your credit card bill until the app downloads.
The pre-order feature will be available for App Store on iOS, macOS, and tvOS.
If you’re interested in buying the new iPhone, you have a decision to make; should you pay a lump sum to purchase the device from Apple, or do you start a payment plan with your wireless carrier?
According to Mashable, the other option, which has been in existence since 2015, is the iPhone Upgrade Program. The program “splits the cost of your phone into 24 interest-free monthly installments, allows you to trade in the phone after the first 12 payments for the latest model, and includes AppleCare+ insurance.” Unfortunately, the cost of the AppleCare+ can bump the Upgrade Program up to more than the average carrier payment plan.
Fortunately, as it turns out, Apple has a hidden third option for potential buyers, called “Apple iPhone Payments.” It’s essentially the iPhone Upgrade Program without the upgrades and AppleCare+. It runs on the same 24 interest-free monthly installments to finance your new device.
Mashable points out that this service does come with some caveats: “you will need to buy a phone with wireless service to get the option — Apple doesn’t offer it for unlocked phones.” In addition, Apple iPhone Payments isn’t the easiest option to find. Apple hides the plan under a “Show more payments option” that you need to click before it becomes visible, despite being the only additional option.
Remember when unlocking your phone via fingerprint was the future of cell phones? Now fingerprint scanners are old news. The new big thing is facial recognition: a feature that the Samsung Galaxy 8 already has and, reportedly, the iPhone 8 does as well. According to The Korea Herald, the new iPhone’s 3D sensors for facial recognition can sense your face in millionths of a second.
Rumours of the iPhone 8’s features have been wildly speculated, and right now some of the big hopes for the upcoming phone include an edge-to-edge OLED display, wireless charging, AR capabilities, and of course facial recognition.
According to an article by CNET, the rumours of facial recognition are looking pretty reliable after “mention of the iPhone’s facial recognition was spotted in Apple’s HomePod firmware code.” Likewise, an Apple patent filed in July “shows facial recognition being used for anything from unlocking your iPhone to zooming in and out based off of how far away you are from the screen.”
Is this the most secure method of locking your phone? Unfortunately not. As shown with the Galaxy S8, the phone’s sensors can be fooled simply by showing it a photograph. However, The Korea Herald believes the iPhone 8 will be more advanced than the S8 because of its unique 3D sensors.