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Pwn2Own hacking competition: macOS & Safari attacked

The 17th annual CanSecWest conference was held in downtown Vancouver, researchers were competing for the tenth anniversary reward over $1,000,000 of Pwn2Own.

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The Day 1 result has been put on Zero Day Initiative as well as part of the Mac vulnerabilities in the achievement list.  Independent hackers Samuel Groß and Niklas Baumstark successfully acquired the root-access privileges through Safari vulnerabilities on macOS, and display rolling messages on MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. That helped them win the a reward of $28,000.

On the same day, security inspection lab Chaitin also broke through Safair and obtained root-access privileges on macOS. They found 6 bugs during the crack, which won $35,000 for them.

On Day 1 all the competitors won $233,000 in total, including a $105,000 reward won by Tencent Security team. Other cracked software: Adobe Reader, Ubuntu Desktop and Edge for Windows.

Apple used to send representatives to participate the Pwn2Own competition. Influenced companies will find their security vulnerabilities and fix them asap.

Apple reveals first public sign of macOS 10.13, what will it be called?

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Eagle-eye blogger Pike’s Universum has discovered what appears to be Apple’s first public sign of macOS 10.13, while the next major version of macOS likely won’t be announced until WWDC 2017 opening keynote on June 5.

Specifically, the blog shared a portion of App Store URL, also known as a CatalogURL, for macOS 10.13. It appears to be a secure HTTPS link originating from Apple’s servers, although the screenshot can be forged,  the blog has been providing reliable information, so we think the screnshot should be legitimate.

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We don’t know much about what’s coming in macOS 10.13 at present, but since the beginning of the year, there have been more and more devices running macOS 10.13, presumably as Apple’s engineers work on the operating system update ahead of its unveiling.

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We don’t know what the successor to macOS Sierra will be called, yet in 2014, Apple trademarked a long list of names, which range from popular beaches and well-known cities in California, where Apple is headquartered, to mountains, deserts, and animals.

A list of known trademarked names that have yet to be used: Redwood, Mammoth, California, Big Sur, Pacific, Diablo, Miramar, Rincon, Redtail, Condor, Grizzly, Farallon, Tiburon, Monterey, Skyline, Shasta, Mojave, Sequoia, Ventura, and Sonoma. An entirely different name is certainly possible too.

Chrome users on macOS get enhanced safe browsing protection

macOS is a rock-solid desktop operating system thanks to its Unix foundation. While it’s not infallible, there are far fewer malware threats for Apple’s operating system compared to Windows 10. As more and more consumers buy Mac computers, evildoers will have increased incentive to write malware for macOS.

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Fortunately, macOS users who choose to use Google Chrome for Internet surfing will be safer, as a few days ago the search giant has announced to improve its safe browsing initiative to better warn users of malicious websites and attempts to alter browser setting. .

“As part of this next step towards reducing macOS-specific malware and unwanted software, Safe Browsing is focusing on two common abuses of browsing experiences: unwanted ad injection, and manipulation of Chrome user settings, specifically the start page, home page, and default search engine. Users deserve full control of their browsing experience and Unwanted Software Policy violations hurt that experience,” says Google.

The search giant further explains, “The recently released Chrome Settings API for Mac gives developers the tools to make sure users stay in control of their Chrome settings. From here on, the Settings Overrides API will be the only approved path for making changes to Chrome settings on Mac OSX, like it currently is on Windows. Also, developers should know that only extensions hosted in the Chrome Web Store are allowed to make changes to Chrome settings. Starting March 31 2017, Chrome and Safe Browsing will warn users about software that attempts to modify Chrome settings without using the API.”

Part of Mac apps failed to launch due to expiring developer certificates

by removeos_admin 0 Comments

During the last week, some users have reported part of Mac apps failed to launch. The reason is that Apple changed the verification of the purchases and downloads that are not from Mac App Store.

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A few users who download apps from the developers’ sites all reported immediate crashes on launch. Developers of the apps soon apologized and explained the issue was down to the apps’ code signing certificates reaching their expiration date.

Apple issues developer signing certificates to assure users that an app they have downloaded outside of the Mac App Store is legitimate, and this hasn’t been modified since it’s last signed. In the past, the expiration of a code signing certificate won’t influence already shipped software, however, that changed last year, when Apple started requiring apps to carry a provisioning profile.

A provisioning profile tells macOS that the app has been checked by Apple against an online data base and is allowed to perform certain system actions or entitlements. But the profile is also signed using the developer’s code signing certificate, so when the certificate expires, the provisioning profile becomes invalid.

Over the weekend victims of expired provisioning profiles included users of 1Password for Mac how had bought the app from the developer’s site. AgileBits told on Sunday that affected users need to manually update to the latest version (6.5.5), noting that those who downloaded 1Password from the Mac App Store were unaffected.

The immediate solution for developers with potentially affected apps is to renew their code signing certificates before expiration.

Office for Mac update: Touch Bar support added

by removeos_admin 0 Comments

In October last year Apple has announced that Office for Mac will support Touch Bar. And a few days ago Microsoft has released an update of Office for Mac – the highly anticipated Touch Bar support has been added. Since then users who have the 2016 MacBook Pro can enjoy the features of Touch Bar in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Touch Bar will provide features including text formatting adjustment like bold, italic, underline and colors.

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Microsoft also mentioned that while editing documents in full screen, users will find the Touch Bar very practical – the screen displays the document content, and Touch Bar displays various buttons. They will also release a “Focus Mode” for Word with better performance.

In PowerPoint, Touch Bar can help with the image elements, quick demos and text formatting.

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In Excel, users can use the common formula like summation on Touch Bar.

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Outlook will add email management buttons as well as the shortcuts of Skype call, video, desktop sharing.

Last week Microsoft announced Office Insider, aka Office for Mac beta version has supported Touch Bar, and now the official version finally benefits.

How to change iTunes backup location on Mac?

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If you think your iPhone backup takes too much space on your Mac, you may consider changing its location – moving it to your mobile HDD.

For Mac users, the iPhone backup may take much space. To solve this problem, a user has shared a method that successfully changed the iTunes backup location on his Mac devices.

Steps are as follows:

Generally, the default iTunes backup location is: /Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup, we need find and delete the backup folder. Press and hold the Option key to access “Library – Application Support – MobileSync – Backup.”

Create a “MobileSync” folder in the mobile HDD you choose, then open it and create a “Backup” folder.

Open the Terminal, execute the following command:
In -s /Volumes/(Name of your mobile HDD)/MobileSync/Backup ~/Library/Application\Support/MobileSync/Backup

4. Close the Terminal, open iTunes to backup your iPhone, and you will find the backup files in the new folder you just created.

Attention: Safari doesn’t support 4K video play on YouTube

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Some Safari users have found that since December last year, they can’t watch 4K videos on YouTube, and the reason could possibly be Google VP9 codec, which YouTube’s UHD streaming technology is now based on. Users also discovered that they can watch embedded videos of 4K resolution on web pages.

On Reddit some Safari users pointed that since December 6th last year, they haven’t been able to watch 4K videos on YouTube. And since 2014 Google has started using the VP9 codec, which is the replacement for H.265 video codec developed by Google, and the H.265 codec is all the time the core technology that supports so many 4K videos. But they never said they will stop providing 4K videos of other formats (such as H.264).

Safari users can still watch the 4K version of the videos uploaded to YouTube before December 6th last year, and everything is normal for Chrome users. Among all those browsers Safari is the only one which doesn’t support the VP9 codec.

What’s confusing is that although users can only select 1440p for 4K videos on YouTube, when embedding to other web pages they can watch the 4K resolution.

Currently all users of all Safari versions are having the said problem. Apple responded, “We don’t support VP9 on Safari, apparently Google has made their mind not to provide H.264 4K videos on YouTube for Apple, though they are fully capable of doing that.”

And Google hasn’t responded yet.

Spotify is testing a new mobile app design: More prominent album art

Spotify is one of the most famous music streaming services around. The company is currently testing a revised mobile app design that makes album display more prominent, though this also makes some other changes to the user interface that may not please par of the old users.

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According to Android police’s report, Spotify has been doing A/B testing of those changes with a limited group of Android users instead of everyone.

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The changes focus on the “now playing” view, displaying the album art full-screen with a fade-out effect towards the bottom of the screen where the controls are shown. Users can tap the screen to hide the controls only leaving the album art visible.

macOS 10.12.2 brings more crashes on PDF

Has anyone noticed this yet?

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Some users have found that after updating to macOS 10.12.2, PDF crashes more often. Some suggest not using Preview to edit the PDF files, otherwise the user should keep the original file in case of any unexpected crashes.

As for the specific problem, the developer Christian Grunenberg has given the following statement:

Apple wants to provide the general base for iOS and macOS. But the release date was a bit early that Apple has given up some features without considering the compatibility. What’s worse, the old features are now affected and some of them can’t even be used anymore, and users get to find replacement or solutions themselves. The company has so much work to do to fix that.

In other words, Apple thinks more of how macOS compares to iOS. If the company thinks the same of iWork, then the features deleted for that on Mac may return. So I guess there is still something for users to expect.

Mac App Store needs improvement for the purchase list?

by removeos_admin 0 Comments

<h2>Compared to the rapid development of iOS App Store, Mac App Store should work harder.</h2>

Since the fresh start of Mac App Store in 2010, it has made a great progress, providing Mac users with better app download experience. But that seems not enough compared to the rapid development of iOS App Store.

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Due to the slow growth in the past few years, Mac App Store has lost the favor of some app developers. According to Macworld, the purchase list on Mac App Store needs to be more user-friendly. Although it’s easy to buy an app, it’s quite inconvenient to find your purchased apps especially on a new Mac computer.

We know that there is a “Purchased” tab on the Mac App Store, where all the purchased apps are listed in reverse chronological order. But if you try to search an app in the upper right, it displays the results from the whole store instead of the purchased.

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Another practical feature of Mac App Store is that you can hide the purchased items in case you don’t want to see them. Generally, when you’re checking a purchased app (removed), you won’t see the price but an “Install” button. Yet when you want to reinstall a hidden app and search for it, you will see its price, that way you may forget you have purchased it before.

Additionally, either Apple itself or developers can remove their apps from the Store anytime, and this will prevent users from reinstalling the app, even though they have bought it.

All the time there are complaints about Mac App Store. When shall we see the improvement?