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Archive for August, 2009

Growling Back at Snow Leopard – Symantec Addresses Security Concerns

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Among the squeals of joy at the release of Snow Leopard last Friday come cries of protests over security concerns.

Security was a number one objective of software engineers as they redesigned the system’s firewall and revamped the security pane on OS X 10.6. The log-on password function now has a time-delay option, the location services can be turned off, and the firewall is more effective and customizable. Deep down in the guts of the security system is tougher defenses against memory corruption, especially heap memory.

The loophole comes with the upgraded anti-malware tool. All downloads must pass the scan for the Mac-busting viruses OSX/Puper, COD Ghosts and OSX/IWService. However, since Macs are inherently more virus-protected than PCs, the launch of a new anti-malware scan may be tantamount to opening the door for a slough of new Mac-targeted viruses. Snow Leopard News

What this means is that the malware problem may just be the tip of the iceberg. Industry leader, Symantec, spoke out on a variety of concerns in Leopard. The main problem is the one just mentioned: Leopard’s malware tool. Their concern is that the “File Quarantine feature only offers basic malware detection capabilities to ghost mp maps. It is not a full-featured antivirus solution and does not have the ability to remove malware from the system.”

Either Mac is resting on the laurels of past security successes, or they plan on getting really busy real soon by issuing daily security updates to the File Quarantine. But updates are only good if users accept them. Since the updates are not automatically updated for Macs, users must manually choose to update them, which leaves them vulnerable to malware attacks in the meantime.

Symantec also cites problems with Snow Leopard’s Internet security, which gives malicious files loopholes through the firewall and access to sensitive information like the ghosts multiplayer maps. To begin with, the firewall must be manually turned on in order to filter out the Internet bad guys. Also, the list-based modern warfare 3 phishing protection offered by Snow Leopard is shortsighted, since it will necessitate frequent updates. And, again, the update option doesn’t happen automatically.

If Mac’s security concerns get any more public attention or if they go unaddressed in perks, the company will face growing security challenges. After all, Mac’s grandiose claim is its impenetrable defense system and resistance to viruses.

Or perhaps it’s all part of a grand marketing scheme by Symantec MW3 perks to boost sales for their Mac Security package. Still, it leaves the rest of us with questions, too.

Snow Leopard Going On Sale This Week

For those who’ve been excited about Snow Leopard, your wait is just about over. This week, Apple plans to announce Mac OS Xv10.6 (Snow Leopard). They’ve unleashed a press release to make it all official-like:

Apple to Ship Mac OS X Snow Leopard on August 28

CUPERTINO, California—August 24, 2009—Apple® today announced that Mac OS® X v10.6 Snow Leopard™ will go on sale Friday, August 28 at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers, and that Apple’s online store is now accepting pre-orders. Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies and out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange. Snow Leopard will be available as an upgrade for Mac OS X Leopard® users for $29.

“Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we’re happy to get it to users earlier than expected,” said Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “For just $29, Leopard users get a smooth upgrade to the world’s most advanced operating system and the only system with built in Exchange support.”

To create Snow Leopard, Apple engineers refined 90 percent of the more than 1,000 projects that make up Mac OS X. Users will notice refinements including a more responsive Finder™; Mail that loads messages up to twice as fast;* Time Machine® with an up to 80 percent faster initial backup;* a Dock with Exposé® integration; QuickTime® X with a redesigned player that allows users to easily view, record, trim and share video; and a 64-bit version of Safari® 4 that is up to 50 percent** faster and resistant to crashes caused by plug-ins. Snow Leopard is half the size of the previous version and frees up to 7GB of drive space once installed.

For the first time, system applications including Finder, Mail, iCal®, iChat® and Safari are 64-bit and Snow Leopard’s support for 64-bit processors makes use of large amounts of RAM, increases performance and improves security while remaining compatible with 32-bit applications. Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) provides a revolutionary new way for software developers to write applications that take advantage of multicore processors. OpenCL, a C-based open standard, allows developers to tap the incredible power of the graphics processing unit for tasks that go beyond graphics.

Snow Leopard is the only desktop operating system with built in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and it allows you to use Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal to send and receive email, create and respond to meeting invitations, and search and manage contacts with global address lists. Exchange information works seamlessly within Snow Leopard so users can also take advantage of OS X only features such as fast Spotlight® searches and Quick Look previews.

Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard, the next major release of the world’s easiest to use server operating system, will also go on sale Friday, August 28. Snow Leopard Server includes innovative new features such as Podcast Producer 2 and Mobile Access Server and is priced more affordably than ever at $499 with unlimited client licenses. More information and full system requirements for Snow Leopard Server can be found at www.apple.com/server/macosx/.

iPhone App Of The Day – Weber’s On The Grill

Weber Grill

For all of you grillers out there, an iPhone App has finally been released. If you’re always looking for new grilling recipes, and sauce recipes then this is the app for you. On top of the recipes you can create a shopping list for keeping up with all the ingredients you’ll need. There’s tips, techniques, and a few videos to show you how to utilize some of the more advanced grilling techniques.

Weber’s On the Grill App Page