Kaspersky: 30,000 Mac users left infected with Flashback, more Mac malware on the way

As of yesterday, security company Symantec released a statement claiming there were still 140,000 Macs infected from the recent Flashback malware outbreak that originally infected an estimated 600,000 Mac users. That was despite Apple issuing a Java security update to remove the malware. Today, security researchers from Kaspersky said during a press conference (via Ars Technica) that it estimated infections dropped to 30,000, while still warning more “mass-malware” on OS X is on the way:

“Market share brings attacker motivation… Expect more drive-by downloads, more Mac OS X mass-malware. Expect cross-platform exploit kits with Mac-specific exploits.”

Kaspersky also clarified that much of the Flashback infections were spread through trusted WordPress websites that have been hijacked rather than through malicious downloaded files as many assume. Ars explained:
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In the wake of the Flashback Trojan, Apple quietly puts out an updated Java security patch

Earlier this week, Apple released a Java security update, 2012-001, to patch the Flashback vulnerability that a security company claims affected 600,000 Macs.

Late this evening, we are getting reports from readers that a new version of the Java update is becoming available via Software Update.

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The latest update, Java for OS X 2012-002, supersedes the -001 update Apple released earlier this week, and indeed the KB article linked from the -002 update is still the -001 version (below).

Update: Apple sent a note out to its Java Community, below, with the ‘why’ (small issue they are the same but for a few symlinks and version numbers.)

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview out of the gate: Demoed on 82-inch touchscreen supporting 10 simultaneous users

Microsoft issued the Windows 8 Consumer Preview today for everyone to download and try. Demonstrating the operating system’s ability to scale from the smartphone screen all the way to high-end PCs and beyond, the Redmond, Wash.-headquartered software giant showcased Windows 8 on a monstrous 82-inch display that is capable of detecting up to 100 simultaneous touch events or 10 simultaneous users.

Unfortunately, AnandTech, which reported the story, does not have a video online yet. However, I think it is safe to take Microsoft’s word. Now, if the operating system only ran Apple’s Keynote, the ninja PC-plus-Windows 8 combo coupled with a huge projector-based display would make for an impressive keynote rig.

By the way, we would love to hear impressions from our tech-savvy readers that have managed to dual-boot Windows 8 Consumer Preview alongside OS X using Boot Camp (go here for the FAQ detailing system requirements).

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview product demonstration video is right below the fold.

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Did your Mac make the Mountain Lion obsolescence list?

If you plan to install Mountain Lion on an older Mac, you might be out of luck. The new operating system release raises the ladder in terms of graphics performance required for its new features like AirPlay Mirroring. As a result, a couple years old Mac might not cut it anymore. According to French-language website MacGeneration, any Mac sporting Intel’s sluggish GMA x3100 or 950 chip will not be able to run Mountain Lion. While we have come a long way since the GMA graphics, you probably have somewhere under your table or in the basement a legacy Mac that does not have enough oomph for Mountain Lion. Anything older than the mid-2007 iMacs, early-2008 Mac Pros, early-2009 Mac minis and Xserves are left behind. The same goes for MacBooks based on any Intel Core 2 Duo processor and the original 2008 MacBook Air. Sorry folks, that is the price of progression. In addition, the following platform changes may interest you…

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Apple hooks up exploding Mac userbase in China with local services in OS X Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion will cater to Chinese users more than any other OS X version. CEO Tim Cook once more underscored the importance of China by highlighting Mac sales in today’s interview with the Wall Street Journal. Sales doubled in the 1.33 billion-people market during 2011 to the tune of $13 billion in revenue.

“They know about Apple and what Apple stands for. Then they search out and look for the Mac”, he told the paper. Apple’s promotional material said Mountain Lion makes it easy to “set up Mail, Contacts, Calendar, video sharing, web searching, and blogging on your Mac using many popular services in China.”

For starters, Chinese input method in Mountain Lion has “significant enhancements.” Secondly, Apple worked hard to make sure customers in China get a localized experience by providing the ability to select Baidu search in Safari. Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, ranked No. 6 in Alexa’s global rankings and No. 1 in China with an estimated 56.6-percent share of the country’s 4.02 billion search queries as of June 2011…

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Apple posts Messages Beta for the Mac on the heels of Mountain Lion announcement

Just as we are chewing on the news that Apple is working on Mountain Lion, a major new Mac OS X release, the company published Messages Beta for the Mac, an early taste of what is coming in Mountain Lion. Certain code leaks indicated such an application could be in the works and now it is coming. The Messages application lets you send unlimited iMessages to any Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch user.

You can start an iMessage conversation on your Mac and continue it on your iOS device, and even start a FaceTime video call and bring the conversation. Messages also supports sending photos, videos, attachments, contacts, locations and more and it comes with built-in support for iMessage, AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk and Jabber accounts. Apple noted that when you install Messages, it replaces iChat—even though iChat services will continue to work.

You can download your copy of iMessges Beta for the Mac here.

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VLC 2.0 arriving with all-new UI, native full screen in Lion, Blu-ray support, more

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VideoLAN, the organization behind the open-source cross-platform VLC media player, is geared to launch VLC 2.0—a total rewrite of the program with new capabilities and an all-new user interface on the Mac platform. Available on Mac OS X, Windows and a variety of Linux/Unix platforms, VLC 2.0 [changelog] includes enhancements such as a native full screen mode in Lion, a redesigned subtitle manager, support for multiple video files inside RAR archives and enhanced video output modes. The Mac version will also support unprotected Blu-ray media, and Windows users will get to enjoy a 64-bit version.

The developers also added support for VLC’s lua-based extensions, letting users get information about movies from Allociné, post to Twitter, fetch subtitles automatically, and so forth. No disc burning features are included because “there are more suited apps for that.” One of the developers on the project Felix Kühne published a series of screenshots (more available on Flickr) highlighting the new Mac interface, credited to designer Damien Erambert. According to Kühne:

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Latest Snow Leopard security update breaks popular PowerPC apps like Quicken

As part of the Mac OS X 10.7.3 update released earlier this week, Security Update 2012-001 [release notes] for Snow Leopard broke compatibility with several Rosetta Power PC programs. The issue, as described on Tidbits, MacInTouch and on Apple Support Communities threads (here, here and here), causes some third-party programs to crash unexpectedly under Snow Leopard. This includes popular applications such as Quicken, Filemaker 7, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office 2004 and X. There is a workaround solution that helps alleviate the issue, at least until Apple addresses it with another update, explained right after the break.

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Here’s the fix for intermittent CUI errors following the 10.7.3 update

A number of users flooded Apple Support Communities forums following yesterday’s release of the Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3 update to complain about dreaded CUI errors. In addition to a bunch of minor issues, some people reported being greeted with unexpected app crashes after rebooting into 10.7.3. For them, attempting to launch any application would produce the above  (and below) prompt saying:

The application unexpectedly quit after trying to restore its windows. Do you want to try to restore its windows again?

Log files reveal that the affected users are often unable to use their computer normally as a large number of crashes are being logged. Luckily, there are several easy workarounds to fix this annoying bug…
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Apple releases OS X Lion 10.7.3 build 11D46 with no known issues ahead of public release

Apple seeded its registered developers last night with a new version of Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3. The software carries a build number of 11D46 and arrives just a week following the 11D42 build. It has no known issues, indicating that public release is around the corner. Developers are asked to focus on iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari. The Delta update weighs in at 996.98MB and combo update is a 1.26GB download. The OS X Lion Server 10.7.3 build 11D46 is also available for download (Delta:1GB, Combo: 1.34GB, Server Admin Tools: 202.59MB). Additional build notes after the break.

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Review: Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac

(We’re offering a $10 discount/free Parallels MacBook Air contest this week)

If you are not new to Parallels, you will already be familiar with its ability to run Windows in a virtual machine within OS X. You might also be familiar with its Coherence view mode that allows you to run Windows and Mac OS applications side by side, rather than a full-blown Windows 7 in a separate window. However, Parallels Desktop 7 takes it to the next level with some of the deepest Windows/OS X integration yet.

The name of the game for the new Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac is definitely OS X Lion integration. Pretty much every new UI feature incorporated into Lion has been integrated into Parallels, and thus Windows 7. We put the new version to the test with both Windows 7 and Windows 8 developer preview on last year’s iMac with 4GB of RAM.

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Apple releases OS X 10.7.3 build 11D36 to developers

Apple released OS X 10.7.3 build 11D36 to developers this evening, and it is available on the Developer Center. Apple asked developers to focus on iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight, and Safari. The delta update of this build tops out at 986 MB and the combo update weighs in at 1.25 GB. The OS X 10.7.3 should roll out to Lion users in the coming weeks, so sit tight.

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