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Chrome

Safari Browser May Soon Be Just As Fast As Chrome With WebP Integration (thenextweb.com) 105

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Next Web: The Safari browser included in Apple's iOS 10 and macOS Sierra software is testing WebP, technology from Google that allows developers to create smaller, richer images that make the web faster. Basically, it's a way for webpages to load more quickly. The Next Web reports: "WebP was built into Chrome back at build 32 (2013!), so it's not unproven. It's also used by Facebook due to its image compression underpinnings, and is in use across many Google properties, including YouTube." Microsoft is one of the only major players to not use WebP, according to CNET. It's not included in Internet Explorer and the company has "no plans" to integrate it into Edge. Even though iOS 10 and macOS Sierra are in beta, it's promising that we will see WebP make its debut in Safari latest this year. "It's hard to imagine Apple turning away tried and true technology that's found in a more popular browser -- one that's favored by many over Safari due to its speed, where WebP plays a huge part," reports The Next Web. "Safari is currently the second most popular browser to Chrome." What's also interesting is how WebP isn't mentioned at all in the logs for Apple's Safari Technology Preview.
Television

Apple Launching Reality TV Show Called 'Planet of the Apps' (venturebeat.com) 62

theodp writes: The Verge reports Apple is making good on an earlier threat to create a reality TV show about app developers. An open casting call has been issued for "Planet of the Apps," with the goal of finding "100 of the world's most talented app creators" -- news which VentureBeat suggests must be making Steve Jobs' ghost weep. Apple has teamed up with Propagate, a new production company created by the producer of "The Biggest Loser." The description of the show says: "Join us on the search for the next great app in a new original series. Those selected will have the chance to receive hands-on guidance from some of the most influential experts in the tech community, featured placement on the App Store, and funding from top-tier VCs." The show is expected to be released in 2017.
Operating Systems

Severe Flaws Found In Libarchive Open Source Library (talosintel.com) 82

Reader itwbennett writes: Researchers from Cisco Systems' Talos group have found three memory corruption errors in the widely used open-source library libarchive that can result in arbitrary code execution and can be exploited by passing specially crafted files to applications that contain the vulnerable code. "The library is used by file and package managers included in many Linux and BSD systems, as well as by components and tools in OS X and Chrome OS," writes Lucian Constantin. "Developers can also include the library's code in their own projects, so it's hard to know how many other applications or firmware packages contain it." (Original blog post) So, while the libarchive maintainers have released patches for the flaws, it will likely take a long time for them to trickle down through all the affected projects.
Communications

Apple Explains Why iMessage Isn't Coming To Android (networkworld.com) 157

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: Ahead of Apple's WWDC keynote this year, one of the more bizarre and sketchy rumors we saw take shape claimed that Apple was planning to deliver iMessage to Android. As is typically the case, the rumor mill took this somewhat ridiculous rumor and ran with it. The only problem is that some people were so busy trying to figure out the ramifications of iMessage hitting Android that they didn't take a step back and try and figure out if this is something Apple would even contemplate in the first place. Remember, every move Apple makes is strategic and geared towards making more money, either via device sales or software. That being the case, iMessage on Android would not only be a free app, but it would also eliminate a user-experience advantage of iOS. Interestingly enough, Walt Mossberg of The Verge asked a senior Apple executive about the rumor whereupon the nameless executive all but indicated that iMessage will never be coming to Android. Walt Mossberg writes: "First, he said, Apple considers its own user base of 1 billion active devices to provide a large enough data set for any possible AI learning the company is working on. And, second, having a superior messaging platform that only worked on Apple devices would help sales of those device -- the company's classic (and successful) rationale for years."
Education

Apple Introduces Swift Playgrounds App To Teach Kids To Code (theverge.com) 73

An anonymous reader writes: At their Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "We believe coding should be a required language in all schools." To help achieve this goal, Apple introduced Swift Playgrounds, a new app that is meant to teach kids basic coding skills in Apple's chosen language. It teaches concepts like loops and conditionals, and uses an animated character tasked with performing simple challenges in a digital maze to help make learning fun. The app also offers suggested coding languages and will be completely free. Tim Cook described it as "a powerful new way for kids to learn to code," and went on to compare writing code to basic literacy. "I wish Swift Playgrounds was around when I was first learning to code," said Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. "Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code. It's an innovative way to bring real coding concepts to life and empower the next generation with the skills they need to express their creativity." Apple announced a host of new features and improvements made to iOS and Mac OS X. Not only did they announce that OS X will now be called macOS, but the first version update will be called macOS Sierra. One of the biggest new features of the new OS is support for Siri.
OS X

Mac Users Reporting Widespread System Freezes With OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 Update (macrumors.com) 100

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Mac Rumors: A large number of MacBook Pro owners running OS X El Capitan are reporting widespread system freezes since installing the 10.11.4 update to Apple's Mac OS. The problem appears to be concentrated on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros (Early 2015) running 10.11.4. Users report that their system becomes totally unresponsive at seemingly random times, with no way to regain access to their Mac other than to force a hard reboot. The issue was initially reported by MacRumors forum member Antonnn on March 25, four days after Apple released what is the third update to the Mac OS. In Antonnn's case, the freezes have been occurring "about once a week," first when browsing in Safari, but then also during the use of other Mac apps, including Adobe Photoshop and several third-party browsers. The freeze seems to affect not only the screen and mouse cursor but also the Mac's Force Touch trackpad, which completely loses feedback. Apple Support is apparently aware of the issue but have so far offered no concrete solution. Meanwhile, some users have resorted to downgrading their system to 10.11.3 by restoring from a Time Machine backup or performing a clean install. Hundreds of others have posted to a dedicated thread discussing the issue. Bill Mattheis posted a video on YouTube of the freezing he has experienced on his MacBook Pro.
Desktops (Apple)

Rogue Source Code Repos Can Compromise Mac Security Due To Old Git Version (softpedia.com) 184

An anonymous reader writes: Recent Mac versions come bundled with a very old version of Git (2.6.4) that is vulnerable to two security flaws that allow attackers to execute code on the device when the user forks a Git repo holding "malicious" code. The problem is that users can't upgrade this Git repo, they can't change its runtime permissions, nor can they remove it because Apple blocks even root users from twiddling with some system-level programs. "If you rely on machines like this, I am truly sorry. I feel for you," the researcher wrote on her blog. "I wrote this post in an attempt to goad them [Apple] into action because this is affecting lots of people who are important to me. They are basically screwed until Apple deigns to deliver a patched git unto them."
Software

Opera's Ex-CEO Launches Vivaldi 1.0 For Power Users 135

Opera co-founder and former CEO Jon von Tetzchner on Wednesday launched the v1.0 of Vivaldi browser. Vivaldi v1.0, which is aimed at "power users", is available to download from the company's website for Windows, OS X, and Linux platforms. The Norway, Oslo company has been working on it since 2013. Vivaldi offers a range of features such as support for Chrome extension, Tab Stacks, Rewind and Fast Forward, and built-in support for custom keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures. There are plenty of other handy tools including the ability to check how much data a Web page has consumed in real time.
Microsoft

Popular Transmission BitTorrent Client Released For Windows (thenextweb.com) 85

An anonymous reader quotes an article on The Next Web: Transmission, one of the most popular BitTorrent clients for OS X and Linux, has finally arrived on Windows after roughly a decade in existence. The open-source file sharing app, developed by volunteers and available without ads for free, boasts a small footprint (about 25MB on Windows), support for encryption, a Web interface so you can control it through your browser, as well as the ability to set different speed limits for individual torrents. The current version isn't yet being actively promoted -- to download it, you'll need to head to Transmission's download directory page.
IOS

More Devs Now Use OS X Than Linux, Says Survey (9to5mac.com) 532

An anonymous reader writes from an article on 9to5Mac: Stack Overflow reports that more developers now use OS X than Linux as their primary OS, and that if the trend continues, fewer than half of all developers will be using Windows next year. The site says it carried out "the most comprehensive developer survey ever conducted," with more than 56,000 coders across 173 countries taking part.
The survey also mentioned more were still developing for Android than iOS -- 61.9% versus 47.5%. However, almost a third of developers are using Swift, which was also the second most loved language after Rust.
Crime

KeRanger Mac Ransomware Based On Linux Forebear, Not Windows 77

An anonymous reader writes: It appears that the KeRanger ransomware that's been tormenting Mac users for the past days is actually based on a ransomware variant that targets Linux servers, and not on a ransomware family coming from Windows. That particular Linux ransomware is also based on an open-source ransomware called Hidden Tear that was uploaded to GitHub by a Turkish security researcher. So obviously, the conclusion is that GitHub is to blame for the KeRanger Mac ransomware. (Note to readers: That last bit is tongue in anonymous cheek.)
OS X

Brazilian Coders Are Pioneering the First Cross-OS Malware Using JAR Files 124

An anonymous reader writes: Criminal gangs in Brazil are experimenting with the first malware families that are packaged as JAR files, capable of being deployed to Windows, Linux, Mac, and even Android from the same codebase, instead of relying on 4 different versions. Right now, only the malware dropper, a component used to infect computers with banking trojans, seems to have been coded in Java, but security experts expect a full-blown banking trojan to soon follow.
OS X

Apple Has Shut Down the First Fully-Functional Mac OS X Ransomware (techcrunch.com) 124

An anonymous reader writes: Apple has shut down what appears to have been the first, fully-functional ransomware targeting Mac computers. This particular form of cyber threat involves malware that encrypts the data on your personal computer so you can no longer access it. Afterwards, the hackers request that you pay them in a hard-to-trace digital currency — in this case, bitcoin — in order for you to retrieve your files. This ransomware, called KeRanger, was first reported by researchers at Palo Alto Networks. They also noted that Apple has now revoked the abused certificate that was used in the attack and updated its built-in anti-malware system XProtect with a new signature to protect customers.
Software

Windows, OS X, and iOS Top 2015's List of Software With the Most Vulnerabilities (venturebeat.com) 111

An anonymous reader writes: Which software had the most publicly disclosed vulnerabilities in 2015? According to a site called CVE Details, which organizes data provided by the National Vulnerability Database, Apple's Mac OS X was near the top, with 384 vulnerabilities. iOS followed closely, with 375 vulnerabilities. The list splits out Windows into its separate versions, so it's hard to get an accurate count — simply adding them all together yields a total of over 1,000, but there are likely many duplicates. Other top spots went to Adobe's Flash Player, with 314 vulnerabilities; Adobe's AIR SDK, with 246 vulnerabilities; and Adobe AIR itself, also with 246 vulnerabilities. The four major web browsers also ranked quite highly.
IOS

Tim Cook: Apple Won't Create 'Converged' MacBook and iPad (independent.ie) 337

LichtSpektren writes: In an interview with Independent.ie, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that Apple is currently not looking to create an iPad that runs Mac OS X. "We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad, because what that would wind up doing, or what we're worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways." Cook also commented that he does not travel with a Mac anymore, only his iPad Pro and iPhone.
Chrome

Google Will Retire Chrome Support For XP, Vista, OS X 10.6-8 In April 2016 (blogspot.com) 140

An anonymous reader writes: Google has announced it is extending Chrome support for Windows XP until April 2016. The company will also end Chrome support for Windows Vista, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, OS X 10.7 Lion, and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion at the same time. This means Google will provide regular Chrome updates and security patches for users on these operating systems for five more months. After that, the browser will still work, but it will be stuck on the last version released in April.
OS X

Proof-of-Concept Ransomware Affects Macs (vice.com) 163

sarahnaomi writes: Ransomware, the devilish family of malware that locks down a victim's files until he or she coughs up a hefty bounty, may soon be coming to Mac. Last week, a Brazilian security researcher produced a proof-of-concept for what appears to be the first ransomware to target Mac operating systems (Mac OS X). On Monday, cybersecurity company Symantec verified the researcher's findings. "Mabouia is the first case of file-based crypto ransomware for OS X, albeit a proof-of-concept," Symantec wrote in a blog post. "It's simple code, I did it in two days," [said] the creator of the malware.
Android

First Remote-Access Trojan That Can Target Android, Linux, Mac and Windows 63

An anonymous reader writes: Hackers have put on sale OmniRAT, a remote access trojan that can target Androids, Linux, Mac, and Windows PCs. The tool costs $25-$50, which is only a fraction of $200-$300,the price of DroidJack, another Android RAT. Avast is currently reporting that the RAT was used this summer in Germany, spread to victims via SMS messages. The Softpedia article about OmniRAT includes a video, but declined to post the tool's homepage. You can easily find it via a Google search.
IOS

FireEye: Many Companies Still Running XcodeGhost-Infected Apple Apps (csoonline.com) 23

itwbennett writes: In September, more than 4,000 applications were found to have been modified with a counterfeit version of Xcode, dubbed XcodeGhost. On Tuesday, FireEye said in a blog post that it has detected 210 enterprises that are still using infected apps, showing that the XcodeGhost malware 'is a persistent security risk.' In addition, whomever created XcodeGhost has also developed a new version that can target iOS 9, called XcodeGhost S, FireEye wrote.
Programming

Objective-C Use Falls Hard, Apple's Swift On the Rise (dice.com) 161

Nerval's Lobster writes: When Apple rolled out Swift last summer, it expected its new programming language to eventually replace Objective-C, which developers have used for years to build iOS and Mac OS X apps. Thanks to Apple's huge developer ecosystem (and equally massive footprint in the world of consumer devices), Swift quickly became one of the most buzzed-about programming languages, as cited by sites such as Stack Overflow. And now, according to new data from TIOBE Software, which keeps a regularly updated index of popular programming languages, Swift might be seriously cannibalizing Objective-C. On TIOBE's latest index, Objective-C is ranked fourteenth among programming languages, a considerable drop from its third-place spot in October 2014. Swift managed to climb from nineteenth to fifteenth during the same period. "Soon after Apple announced to switch from Objective-C to Swift, Objective-C went into free fall," read TIOBE's text accompanying the data. "This month Objective-C dropped out of the TIOBE index top 10." How soon until Swift eclipses Objective-C entirely?

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