It’s powerful, it’s shiny, and everyone wants one, including thieves and hackers. Your MacBook holds your world: work files, music, photos, videos, and a lot of other stuff you care about, but is your MacBook safe and protected from harm?  Let’s take a look at 5 MacBook Security Tips you use to make your MacBook an impenetrable and unstealable mobile data fortress:

1. LoJack Your Mac Now So You Can Recover it After it’s Been Stolen

We’ve all heard about the iPhone and the Find My iPhone app, where users of Apple’s MobileMe service can track down their lost or stolen iPhone via a website by leveraging the iPhone’s location awareness capabilities.

 That’s great for iPhones, but what about your MacBook? Is there an app for that? Yes, there is! 

For a yearly subscription fee, Absolute Software’s LoJack for Laptops software will provide both data security and theft recovery services for your MacBook.  The software starts at $35.99 and is available in 1-3 year subscription plans.  LoJack integrates at the BIOS firmware level, so a thief who thinks that just wiping the hard drive of your stolen computer will make it untraceable is in for a real surprise when he connects to the net and LoJack starts broadcasting the location of your MacBook, without him even knowing it.  Knock, knock!  Who’s there?  It’s not housekeeping!

There is no guarantee that you will get your shiny MacBook back, but the odds are greatly improved if you have LoJack installed versus if you don’t.  According to their website, Absolute Software’s Theft Recovery Team averages about 90 laptop recoveries per week.

2. Enable your MacBook’s OS X Security Features (Because Apple Didn’t)

The Mac operating system, known as OS X, has some great security features that are available to the user. The main problem is that while the features are installed, they are not usually enabled by default. Users must enable these security features on their own.

 Here are the basic settings that you should configure to make your MacBook more secure:

Disable Automatic Login and Set a System Password

While it’s convenient not to have to enter your password every time you boot up your computer, or when the screensaver kicks in, you might as well leave the front door to your house wide open because your MacBook is now an all-you-can-eat data buffet for the guy who just stole it. With one click of a checkbox and the creation of a strong password, you can enable this feature and put another roadblock in the hacker or thief’s path.

Enable OS X’s FileVault Encryption

Your MacBook just got stolen but you put a password on your account so your data is safe, right? Wrong!

Most hackers and data thieves will just pull the hard drive out of your MacBook and hook it to another computer using an IDE/SATA to USB cable. Their computer will read your MacBook’s drive just like any other DVD or USB drive plugged into it. They won’t need an account or password to access your data because they have bypassed the operating system’s built-in file security. They now have direct access to your files regardless of who is logged in. 

The easiest way to prevent this is to enable file encryption using OSX’s built-in FileVault tool.

FileVault encrypts and decrypts files associated with your profile on the fly using a password that you set. It sounds complicated, but everything happens in the background so you don’t even know anything is going on. Meanwhile, your data is being protected so unless they have the password the data is unreadable and useless to thieves even if they take the drive out and hook it to another computer.

For stronger, whole disk encryption with advanced features, check out TrueCrypt, a free, open source file, and disk encryption tool.

Turn on Your Mac’s Built-in Firewall

The built-in OS X Firewall will thwart most hacker’s attempts to break into your MacBook from the Internet.

It’s very easy to setup. Once enabled, the Firewall will block malicious inbound network connections and regulates outbound traffic as well. Applications must ask permission from you (via a pop-up box) before they attempt an outbound connection. You can grant or deny access on a temporary or permanent basis as you see fit.  

We have detailed, step--by-step guidance on how to Enable OS X's Security Features

All of the security features mentioned here can be accessed by clicking on the Security icon in the OS X System Preferences window

3. Install Patches? We Don’t Need no Stinking Patches! (yes we do)

The exploit/patch cat and mouse game are alive and well. Hackers find a weakness in an application and develop an exploit. The application’s developer addresses the vulnerability and releases a patch to fix it.  Users install the patch and the circle of life continues.

Mac OS X will automatically check for Apple-branded software updates on a regular basis and will often prompt you to download and install them. Many 3rd party software packages such as Microsoft Office have their own software update app that will periodically check to see if there are any patches available. Other applications have a manual “Check for Updates” feature often located in the Help menu. It is a good idea to perform or schedule an update check on at least a weekly basis for your most used applications so that you aren’t as vulnerable to software-based exploits.

4. Lock it Down. Literally. 

If someone wants to steal your computer bad enough they are going to, no matter how many layers of defense you put up.

 Your goal should be to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to steal your MacBook.  You want them to become discouraged enough to move on to easier targets. 

The Kensington Lock, which has been around for decades, is a security device for physically connecting your laptop with a steel cable loop to a large piece of furniture or some other object that is not easily moved.  Every MacBook has a Kensington Security Slot, also know as a K-Slot.  The K-Slot will accept a Kensington-type lock. On newer MacBooks, the K-Slot is located to the right of the headphone jack on the left side of the device.  

Can these locks be picked?  Yes.  Can the cable be cut with the right tools?  Yes. The important thing is that the lock will deter the casual theft of opportunity.  A would-be thief who breaks out his lock picking kit and Jaws of Life wire cutters in the Library to steal your MacBook will likely arouse more suspicion than if he just walked away with the laptop sitting next to yours that wasn’t tethered to a magazine rack. 

The basic Kensington Lock comes in many varieties, costs about $25, and is widely available at most office supply stores.

5. Protect Your Mac’s Gooey Center With a Hard-shell Configuration

If you are really serious about security and want to delve way down deep into your settings to make sure your Mac’s security is as bulletproof as possible, then surf on over to the Apple support website and download the OS X security configuration guides. These well put together documents detail all the settings that are available to lock down every aspect of the OS to make it as secure as possible.

Just be careful that you balance security with usability. You don’t want to lock your MacBook up so tight that you can’t get into it yourself.

Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Andy O'Donnell

Categorized in Internet Privacy
Amidst WikiLeaks’ revelations about the CIA’s capabilities to hack into Apple products is DarkSeaSkies – a tool used to monitor and control MacBook Air that’s physically installed by a CIA agent or asset in “less than 29 seconds.”
 
 Screwdriver’DarkSeaSkies is a tool that runs in the background of a MacBook Air to allow the CIA command and control laptops. It is delivered via “supply chain intercept or a gift to the target.”It’s loaded onto a MacBook via booting through a thumb drive. The CIA’s user document explains: “It is assumed that an operator or asset has one-time physical access to the target system and can boot the target system to an external flash drive.”A 2009 “user requirements” document on DarkSeaSkies explains it was created to allow the CIA to access a MacBook Air.
 
 
The CIA’s COG [Computer Operations Group] had a “time-sensitive operational need” to install the Nightskies tool onto a MacBook Air, as the CIA had an “opportunity to gift a MacBook Air to a target that will be implanted with this tool.” It’s unknown who this target was.
 
 
View image on Twitter

DarkSeaSkies Components

DarkSeaSkies is actually made up of three components, Dark Matter, SeaPea and NightSkies.DarkMatter is installed in a computer’s kernal-space (core of computer’s operating system, usually in protected area of memory). It then installs the other two components of the tool, SeaPea and NightSkies.SeaPea is installed in the kernal and executes and hides NightSkies, which is implanted in the user the space (computer’s memory area that deals with apps and software).“All files, network connections, and processes associated with the NightSkies beacon are hidden by the SeaPea root-kit,” the document reads.NightSkies is the beaconing tool used to monitor and send information from the phone to a Listening Post (LP), which collects the incoming data.
 
 
Physical access is required to install DarkSeaSkies and the target must have “at minimum occasional internet access” to communicate with a CIA LP. If it’s unable to communicate with a LP, it will eventually delete itself from the system.The good news is, at least back in 2009, DarkSeaSkies would not persist in the event of a firmware update, according to the CIA’s documents.A document dealing with test procedures for DarkSeaSkies references a “MacBook Air out of the box” and explains how to install DarkSeaSkies, “run through the wizard to setup the MacBook for the first time. While you’re going through the setup you need to ensure that you set the clock to the current date and time. Disable the wireless card and the Bluetooth card.”Under “observations,” it’s noted that the tool can be installed in “less than 29 seconds.”“It takes roughly 23 seconds to get to where you can choose the thumb drive as the boot device and 6 seconds for the tool to install and power off the machine,” the document reads.
Source : rt.com
Categorized in Internet Privacy

You might not have heard about it, but there’s been a huge amount of backlash over the new MacBook Pros that Apple announced in October. Most laptop users greeted the slick new hardware as they have with most computer upgrades, which is to say they took it in stride. But many of the most dedicated and vocal Apple devotees were not so subdued. With the new lineup of MacBook Pros, Apple is, in many ways, going a different route than it has gone in the past. It’s changing what a MacBook Pro is, and many Apple fans are not happy.

To understand their frustration, we have to understand what a MacBook Pro has represented up to this point and compare it to what Apple is offering this year. 

In the past, the MacBook Pro has always been a powerful laptop and Apple’s most capable portable computer. It’s always been the premier machine, a step ahead of the more consumer-level MacBook Air and standard MacBook. The word “Pro” in its name signaled its target audience: professional creative people who need powerful machines to do their work. Whether you needed to edit pictures, create videos, record music, write, develop apps, or work on high-end graphics, the Macbook Pro had your back.

The new MacBook Pros don’t quite line up with those ideals for creative professionals in 2016. Here’s where they fall short.

1. Power

CPU

The new Macbook Pro models all come with varying degrees of power | Thinkstock

The new line of MacBook Pros includes three separate machines: a 13-inch one, a 13-inch one with a Touch Bar, and a 15-inch one with a Touch Bar. We’ll get into the Touch Bar below, but the new models all come with varying degrees of power and pre-set upgrade options.

The thing is, they run on AMD’s Radeon chips. While the new chipset is an improvement over the previous MacBook Pros, it’s not competitive with the Nvidia chips that power many other pro-level laptops these days. As Colin Cornaby notes on his blog, “While AMD has improved their performance compared to their previous generation, they’ve failed to take the performance crown from Nvidia. Nvidia’s low end professional notebook GPU, the GTX 1060m, is still almost twice as fast as the Radeon 460.”

Then there’s the RAM issue. In all of the new MacBook Pro models, the maximum amount of memory you can upgrade to is 16GB. While that’s certainly enough for your average consumer, it’s not nearly enough for many of the creative types who have relied on Macs in the past.

2. Ports

The ports on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The new Macbook Pro doesn’t come with as many ports | Apple

Older MacBook Pros came with a wide array of ports that let you plug just about anything into them. They had a breakaway MagSafe port that made sure your computer wouldn’t careen to the floor if someone tripped over your power cable. They also had an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, a FireWire port, USB ports, a built-in SD card reader, and a headphone jack.

In the new MacBook Pros, the only ports you get are a handful of Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack. There’s nothing wrong with Thunderbolt 3 ports — they’re incredibly versatile. But taking advantage of their versatility requires you to buy a seemingly endless series of dongles, one for each thing you want to plug in. The headphone jack is curious, seeing as Apple made a big deal recently about removing that jack from the iPhone 7, so it’s surprising it made the cut.

3. Touch Bar

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar from above

The Touch Bar could be useful or gimmicky, we have yet to decide | Apple

The marquee feature of two of the three new MacBook Pros is the Touch Bar, a long touchscreen that replaces the row of function keys on the keyboard. The idea is that it displays unique touch buttons for whatever app you’re using.

The Touch Bar seems like Apple’s answer to the many competing notebooks that come with full touchscreens. The jury is still out on whether the Touch Bar will turn out to be a gimmick or something more useful, but it’s not a feature that seems immediately necessary. It’s not something that is likely to make up for the rest of the curious decisions Apple made in the new MacBook Pros.

4. Keyboard

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar from above

The new Macbook Pro keyboard isn’t as good as the previous one | Apple

As far as laptops go, typing on a 2012 MacBook Pro is as good as it gets. Each key has a fine, understated “clickiness” and a satisfying amount of travel that lets you feel each key as you press it. In other words, the old keyboard offered great feedback.

The new MacBook Pro keyboard is much more shallow, which means it offers much less feedback as you type. By all reports, there’s so little travel to the keys that it almost feels like you’re typing on a touchscreen. Apple invented this kind of keyboard in order to make the overall computer as thin as possible, but according to most people, the typing experience has suffered as a result. That’s a shame for anyone who writes or codes for a living, or anyone who has to deal with a hurricane of emails every day.

5. Price

Stacks of money

The new Macbook Pros are outrageously priced | iStock.com

MacBook Pros have always been pricy machines, but they’ve never cost as much as the new ones do. Compared to other similarly-specced laptops on the market, the MacBook Pro is downright overpriced. The entry-level one, the 13-inch notebook without a Touch Pad, starts at $1,500 and goes up from there. The most expensive one starts at $2,800 and goes all the way up to $4,300 if you upgrade it all the way. That’s a lot of money for a computer with less power than the more affordable competition.

6. Upgradeability

An opened hard drive

You won’t be able to upgrade the new Macbook Pro | iStock.com

Another thing Apple has given up in its quest for thinness and profits is upgradeability. In MacBooks made in 2012 and earlier, you could take a screwdriver to them and easily upgrade things like your hard drive and RAM. Those days are gone now, because those parts are now glued in. To get a bigger hard drive or more RAM, you essentially have to buy a new computer.

So much for anyone who wants the flexibility to make their machines more powerful as their needs change over time.

7. Priorities

Tim Cook stands in front of a MacBook

Tim Cook stands in front of a MacBook | Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Some of the new additions, like the Touch ID sensor that can let you skip typing in your passwords, will definitely be useful for Mac users. The Touch Bar could be extremely useful, though that remains to be seen. The problem is with Apple’s priorities.

The new MacBook Pros illustrate that Apple cares a whole lot about lightness, thinness, and battery life. These happen to be things most Pro users don’t care much about, since they tend to keep their machines on their desk most of the time. What Pro users care about is customization and versatility — things Apple has sacrificed in recent MacBook Pros. 

The kind of customer who would find the new MacBook Pro a solution to their needs isn’t a creative professional, it’s a regular consumer. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Apple targeting regular consumers; the problem is that Apple isn’t offering a replacement for people who need a powerful notebook to do their creative work.

It may not put much of a dent in Apple’s bottom line, but these shifting priorities are still making plenty of people angry and disappointed.

Author : Chris Reed

Source : http://www.cheatsheet.com/gear-style/why-people-are-pissed-about-the-new-apple-macbook-pros.html/7/

Categorized in Science & Tech

Facebook’s fake news frenzy continued as the company came under scrutiny for its debated influence on the U.S. election, LinkedIn was blocked in Russia and a person was treated with CRISPR technology for the first time. Also, the human species has about 1,000 years left according to Stephen Hawking. But do we deserve survival? The existence of Coca-Cola’s selfie bottle points toward no.

1. Mark Zuckerberg published a response to accusations that fake news on Facebook influenced the outcome of the U.S. election. The Facebook CEO claims that at least 99 percent of news content on Facebook was “authentic.” However, many still argue that Facebook has locked users inside of an echo chamber. 

2. Apple and U.S. auto sales could suffer a setback if President-elect Donald Trump takes action on his pre-election comments about global trade. Back in September, Trump said he would impose a 45 percent tariff on imports from China. And now the country is threatening to squeeze iPhone sales if a trade war comes to be. 

MacBook Pro

3. A full four years after the last major upgrade, the new MacBook Pro is finally here. It’s slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, has a new Touch Bar feature and a larger TrackPad.

4. Chinese scientists injected a human being with cells genetically edited using CRISPR-Cas9technology. This is the first time CRISPR has been used on a fully formed adult human, and scientists are hoping that this will help their patient fend off a deadly type of lung cancer.

snapbot

5. Snap Inc. appears to be moving forward in its plans to go public early next year. The company reportedly filed confidentially for its massive IPO. Snap is already targeting as much as $1 billion in revenue for 2017. It has 150 million daily active users and has rapidly become one of the most enticing new advertising platforms for marketers. Snapchat also continued selling its Spectacles glasses to the public in the most millennial way possible — through pop-up vending machines across California and in Oklahoma. But they didn’t give them away to techies. 

6. Microsoft and the Linux community often felt like they were at war with each other in the past. But this week, Microsoft, one of the biggest open-source contributors, joined the Linux Foundation as a high-paying Platinum member.

7. Shareholders approved Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity in an important hurdle for the deal. Tesla expects the transaction to close in the coming days. Overall, the acquisition is pushed forward by Elon Musk’s vision of a unified sustainable energy track.

Jason Robins of DraftKings

8. It was confirmed that fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel are merging into one company in what will be a

dual-operating

structure. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins will become CEO of the newly combined company and FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles will become Chairman of the Board.

9. WhatsApp is on its way to becoming the global multi-platform FaceTime. The Facebook-owned communication app launched video calling for everyone.

10. A red-hot new startup called Hustle announced it’s raised $3 million led by Social Capital. The text-distribution tool’s goal is to let organizers quickly start individual, personalized conversations with huge groups of supporters. It has already been used by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

11. Samsung is gunning to increase its focus on connected cars as it announced plans to buy auto and audio product maker Harman in an $8 billion all-cash deal.

12. LinkedIn was officially blocked in Russia after the social network failed to transfer Russian user data to servers located in the country. This violates a law instituted in Russia requiring all online sites to store personal data on national servers.

Author : Anna Escher

Source : techcrunch.com

Categorized in News & Politics

Do you sometimes wish that your Mac would read your mind and organize all your business notes properly? Do you sometimes waste valuable time, looking for important screenshots and files in your computer? Then try out these three technology hacks for quick and effective solutions to your problems in a jiffy.

1. Boost Your Efficiency With Hotkeys, Keywords And Much More With Alfred:

search

Do you often spend a lot of time searching for apps or websites you often use? Then check out Alfred – an award-winning productivity app designed exclusively for Mac OS X that gives you greater control over your computer and makes life much simpler. After making some settings, you’ll be able to open what you want within a second.

Here are just some of the many things you can do with Alfred:

  • Find apps and files without even removing your fingers from the keyboard
  • Browse the web with default and custom search keywords
  • Use the Shift key to preview contents of a document without opening it

2. Manage Your Clipboard History With This Handy Tool:

Tired of switching tabs again and again when copying and pasting a list of things? Clipmenu allows you to do so just all at once!

If you’ve been using clipboard, is your clipboard history too cluttered? Are your work notes always disorganized?

Then here’s ClipMenu to the rescue – a free and highly efficient clipboard manager for Mac OS X which allows you to record 8 clipboard types, including image, plain text and much more.

3. Find Your Precious Screen Shots In A Sec With This Quick Hack:

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-10-55-00-am

All your screenshots are saved to the Desktop by default but if you take lots of screenshots, finding a particular one might be a difficult task. Fortunately, you can use this trick to change the default screenshot location on your computer. If you make them be saved to Downloads folder, then you can drag the screenshot as the latest download file from the folder in the tool bar.

From now on, be more productive when you switch on your Mac. Share these tips with your friends today!

Source:  lifehack.org

Categorized in Online Research

The MacBook Pro may have found success straight out of the starting blocks, but it’s unlikely to change Apple’s focus. Cupertino’s future does not feel like it is focused on the classic laptop form and macos, but on sealed Pro tablets running iOS.

Apple CEO Tim Cook previews a MacBook Pro during a product launch event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

The mobile market is where Apple’s strength lies. Although Android commands the lions’ share of the market (approaching a global share of ninety percent, depending on the analyst), that share doesn’t translate ninety percent of the profits. Apple takes over one hundred percent of the market’s profits. Arguably Google’s value is not in the hardware sales but in capturing the Android users into its cloud where it can monetize each user.

Now look at the difference in the laptop market. Here Apple commands a similar market share of between seven and eight percent. It is generally found in fourth or fifth place in the top manufacturers list but with a share of the profits more in line with the market numbers.

Apple has a strong and stable presence in the laptop ecosystem. With the new MacBook Pros now on sale, Apple should be able to extend that position. It’s just a shame that Apple’s true focus is on pastures new.

Last year at the launch of the iPad Pro, Tim Cook asked “Why would you buy a PC any more?” Why indeed? It’s possible to carry out many of the day-to-day task that would normally be done on a laptop on a tablet – web browsing, social networks, music and video playback, note taking, document editing, messaging, and more. iOS has matured to point where the third-party ecosystem can cover the majority of tasks required by the majority of users.

The challenge in part is to convince consumers that think ‘laptop first’ to think ‘tablet first’. That continues to be the role of the iPad Pro in Apple’s portfolio. With the smart keyboard covers, long battery life, and Cupertino’s focused marketing the iOS tablets continue to perform strongly.

Yes, there is a pent-up demand for a new MacBook Pro, but it’s noticeable that the internal hardware design of the MacBook Pro, last year’s MacBook, and the venerable MacBook Air owe more to the fixed-specifications single-board sealed designs of the iPad than the user-accessible modular approach taken by older designs such as the superstar MD101LL/A non-retina MacBook Pro from 2012. These are no longer computers designed to be updated and maintained by a user, but as machines designed to be disposable and require replacement within two or three years.

The trick for Apple is to keep the die-hard user-base of the MacBook Pro on-side while transitioning as many as possible to the more profitable iPad and iPad Pro machines. Could touch be added to macos and Apple’s laptops? Yes. Would it be useful? Given my experiences with Windows 10 my answer is yes. But it would mean that one of the biggest points of differentiation between the iPad Pros and MacBook Pros would be diluted, hampering the transition efforts.

Apple Inc. iPad Pro 9.7 inch, center, is displayed at the company’s Omotesando store (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

This is not as drastic as Steve Jobs killing the iPod Mini at the height of its retail power. There will always be a small core of users that actually need a high-end portable macos devices and an iPad Pro is not a functional 1 to 1 replacement. Yet Apple has already decided what happens now that it rules the laptop space.

It’s going to let it slowly slide into a niche product line for a handful of power users as it moves the public towards the walled-garden flexibility of iOS and the iPad.

Source:  forbes.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

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