Mysterious ‘Silver Sparrow’ Malware Confuses Researchers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of skull and programming code to indicate malware

Over the weekend we got news of a mysterious piece of malware called Silver Sparrow. It has infected 30,000 machines so far and there is a version of it built for M1 Macs. But security researchers can’t figure out its purpose.

Once an hour, infected Macs check a control server to see if there are any new commands the malware should run or binaries to execute. So far, however, researchers have yet to observe delivery of any payload on any of the infected 30,000 machines, leaving the malware’s ultimate goal unknown. The lack of a final payload suggests that the malware may spring into action once an unknown condition is met.

The 2021 Apple Platform Security Guide is Here

· Andrew Orr · Product News

Apple regularly shares security guides for each of its systems, and today it shared its 2021 Platform Security guide for all of its systems.

Which of the Most Popular Apps Have Native Support For Apple Silicon?

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Apple M1 SoC

Apple silicon has been available to consumers for two months now. AppleInsider has a good rundown of the state-of-play, and how many apps have native support for the M1 chip.

So to take a snapshot of how the transition from Intel to ARM is going, AppleInsider drew up a list of 100 major Mac apps. Our list does include ones that are niche but very important in their field — such as the screenwriting app Final Draft… It also includes a range of more technical utilities, plus the kind of general purpose apps that a large number of Mac users have. For each app, we contacted developers, we checked out support groups, and we listed apps as either having native M1 support or not. When an app had native support in beta, we counted that as it at least means the support is coming. Where it was not possible to prove that there was even official beta M1 support, we took that as a no. As of February 5, 2021, the list of 100 apps showed 53 that had native M1 support to at least some degree. And therefore 47 that did not.

HomePod mini, Arcade, and Waiting for M-Processor Macs, with Bob LeVitus - ACM 542

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Bryan Chaffin and Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus have both spent time with the HomePod mini, and they offer their thoughts on what it sounds like, where it’s useful, and who should consider it. They also talk about the value of Apple’s Arcade, especially now that it’s part of Apple One. They also talk about the power of Apple’s new M1 Macs, and discuss if people should buy Intel Macs at all any more.

Linux Now “Completely Usable” on Apple Silicon M1 Macs

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Apple M1 SoC

A version of Linux now works on Apple Silicon M1 chip, AppleInsider reported. Security researchers at Corellium ported the operating system, and plan to release it under an open-source license.

The Linux version is a full Ubuntu desktop operating system booted from a USB, according to Corellium Chief Technology Officer Chris Wade. Although details are scarce, he said that Linux is now “completely usable” on Apple Silicon machines. Network compatibility is possible through a USB-C dongle, and the current update to the platform will support USB, I2C, and DART. The Ubuntu operating system is one initially meant for the ARM-based Raspberry Pi, Wade added.

I've Seen the Future of Macintosh

· Bob LeVitus · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Dr. Mac intended to kick of 2021 with a “year in review” column, but it bored him and would have bored you, so instead he named Apple Silicon as the “Best Technological Achievement of 2020.”

Dr. Mac's Experience with an Apple Silicon (M1) Mac

· Bob LeVitus · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

With some trepidation, Dr. Mac bought a MacBook Pro M1 with only 8GB RAM because he didn’t want to wait a month for one with 16GB… Was eight (GB) enough?

Privacy-Focused Browser Now Has Native Support For M1 Macs

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Brave M1 Mac

Brave now offers native support for M1 Macs, 9to5Mac reported. This should help the privacy-focused browser utilize the faster speeds offered by Apple’s own silicon. That said, it is built on the Chrome engine, which often brings with it high memory usage and reduced battery performance.

The company says the latest version also has a fix for problems playing videos from a couple of key sites. “Our last desktop browser update of the year (v1.18.77) features native support for M1 Macs, a localization fix for Brave Rewards, and fixes for playing videos on HBO Max and IMDb.” Brave blocks ad trackers by default, and claims to be faster by blocking most ads too.

Battery Management, Nuking, Paving, and More — Mac Geek Gab 849

· John F. Braun & Dave Hamilton · Mac Geek Gab Podcast

Sometimes you Nuke, sometimes you Pave. Sometimes all you need to do is make a tweak. You’d think we were talking about building (and destroying) roads, but no… your two favorite geeks are talking tech! Apple tech, mostly. Listen as John and Dave answer your questions, share your tips and Cool Stuff Found, and generally help all of us learn at least five new things every week!

How Apple's M1 Chip is Leading a Revolution in the Industry

· Charlotte Henry · Cool Stuff Found

Apple M1 SoC

In the latest episode of Odd Lots, a Bloomberg News podcast on markets, finance, and economics hosts Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway discuss how Apple is blazing new ground with the M1 chip. Doug O’Loughlin, the writer of the  Mule’s Musings newsletter, offered his perspective on the tech industry.

Mozilla Supports M1 Macs With Firefox 84

· Andrew Orr · News

Firefox logo

Mozilla issued an update to Firefox on Tuesday, and the 84th version has added support for M1 Macs, along with a few new features.