All About Apps Phoning Home. And Firewalls

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macOS Sierra firewall and Stealth mode protect your Mac from local network hackers

The Eclectic Light Company writes:

A few years ago, most Mac users had firewalls in their routers which blocked all incoming connections, and that was all they wanted. Over those years, we’ve increasingly installed software firewalls on our Macs to block outgoing connections. This article looks at some of the issues that arise from doing that.

The rules of the game keep changing, and this article brings us up-to-date.

What to Know About RTF vs. RTFD Files on a Mac

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The Eclectic Light Company writes:

Macs and iOS devices have the benefit of not one variety of Rich Text documents, but two: RTF and RTFD. This article explores some of their features and limitations, and considers the problems of working with them alongside one another.

This is a very readable and helpful article that explains the nature of RTFD files and their history going back to the origins with NeXT Corp.

News+: How to Stay Safe and Secure Online

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In the latest issue of Mac Format magazine, Adam Banks writes a guide on how to stay safe online. This is a PDF version and on page 66.

Using a Mac makes you safer than average when going online. That’s partly because of Apple’s efforts to secure the operating system; partly because the Mac App Store gives you somewhere to get most of your third-party software safely. It’s also partly because bad actors – in the security industry sense, not the Hollyoaks sense – tend to be less interested in targeting macOS. But that doesn’t mean either you or your Mac can’t get fooled. Know your way around the common risks and basic protections to keep yourself out of harm’s way.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.

Bypassing macOS Security With Synthetic Clicks

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Security researcher Patrick Wardle found he can bypass macOS security by using synthetic clicks built with AppleScript.

Typically apps are signed with a digital certificate to prove that the app is genuine and hasn’t been tampered with. If the app has been modified to include malware, the certificate usually flags an error and the operating system won’t run the app. But a bug in Apple’s code meant that that macOS was only checking if a certificate exists and wasn’t properly verifying the authenticity of the whitelisted app.

Mr. Wardle refers to this as a “second stage” attack, because the hacker or malware needs access to your Mac to exploit this bug.

EVE Online Makes it Easier for Mac Gamers Running Wine

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EVE Online is an MMO where gamers can build and pilot spaceships and explore the universe. Today the company will start using direct upstream Wine versions for its Mac client.

On rollout, Mac users will no longer need to run a wrapper to execute a 32-bit client on their native 64-bit operating systems, which will allow the EVE client to make better use of system resources and resolve a number of long standing issues that pilots who are playing on Mac experience.

Using upstream Wine will also improve the speed at which updates will reach our pilots who’re playing on Mac, with a multitude of Mac compatibility improvements becoming available to all Mac users with this single release.

 

Will Marzipan Apps Be Locked to the Mac App Store?

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Dave Mark brought up a good question regarding Jason Snell’s article, which is about how the Mac won’t be locked down like iOS with the introduction of Marzipan apps.

Will I be able to download a Marzipan app from a developer’s site and just run it on my Mac? Or will Marzipan restrict apps to the Mac App Store?

I have a feeling they will be restricted to the MAS. If Mark Gurman is right, Apple plans to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps into a single download. After that, the two App Stores could be merged. Locking Marzipan apps would be the logical first step down that road.

Bloomberg WWDC Leak Highlights: Updated Maps, Health, Apple Watch Audio Books, Reminders, More

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The Apple Crystal Ball

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman got the goods on Apple’s WWDC software plans. Highlights include several improvements to Maps that I’m looking forward to. Apple is also improving the Health app, Reminders, adding audio book support to Apple Watch, a standalone app for the Apple Watch App Store on the watch itself, new Watch complications and faces, improved share sheet in iOS, combined Find my Friends and Find My iPhone, improved iMessage, an updated Books app with a reward system, and much more. There’s a ton of information in this piece, and it’s a good read.