Russia-backed malware can now target Macs

The state-backed Russian group accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee appears to be expanding its repertoire. Bitdefender Labs researchers have obtained a sample of a Mac-native variant of Xagent, the backdoor malware linked to Russia's…

Sophisticated ‘Xagent’ Malware for Stealing Passwords and iPhone Backups Now Targets Mac Users

A new version of Xagent, malware reportedly created by Russian hacking group APT28, has been discovered, and this version targets Mac users.

As outlined in a blog post by antivirus company Bitdefender (via Ars Technica), Xagent has previously been used to infiltrate Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux devices, but now Macs are vulnerable to attack as well. This is the first version of Xagent that’s believed to be able to infiltrate Macs.



The Mac version of Xagent is described as a backdoor that can be customized to do things like log passwords, detect system configurations, execute files, take screenshots of the display, and access iOS backups stored on the Mac.

The sample we are discussing today has been linked to the Mac OSX version of Xagent component from Sofacy/APT28/Sednit APT. This modular backdoor with advanced cyber-espionage capabilities is most likely planted on the system via the Komplex downloader.

Once successfully installed, the backdoor checks if a debugger is attached to the process. If it detects one, it terminates itself to prevent execution. Otherwise, it waits for an Internet connection before initiating communication with the C&C servers.

After the communication has been established, the payload starts the modules. Our preliminary analysis shows most of the C&C URLs impersonate Apple domains.

APT28 is the cyberespionage group that has been accused of hacking into the U.S. Democratic National Committee last year and interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

Bitdefender isn’t entirely sure how the Mac version of Xagent is being distributed to users, but it could be spread via a macOS malware downloader called Komplex, which exploits a vulnerability in the virus-like MacKeeper software. Research on the malware is ongoing.

Mac users concerned about Xagent should avoid downloading anything that doesn’t come from the Mac App Store or a well-known developer.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Apple Named as Contributing Sponsor for Information and Security Conference ‘BSides’

Apple has been listed as a contributing sponsor for the non-profit information/security conference BSides that’s currently taking place in San Francisco. Apple joins a long list of sponsors including Google, Dropbox, Netflix, Fitbit, and more.

According to the conference’s sponsor page, Apple is also listed as a food sponsor for BSides, and provided breakfast and lunch meals to everyone yesterday. The company’s involvement beyond that, if any, hasn’t been mentioned.



BSides officially began yesterday and ends today, February 13. The conference is described as an “open forum for discussion and debate for security engineers and their affiliates.”

BSides SF is a non-profit organization designed to advance the body of Information Security knowledge, by providing an annual, two day, open forum for discussion and debate for security engineers and their affiliates. We produce a conference that is a source of education, collaboration, and continued conversation for information technologists and those associated with this field.

The technical and academic presentations at BSides SF are given in the spirit of peer review and advanced knowledge dissemination. This allows the field of Information Security to grow in breadth and depth, and continue in its pursuit of highly advanced scientifically based knowledge.

More information about the BSides conference, and the rest of today’s schedule of events, can be found on the company’s website.
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Windows 10 is getting a picture-in-picture mode

Microsoft just made it easier to use multiple applications at once on Windows 10, especially when dealing with video-focused programs. The company released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15031 to developers today, and the main attraction is the int…

Tim Cook Visits ‘Kitchen Stories’ Developers and Furniture Maker Dula on German Trip

Following a trip to France, Tim Cook today toured Germany, where he made a number of stops to visit furniture maker Dula, the developers behind the Kitchen Stories app, and the team at Refinery29.

Cook has been documenting his trip on Twitter, sharing a number of photos at each site. Before leaving France, he made one last stop to visit the Marché Saint-Germain Apple Store, where he met with staff, iOS developers, and Apple customers. It was his second visit to an Apple Store following a stop in Marseille earlier this week.



He then headed to Vreden, Germany, where he met with Dula. Dula is a furniture manufacturer that works with Apple to create some of the furniture and hardware used in Apple’s retail stores.



Cook took a tour of the factory and then headed to Berlin to meet with the developers behind the Kitchen Stories app. Created by two women in 2014, Kitchen Stories is a recipe app that walks users through each step using photos and videos.

During his time at Kitchen Stories, Cook also met with Refinery29 for an exclusive interview where he talked about women in the workplace, diversity, wage gaps, and more.



Cook was specifically questioned about the German start up scene, where just 13.9 percent of lead roles are held by women. According to Cook, improving that rate hinges on a work environment that “encourages and motivates women to participate.” He went on to say that it’s a problem that needs to be tackled early in life, in schools, with young women encouraged to enter the STEM field.

Pay equality was also a subject, and Cook explained that Apple pays all employees equally regardless of gender, something all companies should do.

You know, we’re probably an outsider, but we pay well and we pay 100% the same. We make a long-term evaluation every year, in order to maintain that. And if we only notice once that someone earns only 99.8% of the salary of another, then we do everything we can to make up for it. I think every company should try to do it. It’s just not right and not fair that women still earn so much less than men.

Cook’s full comments can be read over at Refinery29, but the original interview is in German and will need to be translated.

Following his short trip to Germany, Cook will head to Scotland on Wednesday where he will accept an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Apple Shares New ‘One Night’ Ad Showcasing iPhone 7’s Camera Performance in Low Light

As part of its newest “Shot on iPhone” advertising campaign, Apple today uploaded a video entitled “One Night” to its YouTube channel. The spot features videos and images captured by the iPhone 7 on the same night around the world.



The images come from 16 photographers across 15 cities on six continents and were all taken on November 5, 2016. Apple is using the photographs and videos as part of a “One Night” print and billboard campaign that debuted last week.

According to Apple, the “One Night” campaign is designed to showcase the low light photography capabilities of the iPhone 7, featuring the everything from clubs in Johannesburg, South Africa to rooftops in Shanghai, China to ice caves in Iceland.

Some of the photographers tackled extreme climates in search of the perfect shot. Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu ventured to Java, Indonesia to photograph the 130 active volcanoes, using an iPhone 7 attached to a drone to capture breathtaking views of Gunung Karang’s lava flow after dark. Ruairidh McGlynn traveled to Iceland to photograph the foreboding terrain of the Arctic, traveling overnight by dog sled.

Apple is displaying the “One Night” photographs in 25 countries around the world. The company’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus feature optical image stabilization, an f/1.8 aperture, and an improved six element lens for better performance in poor lighting conditions than ever before.
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Apple Releases $200 Pro Apps Bundle for Education Customers

Apple today introduced a Pro Apps Bundle for Education that includes Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4, and MainStage 3 for $199.99. The software bundle is available for teachers, faculty, staff, and students at universities, colleges, and K-12 schools in the United States, as reported by The Loop.



The total cost of Final Cut Pro X ($299.99), Logic Pro X ($199.99), Motion 5 ($49.99), Compressor 4 ($49.99), and MainStage 3 ($29.99) is usually $629.95, so the bundle offers educational customers over $400 in savings. The bundle must be purchased through the Apple Store for Education.

After purchasing the bundle, education customers will receive an email with codes to redeem the apps on the Mac App Store. Apple says codes are usually delivered within one business day, but may occasionally take longer.

Final Cut Pro X is Apple’s professional video editing software, while Logic Pro X is its professional audio workstation for advanced music production. Motion 5, Compressor 4, and MainStage 3 are companion tools for creating 3D animations and effects, customizing output settings, building set lists, and more.
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Apple’s ‘polarizing’ new products are paying off

Throughout much of 2016, it seemed like lots of Apple fans were unhappy. The year brought few updates to the Mac (and the one big change was quite polarizing), a barely redesigned iPhone with no headphone jack, AirPods that shipped two months late an…