Thursday, 30 November 2017

Serious macOS vulnerability exposes the root user

Update: 9:29 am PT: Apple has now released a fix for the bug described here. That fix is part of Security Update 2017-001, which is available from the Mac App Store, in the Updates tab, with the label “Install this update as soon as possible.” (Somewhat confusingly, there have already been previous Security Update 2017-001 releases, for unrelated issues, for Sierra, El Capitan and Yosemite.) This update should be installed as soon as possible, and does not require a restart.
On Tuesday afternoon, a tweet about a vulnerability in macOS High Sierra set off a firestorm of commentary throughout the Twitterverse and elsewhere.
It turns out that the issue in question works with any authentication dialog in High Sierra. For example, in any pane in System Preferences, click the padlock icon to unlock it and an authentication dialog will appear. Similarly, if you try to move a file into a folder you don’t have access to, you’ll be asked to authenticate:
Enter “root” as the username, and leave the password field blank. Try this a few times, and it may work on the first try, but more likely you’ll have to try two or a few more times.
When the authentication window disappears, whatever action you were attempting will be done, without any password required.
Let’s take a step back for just a moment and consider what this means. On a Unix system, such as macOS, there is one user to rule them all. (One user to find them. One user to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. /end obligatory nerdy Lord of the Rings reference>)
That user is the “root” user. The root user is given the power to change anything on the system. There are some exceptions to that on recent versions of macOS, but even so, the root user is the single most powerful user with more control over the system than any other.
Being able to authenticate as the root user without a password is serious, but unfortunately, the problem gets worse. After this has bug has been triggered, it turns out you can do anything as root on the first try, without a password.
The root user, which has no password by default, is normally disabled. While the root user is disabled, it should not be possible for anyone to log in as root. This is how macOS has worked since day one, and it has never been an issue before, but this vulnerability causes the root user to become enabled… with no password.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

4 ways to speed up Safari on your iPhone

Has browsing the Web become an exercise in frustration with Safari on your iPhone? The first suspect to consider in this crime most foul is your Wi-Fi network itself, but if other devices are humming along at a reasonable clip and it's just a single iOS device whose Safari is acting sluggish and slow, there are a few things you can try to speed it back up.

Close tabs

It's easy to run up the count of open tabs in Safari. As a lifelong fan of Ohio State football, I get a daily email newsletter about the team, and each time I tap on a story, it opens as a new tab in Safari. Do I then close each tab after I'm done reading about my Buckeyes? Of course not. When Safari feels a step slow, I close all of the open tabs I have sitting there in Safari by long-pressing the Tab button in the lower-right corner and then tapping Close All [insert number here] Tabs. (You can also tap the Tabs button and long-press Done to get to the same option.)





Clear history, cookies and data

This move may speed up Safari but will also make the browser a bit more of a pain to use at the outset because it won't suggest a URL as you type until you visit a site again. Go to Settings > Safari and tap Clear History and Website Data to clear your browsing history and data along with any cookies. Your bookmarks will remain, and Safari will remember your AutoFill information for forms.




Disable background processes

It may be that Safari itself isn't to blame but a couple of background processes that are syphoning off valuable system resources. If your iPhone is downloading updates and refreshing apps in the background while you are browsing, then your performance might suffer.
To disable automatic downloads, go to Settings > iTunes & App Stores and turn off automatic downloads for Music, Apps, Book & Audiobook and Updates.

To disable background app refresh, head to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and turn it off. Or, if you have a firm suspicions of the app or apps that are refreshing in the background a bit too much to your liking, you can disable the feature for individual apps from the list below.

Reset network settings

When all else fails, you can try resetting your network connection. You'll need to reconnect to any of your Wi-Fi networks, but it might fix what ails Safari. Go to Settings > General and scroll down to the bottom and tap Reset. On the Reset page, tap Reset Network Settings.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Touchscreen trouble? It could be zombie finger Here's why capacitive screens don't respond to every touch...



Some smartphone and tablet users are afflicted with a malady. No matter how hard they press on the display, they just can’t seem to get the device to acknowledge their touch. These people may have the same problem with laptop touchpads. In layman’s terms, they suffer from zombie finger.
“The capacitive touch sensor is—to most people—this kind of magical thing,” says Andrew Hsu, Ph.D., a pioneer in touchscreen tech at Synaptics, a major supplier of the technology to electronics manufacturers. “In an ideal situation, you barely touch the surface of the screen and the sensor is able to detect the presence of your finger.” In some cases, however, that finger confounds the technology.
“It’s a problem we’ve been wrestling with for 20 years now,” says Hsu. “It’s a very delicate balance. We spend a lot of time essentially trying to determine whether a user has touched the surface or not.”
To understand why one finger gets noticed while another is ignored, you need to know how a capacitive touchscreen works. Unlike the resistive screens, which rely on mechanical pressure to register each touch, a smartphone or laptop touchpad generates a small electric field. In fact, you don’t even have to make contact with the touchpad for the sensor to detect your finger. Because the human body conducts electricity, a fingertip in close proximity to the glass will absorb the electrical charge and create a measurable disturbance in the field, alerting a grid of electrodes on the screen and enabling the phone to register the command.
To satisfy consumers, capacitive touchscreens must be nimble enough to recognize the dainty finger of a toddler, the bony digit of a an elderly person, and the meaty stab of a sumo wrester. What’s more, software algorithms need to filter out the “noise” generated by grease and grime on the glass, not to mention the overlapping electrical fields generated by fluorescent lights, poorly designed charging stations, even other components inside the device. “It’s one of the reasons why the mobile phone has more processing power than the computers used to send a man to the moon,” says Hsu.
All things considered, capacitive touchscreens offer clear advantages for cell phones and tablets. They stand up well to the wear-and-tear of constant use, they don’t detract from picture quality, and they permit multitouch gestures. And for the record: Despite what you might have heard, they perform fine whether you’ve got a hot or cold hand.
In the end, though, capacitive touchscreens are not foolproof. Living, breathing people with thick callouses on their fingers—think guitar players or carpenters—struggle with these touchscreens because the dead skin on their fingertips prevents the flow of electricity. People wearing gloves tend to experience trouble. People with very dry hands, too. “I’ve also heard of women with really long fingernails having problems,” says Daniel Tower, an engineer at Wacom, which makes drawing tablets and styluses. Basically, anything that limits your hand’s conductivity is a potential pitfall.
So what should you do if you have zombie fingers? You might try licking your fingertip or, better yet, applying a water-based moisturizer to your hands. And, if you can’t bear to give up playing electric guitar or having designer nails, think about using a touchscreen stylus to funnel the electricity into your mitts.
Don’t have one handy? People in South Korea have discovered that a pork link will do the job. “There’s moisture in that sausage,” says Hsu. “So long as your body is in contact with it, it has enough conductivity to affect the electric field.”
Of course, the Slim Jim approach presents other challenges. “That only works if you’re not hungry,” says Tower’s Wacom colleague Doug Little. 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

How To Change Apple ID To Have @iCloud or @Me Address



If your Apple ID has a third-party email address, then you can now change it to add one of Apple’s domains on it. So instead of having @gmail or @yahoo based Apple ID, you can change it to have @icloud.com, @me.com or @mac.com. Changing your Apple ID to an Apple domain will make it easier for you to remember it, and frankly it just looks better.
Before you start changing your Apple ID with third-party email to an Apple email address, make sure you sign out of all devices. So if you are using this particular Apple ID on your iOS devices or are logged into iCloud web app, then it is a good idea to sign out first. You can remain signed in on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch that you are using to change the Apple ID’s address.

Using your computer

You can use your computer or any device with a web browser to change the address of your Apple ID.
  1. Open appleid.apple.com and log into your account.
  2. Under the Account section click on ‘Edit’ option.
  3. Enter the Apple ID that you want to use and click on ‘Continue’ and confirm.

Change Apple ID address on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

If you are on an iOS device, then you can change your Apple ID address by following the steps below.
  1. Open Settings > Your Name > Name, Phone Numbers, Email.
  2. Now tap on the ‘Edit’ button found next to the ‘Reachable At’ option.
  3. Delete your Apple ID and tap on ‘Continue’ option.
  4. Now enter the Apple ID you want to use and tap on ‘Next’.
Do note that once you change your Apple ID from a third-party email address to an Apple one, you cannot go back to a non-Apple address. This process is permanent.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

SSL Certificate ...avoid scaring customers away this Halloween! 👻

On October 27th, a new version of Google Chrome will be released that will prominently label any site without an SSL Certificate as “non-secure” in the browser bar.





You will be affected by this change if your website contains input fields, asks for passwords or any other sensitive data, or is visited in incognito mode.

That means it’s now more important than ever to get your hands on an SSL Certificate and secure your website if you want to.

Transfer you domain(s) and hosting to The Computer Wiz and we'll treat you to 20% off shared SSL for the first 12 months. 
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Monday, 16 October 2017

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Monday, 25 September 2017

How to Download and Install Apple macOS High Sierra



Apple's macOS High Sierra is being released today, and that means users need to be prepared.Apple will release High Sierra to Mac notebooks and desktops. The operating system, which was unveiled at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), comes with only minor design enhancements, but offer a host of under-the-hood upgrades.Apple has been testing macOS High Sierra over the last several months with beta users, and overall, their reviews of the operating system have been quite good.

Is Your Mac Compatible?


Any Mac released in mid-2010 or later is compatible with macOS High Sierra. You can also download the operating system on to MacBooks and iMacs that were introduced in late 2009.

Prepare Your Mac


There isn't much you really need to do to get High Sierra. But if you want the best experience, it's always worth considering backing up your computer, removing all unnecessary features that slow it down, and then downloading the operating system.

One of the easiest ways to do that is by using the Time Machine feature built into macOS.From your toolbar at the top of your screen, click on the Time Machine icon and choose its Preferences. From there, you can turn on Time Machine, choose where to back up your Mac, and decide which files should be backed up. Now that your machine is backed up, you can move forward with the High Sierra download.