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, or 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 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. 
Offer price for first year £57.10 *followed by usual price of £71.38 thereafter terms apply.

Contact us by 31st October 2017 to qualify for this offer. Call 01553 660941 or email

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.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

iOS 11 has landed! Here's what you need to know...

Introduction and initial release

iOS 11 was introduced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address on June 5, 2017.[5][6][7] The first developer beta version was released after the keynote presentation,[8] with the first public beta released in late June,[9] and a final version released for end-users with supported devices on September 19, 2017.[3] Some countries received the update a day later, on September 20, 2017.[4]

System features

Lock screen

The lock screen and Notification Center are combined, allowing users to see all notifications directly on the lock screen. Scrolling up and down will either show or hide notifications.

Control Center

The default Control Center of iOS 11 on an iPhone 7 Plus
The Control Center redesign unifies its pages and allows users to 3D Touch (or long press on devices without 3D Touch)[12] buttons for more options. Sliders adjust volume and brightness.[13] The Control Center is customizable via the Settings app, and allows more settings to be shown,[14][12] including cellular service, Low Power Mode, and a shortcut to the Notes app.[15]


Typing to Siri on iOS 11 on an iPhone 7 Plus
The Siri intelligent personal assistant has a more natural voice and support language translation, with English, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish available at launch. It will also support follow-up questions by users.[16] Users will also be able to type to Siri.[17]
Siri will be able to use "on-device learning", a privacy-minded local learning technique to understand a user's behavior and interests inside different apps, to offer better suggestions and recommendations.[5]


A new "Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode lets users block unnecessary notifications as long as their iPhone is connected to a vehicle through Bluetooth. An auto-reply feature sends a specific reply to senders of messages to let them know the user is currently unavailable through text. Passengers can be granted full notification access to the phone.[18][19]
A new "Smart Invert" feature, dubbed a "dark mode" by some publications, inverts the colors on the display, except for images, some apps, and some user interface elements.[20][21]
Users get expanded control over apps' location usage, with every app featuring a "While Using the App" location toggle in Settings. This differs from previous iOS versions, in which apps were only required to have "Never" or "Always" location options.[22][23]
Users can remove rarely-used apps without losing the app's data using the "Offload App" button. This allows for a later reinstallation of the app (if available on the App Store), in which data returns and usage can continue.[24] Users can also have those apps removed automatically with the "Offload Unused Apps" setting.[25] When an app is offloaded, the app appears on the home screen as a grayed-out icon.[26]

Storage settings of iOS 11 on an iPhone 6S Plus, showing personalized recommendations
Personalized suggestions will help the user free up storage space on their device, including emptying Photos trash, backing up messages, and enabling iCloud Photo Library for backing up photos and videos.[27][28]


Multitasking interface of iOS 11 on a 9.7-inch iPad Pro
iOS 11 introduces several exclusive software features for iPad. The application dock gets an overhaul, bringing it closer to the design seen on macOS, and is accessible from any screen, letting users more easily open apps in split-screen view.[29][30] Users can also drag-and-drop files across different apps.[29][30][31] A new multitasking interface shows multiple apps on the screen at the same time in floating "windows".[29][30] Additionally, through a combination of "slide over", "split view", and "picture-in-picture" modes, users can have up to four active apps on-screen at the same time.[32]
Each letter on the iPad keyboard features an alternative background number or symbol, accessible by pulling down on the respective key and releasing.[14]
The Control Center is visible in the multitasking window on iPads.[33]
Running iOS 11, the 9.7 inch, 10.5 inch and the 2nd Gen 12.9-inch iPad Pros now have flashlight support.[6]


iOS 11 introduces optical image stabilization, flash photography and high dynamic range for portrait photos.[5]
Live Photos receives new "Loop", "Bounce" and "Long Exposure" effects,[34] and uses High Efficiency Image File Format to decrease photo sizes.[5]
Videos will be encoded in the new High Efficiency Video Coding video compression format, enabling improved quality while also decreasing size by half.[35][36]

Other changes

The default system keyboard, in one-handed mode, of iOS 11 on an iPhone 7 Plus
iOS 11 will introduce native support for QR code scanning, through the Camera app.[17] Once a QR code is positioned in front of the camera, a notification is created offering suggestions for actions based on the scanned content. Twitter users have so far discovered that joining Wi-Fi networks and adding someone to the contacts list are supported through QR codes.[37]
Third-party keyboards can add a one-handed mode.[17]
Users will be able to record the screen natively.[17] In order to record the screen, users must first add the feature to the Control Center through the Settings app. Once added, users can start and stop recordings from a dedicated Control Center icon, with a red bar appearing at the top of the screen indicating active recording. Pressing the red bar gives the option to end recording, and videos are saved to the Photos app.[38][39]
When an iOS 11 device is attempting to connect to a Wi-Fi network, nearby iOS 11[40] or macOS High Sierra devices already connected can wirelessly send the password, streamlining the connection process.[41]
The volume change overlay no longer covers the screen while playing video, and a smaller scrubber appears on the top right of the screen.[42]
After a user takes a screenshot, a thumbnail of the screenshot will appear at the bottom left of the screen. The user can then tap the thumbnail to bring up an interface that allows them to crop, annotate, or delete the screenshot.[43]
Third-party apps can now take advantage of iCloud Keychain to allow autofilling passwords.[44]
The user's flight information can be viewed in Spotlight through a dedicated widget.[17]
iOS 11 switches the top-left cellular network strength icons from five dots to four signal bars, similar to that before iOS 7.[45]
A new "Automatic Setup" feature aims to simplify the first-time setup of new devices, with wireless transfer between the old and new device, transferring preferences, Apple ID and Wi-Fi info, preferred Settings, and iCloud Keychain passwords.[46][47]
Similar to iPad, drag-and-drop file support will be available on iPhone, though with more limitations, specifically only supported within apps, not between.[48][49]
Settings, Camera, MapsiTunes StoreApp StoreClock, Contacts, Notes and Reminders, all get new, redesigned icons.[50][51]
An "Emergency SOS" feature has been added that disables Touch ID after pressing the Sleep/Wake button five times in quick succession. It prevents Touch ID from working until the iPhone's passcode has been entered.[52]

App features


Where there is empty space in the Mail app, users can draw inline.[53]


The Messages application synchronizes messages across iOS and macOS through iCloud, reflecting message deletion across devices.[54] This feature was temporarily removed in the fifth beta release and will be returning in a future iOS 11 update.[55]
Users can send person-to-person payments with Apple Pay through Messages, although Apple has stated that this feature will come in a future iOS 11 update.[56][57][58][3]
A new app drawer for iMessage apps aims to simplify the experience of using apps and stickers, and an optimized storage system reduces the backup size of messages.[13]
The Messages app also incorporates a "Business Chat" feature for businesses to communicate directly with customers through the app.[59][60] This can be accessed through a message icon next to search results of businesses.[61]
The Messages app on the iPhone X introduces face-tracking emoji called "Animoji" (animated emoji), using Face ID.[62][63]

App Store

The App Store receives a complete redesign, with a greater focus on editorial content such as daily highlights, and a design described as "cleaner and more consistent" to other apps developed by Apple.[64] The app's design mimics the design seen in the Apple Music app in iOS 10.[65]


At select locations, Apple Maps will offer indoor maps for shopping malls and airports.[5][66]
New lane guidance and speed limit features aim to guide drivers on unfamiliar roads.[5]


The Photos app in iOS 11 gains support for viewing animated GIFs. Users can access GIF images inside an album titled "Animated".[67]
Memories can be viewed while the phone is in portrait orientation.[68]


The Podcasts app receives a redesign similar to the App Store, with a focus on editorial content.[17][69]


The Notes app has a built-in document scanner[29] using the device's camera, and the feature removes artifacts such as glare and perspective.[70]
An "Instant Notes" feature on the iPad Pro allows the user to start writing a note from the lock screen by putting the Apple Pencil onto the screen.[71]
The app also allows users to input inline tables.[72][43]
Where there is open space in the Notes app, the user can draw inline.[53]


The layout of the "Files" app on an iPad.
A new "Files" app lets users browse the files stored on their device, as well as those stored across various cloud services, including iCloud DriveDropboxOneDrive, and Google Drive. The app supports organization through structured sub-folders and various file-based options.[29][73][30] The "Files" app also includes a built-in player for FLAC audio files.[74][75] The Files app is available on both iPad and iPhone.[76]


The user's flight information can be found in the Safari app.[69]
The Safari app can be viewed in landscape orientation on smaller iPhones.[77]

Developer APIs

A new "ARKit" application programming interface (API) lets third-party developers build augmented reality apps, taking advantage of a device's camera, CPUGPU, and motion sensors.[78][79] The ARKit functionality is only available to users of devices with Apple A9 and later processors. According to Apple, this is because "these processors deliver breakthrough performance that enables fast scene understanding and lets you build detailed and compelling virtual content on top of real-world scenes."[80]
A new "Core ML" software framework will speed up app tasks involving artificial intelligence, such as image recognition.[81]
A new "Depth" API allows third-party camera app developers to take advantage of the iPhone 7 PlusiPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X's dual-camera "Portrait mode". This will let apps implement the same depth-sensing technology available in the default iOS Camera app, to simulate a shallow depth-of-field.[82]
A new "Core NFC" framework gives developers limited access to the near field communication (NFC) chip inside supported iPhones, opening potential use cases in which apps can scan nearby environments and give users more information.[83][84]

Removed functionality

32-bit–only apps are not supported or shown in the App Store in iOS 11, and users who attempt to open such apps receive an alert about the app's incompatibility.[85][86]
iOS 11 drops the native system integration with TwitterFacebookFlickr, and Vimeo.[87][88]
The iCloud Drive app is removed and replaced by the Files app.[89]
The ability to trigger multitasking using 3D Touch was removed.[90]

Supported devices

iOS 11 drops support for devices with a 32-bit processor: specifically the iPhone 5iPhone 5C, and the fourth-generation iPad. It is the first version of iOS to run exclusively on iOS devices with 64-bit processors.[91]
Supported devices include the iPhone 5S and up, the iPad Air and up, the iPad Mini 2 and up, plus the iPod Touch (6th generation).