Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.7.4 To Fix Security Bugs

Mac OS X 10.7.4 Update Image From Vinh Nguyen's MacBook Pro

Mac OS X 10.7.4 Update Image From Vinh Nguyen’s MacBook Pro

Last couple days, people have been reported that there has been a bug in Mac OS X 10.7.3’s system-wide debug log file, consequently allowing anyone or any malicious program that knows where to look and have access to a Mac OS X 10.7.3 machine to steal users’ passwords.  It appears that the passwords are saved in plain text in Mac OS X 10.7.3 as the bug prevents the system from encrypting the passwords.  As people are panicking and wondering when will this bug be patched by Apple, Apple has quickly released Mac OS X 10.7.4 to address this password security bug.

Furthermore, this new update to Mac OS X 10.7.4 will also address other security bugs within Safari web browser.  Of course there are few other enhancements to other features too by updating to Mac OS X 10.7.4, but you can easily whisk over to Cnet’s Apple releases Safari 5.1.7, Snow Leopard updates, and more article for an in-depth look into Mac OS X 10.7.4 update.  So, don’t you hesitate to update your Mac to OS X 10.7.4, because your Mac will be more secure than before with the newer update.  To update your Mac to Mac OS X 10.7.4, just use the Software Update feature within Mac.  You can find Software Update feature if you left click on the Apple logo at the top left corner of the monitor/screen.


Free Up Some Hard Drive (Or SSD) Space For Your Mac By Having Spotify Stores Offline Playlists On A NAS Volume

Vinh Nguyen's Spotify Offline Playlist Poppings

Vinh Nguyen’s Spotify Offline Playlist Poppings

Did you know that you can configure Spotify to save all offline playlists on a network attached storage volume?  In my case, I used FreeNAS to create a ZFS dataset volume; turning ZFS dataset volume into AFP share which had allowed Spotify on Mac OS X to save the offline playlists onto this very volume.  This way, I can free up some storage space on my MacBook Pro’s hard drive for other things.  I can also see this idea might be useful for Mac users who happen to save Spotify offline playlists on a small SSD (Solid State Drive), because Mac users can free up a lot of storage space for their small SSD by saving Spotify offline playlists on a network attached storage volume.

Configuring Spotify on Mac OS X to save offline playlists onto NAS is easy.  Just open up Spotify, go to Spotify > Preferences, scroll down till you see where it says Cache, click on Browse button to locate your NAS’s volume, and that is all.  Here is the example of my NAS (FreeNAS) volume’s path on MacBook Pro, [/Volumes/AppleShareVolume/Spotify-offline-playlists].  A Mac need to be connected (i.e., authenticated and logged in) to a NAS first before Spotify can successfully locate a NAS volume.

Mac users who are on the road a lot and need to play Spotify offline playlists on their NAS volume, they can basically configure their router to do a port forwarding of port 548 (AFP port) for the NAS server’s local IP address.  Furthermore, to securely authenticate with NAS server, Mac users can use VPN to connect to their NAS server.  If Mac users don’t know how to set up a VPN server, they can easily use either TunnelBear or Private Tunnel VPN service.  Both TunnelBear and Private Tunnel support Mac OS X and allow Mac users to quickly connect to a VPN server so the public network connection such as a coffee shop’s WiFi connection can be encrypted.

I almost forget to tell you this!  Mac users need to make sure the home Internet connection has a decent upload speed.  Without a decent upload speed, the home network will not be able to transfer the data from NAS to Spotify app fast enough, therefore defeating the purpose of having Spotify offline playlists to be saved onto a NAS.  After all, what is the point of saving Spotify offline playlists onto a NAS if the home network is too slow in delivering the playback for the Spotify offline playlists, right?  Of course, Mac users can always rent a premium server that stays awake 24/7 and turn it into a NAS server, but this solution is overkilled and too expensive for home using purpose.  Obviously, even a NAS server is overkilled for home using purpose, but FreeNAS is Free and it can be installed onto any cheaply built computer that has adequate RAM and storage space.  Besides using NAS to store Spotify offline playlists, Mac users can go as far as to save iTunes music, movies, PDF files, and so much more onto a NAS too.

Amazon Cloud Drive App Won’t Work On Mac OS X If Mac Users Have Disabled Java, Also Supports Windows

So, I notice Amazon has just launched Amazon Cloud Drive Desktop app so Amazon users will be able to upload their digital files to Amazon Cloud Drive through their computers without the need of opening up a web browser.  Usually, Amazon users have to visit Amazon Cloud Drive’s web destination before they can upload their digital files.  Unfortunately, I’m unable to test out Amazon Cloud Drive Desktop app on Mac OS X since it utilizes Java.  OK, not because Mac OS X cannot use Java, but it’s that I had disabled Java on Mac OS X for security reason.  Mac OS X has been targeted by Trojans, malicious programs that design to steal and capture sensitive information (and installing backdoor programs onto) from users’ computers, and these Trojans exploit Mac OS X through Java enabled applications.  One good example would be the Flashback Trojan.  Anyhow, users can also install Amazon Cloud Drive Desktop app on Windows.


What About Free Avast For Mac?

Image of free Avast antivirus for Mac

Image of free Avast antivirus for Mac

According to PCWorld’s Avast Offers Free Security for Mac OS X article, Avast is now offering free antivirus for Mac users.  Me personally (obviously using incorrect grammar here for fun) would not need Avast since I had Norton Internet Security installed on my MacBook Pro, but I was curious about free Avast antivirus for Mac and so I had downloaded and installed it onto my MacBook Pro anyway.  Usually, it is not a good idea to run two security solutions together, whether that be antivirus solutions or not (and definitely you cannot run two firewall solutions on the same machine as firewall rules will conflict each other), but sometimes some antivirus (and other security solutions) do play nice with each other.  I think free Avast antivirus for Mac might be the one, because I haven’t seen Avast has yet threw a tantrum against Norton Internet Security.  I once had installed another security solution on Mac which now I forgot what it was, but I still remembered it had stopped Norton Internet Security’s Automatic Protection Virus Protection from working.

Anyhow, installing free Avast antivirus for Mac is easy enough.  Just like installing any other application onto Mac, you just have to double click on the download file of free Avast antivirus for Mac so the package can be extracted, drag the free Avast antivirus application within the extracted package to the application folder, and that’s it for installing free Avast antivirus for Mac.  After installing it, I went ahead and registered an account with Avast so my free Avast antivirus for Mac would not show up as expiring in 30 days if I clicked on Registration link under Maintenance portion within free Avast antivirus for Mac’s left panel.  Afterward, I went to free Avast antivirus for Mac’s Preferences to further configure free Avast antivirus for Mac to my liking.  Finally, I used free Avast antivirus for Mac to scan my whole Mac.

For now, I can’t really comment how good free Avast antivirus for Mac is, because I’m still playing with it.  Plus, I’m not sure how long free Avast antivirus for Mac would play nice with Norton Internet Security’s antivirus.  Nonetheless, I’ll play with free Avast antivirus for Mac for some time to come.  When I do have enough experience with free Avast antivirus for Mac, I intend to make a short video to review this particular antivirus solution for Mac.

My two cents to you is that if you are worrying about how hackers have increased their attacks against Mac ecosystem (i.e., writing malware and trojan horses for Mac OS X), then you should give free Avast antivirus for Mac solution a try.  Of course, if you’re going to be like me, installing two antivirus solutions on a Mac, then you’ll never know something strange might occur.  I suggest you not to go ahead and install two antivirus solutions on a single machine (e.g., Mac, PC), because it’s a recipe for resource hogging (i.e., your system might slow down tremendously since both antivirus or security solutions are fighting for the same resources).


Apple Rolls Out New Update Patch, Combating Mac Flashback Trojan’s Java Exploit

Apple Inc.

Apparently Apple has just rolled out a new Java security patch which addresses the Mac Flashback Trojan’s Java exploit, because I has just updated my MacBook Pro with this patch through Software Update.  This is one quick patch that Apple has rolled out, and Mac users definitely are going to be safer than before in regarding to using Java on Mac OS X.  Still, you never know that sometimes in the near future another trojan might be able to find another exploit through Java, therefore the security philosophy that I have came to practice religiously is to deactivate what you don’t need — only activate the things you need and activate the things you don’t need at the time of having such needs.  Cnet has a nice article (How to check for and disable Java in OS X) which explains to you how to deactivate Java in Mac OS X.  One of the tips from this article stands out is how it mentioned of Java Preferences utility.  Through Java Preferences utility, you can basically disable Java from running on your Mac system.  So, even with the new patch is ready for you to download and update so Mac Flashback Trojan won’t be able to invade your Mac system, I still think you need to deactivate Java from Java Preferences utility.  Only reactivate Java from Java Preferences utility when you really have to use Java (i.e., an application that must have Java runtime environment activated in order for the application itself to be functioning)!  Check the screenshots below to see how you can find Java Preferences utility!  The screenshots below will also show you how to disable Java through Java Preferences utility!