Apple Corrects Mistake after Sales Drop, Reunites with EPEAT

Here is what Apple did two weeks back. The technology giant withdrew all of its 39 products from  the EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) registry last week. In plain words, Apple products including Mac, iPhone, iPad etc. were no longer considered green (eco-friendly) and safe for use and dispose after withdrawal from the EPEAT’s green registry. Let me tell you that Apple has its own recycle program under which it evaluates its products for safe use and disposal. And owing to this it must have taken this step.

But something drastic happened that Apple had not expected. After Apple made the announcement public, many of its customers were taken aback. Those who particularly did not like the decision  threatened to withdraw from its customer list. And imagine what? Apple had to take a U-turn on its decision after many of its customers threatened to stop purchasing its products. Apple definitely could not afford to stand against the sharp blow of its customers in its face. Hmm. Nevertheless Apple finally realized its mistake and joined hands again with EPEAT. Well, it’s better late than never Apple. And you were late only by a week. So cheers to all the Apple fanboys and fangirls for Apple to become green again instead of red.


Apple Takes Soft Stand on Mac’s Immunity, Changes the Famous Marketing Chant

Apple has been going through a tough time over patent issues with Samsung, Microsoft, Motorola, Google and various other big companies. If we talk about patent and intellectual property infringement issues, it seems like the entire world has come to loggerheads, with all the biggies viz. Microsoft, Google, Apple, Samsung, Motorola, AOL, HTC, and Kodak among others following the legal battle suit with one another. Facebook, the popular Social Networking service and Friendthem, a mobile phone app developer are among a few noticeable companies that might bump in to a lawsuit following the former’s Find Friends Nearby app, which the latter thinks is an imitation of its Friendthem app.

For Apple, things have been on the rocks in the recent years due to ongoing, consistent malware attacks on its Mac computers that were once known to be immune compared to Microsoft Windows’ other than the apparent patent issues as mentioned here. I guess it’s been the worst time in its years-old existence, especially after the sad demise of the honorable co-founder Steve Jobs. I would not say that Apple has not done anything significant or taken a concrete action in making Mac products secure but what really amused me is the change in its marketing message.

If we remember, Apple have always sworn about Macs being invulnerable to viruses, spyware, and malware attacks (until recently) as if Microsoft purposely designs vulnerable Windows and other Microsoft applications to feed the minority league of hackers, or the antivirus companies that develop free or commercial security suites for that matter. However considering continuous malware attacks and known vulnerabilities in last 2 years, Apple has taken a soft stand on Mac’s immunity. The company has changed its famous marketing message from ‘It doesn’t get PC viruses‘ to ‘It is built to be safe‘. Have a look at the pictures below:

Though a change in marketing message doesn’t necessarily defame Apple’s Mac but it certainly approves of  its immediate need to stop popularizing it as an immune system. I guess Apple has certainly come out of the closet by accepting the fact that its Mac can also get viruses, spyware, or malware etc. like Microsoft Window.

How to Update your Mac

It has been said and overheard that we should download and install latest updates regularly to enhance the performance and functionality of our Mac computer. Well, I would try not to share an old tell-tale here but must tell how all you Mac owners can do it. I am sure most of you people have been doing it but it’s worth sharing with those who still don’t know the right procedure. Once you are on your Mac, click on the Apple icon and choose Software Update from the drop-down options. This will open up the Software Update window, wait as it will automatically check for latest updates and show you their list. Click to choose the updates that you want to install and then hit the Install button. When prompted, enter your admin username and password to complete the installation. When done, reboot your Mac to save the changes. Hurray as we are done maximizing performance and life of our Mac!

The procedure is intended for Mac OS X 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, and Lion. The later versions of Mac OS X 10.5 are capable of running automatic software updates and inform you whenever these are available.

Apple iPhone 4S: What’s the Buzz About

Apple might not have gotten over with the sad demise of Steve Jobs, the co-founder and chairman of the company, but it has certainly tried to sustain the long-standing history of offering something new and making heads turn. Yes, you guessed it right! We are talking about Apple iPhone 4S, which made inroads on 4th October 2011.

The cult Smartphone, an upgraded version of its predecessor, has got all what it takes to become an innovative technology that lets customers organize, connect, socialize, and do much more with over 200 latest features. Well, let me tell you some of the old features have also been retained like phone’s measurement, notification center etc. Below is the list of some of the new features that users will be interested in:

Siri™ – A smart, revolutionary voice-based assistant that will help you quickly find what you are looking for. It can help you edit, send text messages, create reminders & alarms, edit notes, make and receive calls, schedule meetings, find locations, and search internet fast simply using voice commands. For example, if you are looking to find something on Google, say it and Siri™ would open Google search for you in the browser. Did you see how easy it was? It saved you from the manual work to reach Google search or anything that you wanted to look for. The intelligent app operates well on 3G connections.

Speed – it’s real fast and speedier than the previous version. Once you have used iPhone 4S, you will never ever feel like going back to iPhone 4 or any other Smartphone for that matter. The two antennas have been mounted at the top of the phone in order to provide better, faster reception for 3G connection. No more connection dropout, no slow performance, only enhanced experience and lots of features that you can expect from this phone.

Operating system – The phone integrates powerful iOS 5, the contemporary built-in operating system with over 200 features. For iPhone 4 and 3GS customers, it will be available as a gratis software upgrade that means they can do it without spending additional money.

Design – There has not been made any signification changes in the design and configuration as compared to the Apple iPhone 4. The latest version weighs 4.9 oz (slightly higher than 4.8 oz of iPhone 4) with the same height of 115.2 mm (4.5”), same width of 58.6 mm (2.31”), and same depth of 9.3 mm (0.37”). The screen display (3.5″ 640 x 960 LED backlit LCD) remains the same as of the previous version.

Albeit the configuration has been improved with Apple A5 @ ~800MHz Dual Core Cortex A9 processor (CPU), PowerVR SGX 543MP2 graphics processing units (GPU), RAM of 512MB LPDDR2-800, and built-in 64\32\16GB NAND. The battery life has also been improved slightly with 5.291Whr as compared to 5.254Whr in the previous version.

Camera – It integrates an improved 8MP (megapixel) camera with LED flash and front-facing design. This would certainly make photography easy and more comfortable. Now taking high-quality pictures in mobile phone has been made easier. It will certainly lure customers with more interest in showing off their photography skills here and there and wherever they go or whatever they do.

iCloud – The innovative feature-packed service will let you store as well as stream content smoothly on iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, PC, or Mac among other devices. Moreover, it will let you automatically update all the devices at once whenever there is a change in content on any device.  The service includes iTunes, documents, calendar entries, reminders, music, and photos among other things.

Notifications – Not a new feature though, the Notification Center will certainly make your life easy and smooth by helping you manage stuff on your phone. It will let you explore as well as reply to the latest updates from emails, calendar, reminders, Facebook, and Twitter etc. without having you to open these applications separately. Such a comfort it is that you can manage torrent of stuff with a single app that can be customized to appear sideways or in the center of the screen.

Twitter – The phone comes pre-integrated with Twitter, the famous social networking site app. All the Twitter enthusiasts will love the app as they can now enjoy updating, sharing posts, photos, videos etc. on Twitter directly from their phone.

Video – This is something to fall for. The phone has an innovative video image stabilization technique that will help produce high-quality, smooth, bright, and rich videos using the 1080p HD (high-definition) resolution. The other features include enhanced video capturing capability in dim light conditions

New Contemporary Look – The phone has been given a nice, rich white stainless steel look with a thin glass on front and the flagship Apple symbol at the back. Though not fully made over, the phone has got excellent features and applications that will hit straight at users’ mind and make them love it.

Below are the independent quotes of some of the users who have used and reviewed the latest product in their own terms. I absolutely take no responsibility if you don’t like them.

“As an owner of an iPhone 4 and having seen a 4S in action, I have to say that a 95% score is very high… The whole experience of a non-jail broken phone is way too restrictive; I can’t even imagine my phone without biteSMS, SBsettings, iFile or My3G to name a few. Also the fact that you are forced to use iTunes. Siri just seems to be a gimmick IMO, it only works in USA for people with American accents and I can’t really imagine talking to my phone at work or on the train or even at home.”

“I love this product, I honestly couldn’t live without it. But if like me you were a bit shocked with the price here’s a tip on how to get this item for basically a £5 and a little bit of work! All you need to do is going to and sign up for the gala bingo or any offer you like. It’s all been proven by BBC, CNN and Channel 5’s Gadget Show. This is how I got mine. I hope this helps someone!”

“I’m not a fan of Apple at all, but I have to agree. Why didn’t you mention the limited connectivity iPhone 4S has, the fact that its physical specifications are majorly lacking in some departments compared to other smartphones (especially RAM). The file manager on 4S and iOS5 is still crappy, and everything, as said by the person I’m quoting, is still done through iTunes. I’d give the 4S a 67 or so if I were to rate it.”

The phone has been made to available in most of the countries across the world. However, the Indian customers will have to suppress their urge for a few more days as the Smartphone would hit stores on 25th November 2011.

Protect Your Mac from Malware

Remember all the insurance advertisements that always run that famous punchline ‘Insurance is a subject matter of solicitation, please read the document carefully before investing’. Wondering what it has got to do with Mac computers? Replace insurance with security in Macs and you will come to know why I said so. Yes, Mac computers by the virtue of being excellent piece of engineering require no or lesser security than Windows-based computers. Therefore, security remains a subject matter of solicitation for Macs and not a must-have thing.

This might have been true until recently when MacDefender, the fake antivirus program aka Mac malware, broke out in Mac machines. This must have astonished the proud Mac owners who have always thought that their machine is immune to all  kinds of virus, spyware, and malware among other infections that typically target Windows computers. Though there might have been a very few instances of MacDefender’s attacks on Mac computers, it shows that these are as vulnerable to infections as the Windows computers. Now, security is a must-have thing for Mac computers also. Gone were the days when Macs used to be considered the safest computers than other OS based computers. Practice safe computing as your Mac’s security is in your hands. Kindly leave your comments to help us improve your experience.

Update Your Mac Forcibly For Malware Definitions

Is your Mac safe from malware infection? Probably yes because you never download malicious content or junk from internet or use any infected disk on your Mac. Probably not because you are a regular surfer and frequently download free songs, iTunes, and videos etc. Whichever the case may be, your Mac is not secured especially after the outbreak of MacDefender, the fake anti-virus program aka Mac malware. It is currently in its latest version known as MacShield that when installed on your machine sneak into your confidential information and pass it on to its client, the malware developer. MacShield hijacks your web browser, redirects you to fake/adult websites, or corrupt the search results for images in Google Image search engine.

The malware may also modify your Mac’s registry settings and flood your system with streams of phony warnings and scanning tools that report existence of malicious items and activities. Thinking how to avoid being a victim of such a nasty and dangerous malware? It can be done easily by updating your Mac with latest security definitions. Despite that fact that MacShield bypassed the latest Security Update from Apple just after the few hours of its release, it is necessary to update your Mac. To do so, you need to go System Preference> go to System Preferences pane, now put a check mark in the box next to Automatically update safe downloads list. Click on Ok or Yes or whatever you see on the screen to apply the changes and close the window. Your Mac is now ready to install automatic updates whenever they are available.


How to Remove MacShield

MacShield is the latest fake anti-virus program from the developers of Mac malware. The program belongs to the family of MacDefender, the earliest rouge antivirus program.aka. Mac malware. MacShield redirects Mac users to fake/adult websites that tell them that their machine is infected with a malware. The user is then offered MacDefender, the fake antivirus, to remove these infections and in lieu demanded credit card or other confidential information. Below are the instructions that will help you get rid of MacShield on your machine:

Avoid installing MacShield

If you see any virus/malware alert, close Safari or any browser that you are currently using. If the browser doesn’t close, then force it to quit and close the application. Your browser, sometimes, may automatically download and execute the malicious installer. If this the case, then cancel the installation process and don’t enter your admin password. Now, remove the malicious installer by following the steps mentioned below:

1. Go to the location where you store all the downloads. For example the Downloads folder

2. Put the malicious installer to the Trash folder

3. Empty the Trash folder 

Manually Remove MacShield

If the malware has already been installed, then follow the below mentioned steps to remove it:

1. Close the Scan window

2. Go to the Applications folder> go to the Utilities folder and open Activity Monitor

3. Select All Processes from the popup menu at the top right hand side of the window

4. Locate the file/application name under the Process Name column and select it. The common app names include MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector, MacGuard, MacShield.

5. Click on Quit Process, located at the upper left hand side of the window, and click on Quit. Make sure that you remove all the applications/files that associate any of the abovementioned names

6. Close the Activity Monitor window

7. Open the Applications folder

8. Search for the application names viz. MacDefender, MacSecurity etc.

9. Drag them to Trash 

10. Empty Trash

Since Malware also installs a Login menu in your user account under System Preferences, you can remove it for enhanced security. Though, it is not necessary.

1. Go to System Preferences, click on Accounts and then click on Login Items

2. locate the app name viz. MacDefender, MacGuard etc. and click on the minus (-) button

Now you have completely removed the Mac malware from your machine. However, for enhanced security, also download and install Apple’s latest (Security Update 2011-003). It is also advised that you regularly update your Mac for maximum protection against seen and unseen threats.

Check how Regularly You Update Your Mac

For users who clicked on the 1st option, it is highly recommended that they update their Mac software on a regular basis, especially after the outbreak of Mac malware. failing to which can make your Mac vulnerable to malware attacks. MacShield, the latest variant of Mac malware, is known to have more powerful than previous ones and requires no admin password to execute itself. Once executed, it can hijack your internet browser and direct you to porn websites or flood your PC with fake virus alerts or even steal all the confidential information stored within.

Apple regularly rolls out latest bug fixes and patches that enhance your Mac’s defense system against MacShield and all the previous variants of MacDefender, the fake anti-virus aka Mac malware. Stay Safe, Stay Protected!

Protect Your Mac From Malware

Until Apple comes out with a new, appropriate solution to deal with MacDefender, the Mac malware, and its variants, Mac users are strongly advised to keep their machines protected using an antivirus program. Though, Mac malware has not been very successful in spreading itself to infect more and more machines, that dark day doesn’t appear to be far away when it will show its true colors. The earlier version of MacDefender required users to enter the administrator password in order to let the malware installer to be downloaded and run on the machine. However, the newer variants don’t require the admin password to be entered and run on their own, depending on the settings in your browser viz. Safari.

Mac users can follow these below mentioned steps to protect themselves from being a victim to Mac malware:

Run Mac Updates – Yes, run Mac updates in order to let the patches and fixes to be downloaded and installed on your Mac machine. There are many users who don’t run these updates for whatever reason. Believe me if you skip updates, you are making your PC vulnerable to infections and attacks. Apple regularly rolls out latest patches and bug fixes for your Mac PC.

Install Anti-virus program – While Macs are little safer than other computers, it is still good to install an antivirus program on your machine so as to protect it from seen or unseen infections. You can choose from a variety of options including Sophos, Norton, and Avast among others.

Practice Safe Computing – Do not open random links sent in emails or pop-ups that come up while browsing the internet. Practice safe computing to save yourself from trouble.

Turn off Safe file opening feature in Safari – Safari, by default, automatically opens some files after these are downloaded on your machine. It prompts a malicious file to be executed automatically. Disable this feature by going in to the ‘Menu Bar, go to “Safari’, click on ‘Preferences and General’, and remove the check mark from the box saying ‘Open safe files after downloading’. This will allow you to have more control over any file that may be malicious and infect your machine. Stay Safe, Stay Protected!


Apple Rolls Out Fourth Update

The cat-and-mouse game has begun. Apple in its pursuit of nabbing the bad Mac malware rolled out fourth new security update to XProtect, its list of malware definitions on 3rd June around 5:00 AM PDT. The latest update is intended to cover all the 5 known variants viz. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector, MacGuard, MacShield (the latest variant recognized as OSX.MacDefender.E.) of Mac Defender, the fake Mac anti-virus program.

See the image of new Mac malware variant. aka. MacShield