New iPhone/Mac Vulnerabilities That Can Impact Your Business

Standard

 

Recently Apple was hit with two big issues in the same month. These gave rise to concerns that Apple products might not be as secure as most think. The first of the two came in the form of a text message that can be sent to Apple iPhones.

The text, which is entirely in Arabic, can be sent to anyone with an iPhone, and it will immediately shut down the phone. While this is more of an annoying bug than a security concern (although it definitely can be viewed as a security concern, depending on the owner of the phone and his/her need for uptime), it doesn’t seem to be harmful to the devices. Users in the  Reddit.com forums found the bug, and it appears they did so by accident.

Credit: parts of this image are reproduced with permission from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Unibody_Macbook.JPG.

Credit: parts of this image are reproduced with permission from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Unibody_Macbook.JPG.

If your phone receives the dreaded text message, you will need to turn on your phone and delete that message. One workaround to the text issue is to go into the settings,and turn off text message previews that appear on the home screen. Apple is aware of the bug and will resolve the issue in its latest update, which should be coming very soon.

The second security concern, and one that is very critical to businesses is the latest exploit which allows someone to put a permanent backdoor onto your Mac by rewriting the firmware for the BIOS to allow remote connection to the device. This affects all Macs older than mid-2014.

The reason this security concern is so troubling is, unlike other types of exploits, where if you were to be hacked you could wipe your hard drive and start clean with the appropriate updates, this targets the BIOS, meaning no matter how often you wipe your hard drive, hackers can exploit the vulnerability over and over again.

The vulnerability can be enacted as soon as a machine is woken from Sleep Mode. The security researcher who found the exploit, Pedro Vilaca, stated you can stop your machine from going into Sleep Mode to bypass the exploit. However, Apple is aware of the exploit and should patch it soon. Vilaca also stated that this is very similar to last year’s “Thunderstrike Proof-of-Concept” exploit.

While nothing will protect against this current exploit (i.e. antivirus, anti-malware), it does show that as Macs become more popular, holes are being found in the OS and, in this case, in the hardware itself. Business owners must be aware of both where their employees go on the Internet and how to protect their assets from hacking attempts.

Everon offers antivirus for Macs, as well as PCs, with a product called Webroot Secure Anywhere. We can assist in setting up hardware proxies that will prevent unauthorized access to the Internet. If you have any questions about what we can do for your Apple environment, feel free to call our techs at 1-888-244-1748 (or email at info@everonit.com). We’re here for you. Twenty-four/seven, 365.

——-

You may also like:

 

Make your dumbphone smart!

Standard

 

I love technology as much as any geek here at Everon, but I’m very picky when I spend my money and what new toy is going to move my life into a new direction- sometimes for the better, but many times for the worse.  I like simple and affordable and things that can withstand the test of time and continue to work.  So when a friend let me know about Google Text years ago, roughly 2006, I integrated it into my life so fast and easily that I actually forgot to share it with most of my friends and family.  In the subsequent years data usage and media searching on phones became all the rage.  And the cost skyrocketed.  I never jumped on board and really didn’t feel like I missed much because of this great free tool from Google. I don’t need much data because I spend so much time on a computer anyways, and whatever I need on the go can be found way faster and cheaper with the price of a text message or two.

Here’s how it works- Create a profile on any phone just as you would for a friend who’s given you their number.  Save it as “Google” and type 46645 for the phone number which spells Google. 

Text this profile anytime for a quick search of nearly anything you need and you’ll get a text or two back with the address, phone number and usually multiple locations if you are searching for business that is a chain.  While my friends are waiting for their data-laden devices to pull up info, I’ve already got the location and the phone number in my inbox just by typing “Red Robin” and the city or zip code I’m hoping to eat in.  Most mornings when I’m still in bed wondering what to wear based on the weather; I’ll text “weather” and my zip code and, BAM! I know current temps, hi’s lo’s and the next 3 day’s forecast.   I also use it for quick definitions of words I want to know more about.  I just found out it works for translating words too!  Man, I could’ve really used that in Italy a few months ago… Anyways, check it out at http://www.searchengineknowledge.com/searchtools/textmessagegoogle.php

Now that it’s nearly 2012, mobile data access is better than ever, but has been capped and monthly rates are still exorbitant.   I still don’t have a hearty data plan but do have unlimited text and can rely on Google Text to beat the cash crunch. And every now and then I remember to let some of my data-deprived friends in on my little secret to make their dumb phones smarter.  Check it out and see how easy it is.