Apple News

Does your Mac need antivirus software?


As a Mac user, you’ve probably heard that you don’t need antivirus protection for your system, because hackers don’t write malware for macOS. But that is changing — or, to be more accurate, it has changed.

Hackers have caught on that Mac users are low-hanging fruit, precisely because many of them don’t install antivirus software. And, as more Windows PC users wise up and secure their devices, Mac users look like even more appealing targets.

That means the time has come to install antivirus software on your Mac, if you haven’t already. It can help fill the gaps in Mac’s built-in security features, and protect you from the most common cause of cyber attacks — user error.

Mac’s Built-in Security Features Are Lacking

macOS relies on a robust permissions structure to protect the system from malware, and 20 or 25 years ago, that may have been enough. XProtect runs in the background, quietly scanning files as they’re opened, without sacrificing performance.

Gatekeeper checks downloaded apps for Apple developer certificates to make sure they’re okay. And sandboxing of apps ensures that downloaded apps only have the system resources they need to function, and can’t go rooting around in your directories or looking for your sensitive files.

But these systems all have major flaws. XProtect, for example, has a shockingly tiny malicious signatures dictionary — it’s only got 94 entries. Literally, any other antivirus software has a longer definitions list than that, and the definitions list is a primary tool these programs use to look for malware — they tell the software how to recognize malicious code. If a specific piece of malware’s signature is not on the list, XProtect won’t recognize it as malware, even if it very much is.

Gatekeeper has its drawbacks, too. For one thing, an Apple developer signature doesn’t actually say much about how trustworthy or untrustworthy a given piece of software is. Plenty of totally legitimate programs don’t have Apple developer signatures. For example, many open-source developers don’t see the point in paying the fee to get an Apple developer certificate for their piece of software that they plan to give out for free, and…

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Apple nixes feature that allows apps to bypass VPN


News Highlights: Apple nixes feature that allows apps to bypass VPN

Apple

In response to growing concerns from security researchers, Apple reportedly removed a controversial macOS feature in Big Sur 11.2 beta 2 on Thursday. to bypass, said CNET’s sister ZDNet.

Researchers argued that the feature, called the Content Filter Exclusion List, could have allowed malware attacks through unguarded access points and compromised users’ identities. The list…

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Apple’s new editorial franchise, Apple Podcasts Spotlight, to highlight interesting creators – TechCrunch


Apple today announced a new editorial franchise called Apple Podcasts Spotlight, which aims to highlight rising podcast creators in the U.S. The editorial team at Apple will select new podcast creators to feature every month and then give them prominent screen real estate in the Apple Podcasts app and promote them across social media and elsewhere. This will allow creators to reach a wider audience, similar to how the App Store showcases a selection of recommended apps and games with large banners at the top of its screen.

The first Spotlight creator is Chelsea Devantez, who hosts the podcast Celebrity Book Club. On Fridays, Chelsea and special guests including Emily V. Gordon, Gabourey Sidibe, Ashley Nicole Black and Lydia Popovich will meet to discuss the memoirs of “badass celebrity womxn,” as an announcement describes it.

The idea for the show began a year ago when Devantez was reading Jessica Simpson’s memoir and started recapping it on Instagram. The reaction from her followers prompted her to expand the concept into a podcast.

Upcoming episodes will feature Oscar-nominated writer and producer Emily V. Gordon talking Drew Barrymore’s “Little Girl Lost;” actress Stephanie Beatriz discussing Celine Dion’s memoir “My Story My Dream;” Leighton Meester on Carly Simon’s “Boys in the Trees;” and a special Valentine’s Day episode where Chelsea and TikTok star Rob Anderson read Burt Reynolds’ and Loni Anderson’s competing divorce memoirs.

“Apple Podcasts Spotlight helps listeners find some of the world’s best shows by shining a light on creators with singular voices,” said Ben Cave, Global Head of Business for Apple Podcasts, in a statement about the launch. “Chelsea Devantez has created a fun, vibrant space with Celebrity Book Club for listeners to gain new perspectives on the celebrities we thought we knew. We are delighted to recognize Chelsea and Celebrity Book Club as our first Spotlight selection and look forward to introducing creators like Chelsea to listeners each month,” he added.

Apple says future Spotlight creators will be announced monthly from across a range of podcast genres, formats and locations, and will often focus on independent and underrepresented voices. The content is previewed ahead of selection to ensure quality, but there are no specific requirements about the podcast size and reach.

In general, the new Spotlight creators will debut toward the front of the week, but the specific days are fluid to adapt to holidays, major cultural events and others. The next Spotlight selection, for example, will launch in mid-February.

The Spotlight creators will be featured at the top of the Browse tab of Apple Podcasts and will be promoted through the Apple Podcasts social media accounts. Some form of in-app featuring will continue throughout the entire month the creators are in the “spotlight.”

Apple says it will also collaborate with the featured creators on their own channels. Over time, you’ll see promotion via additional Apple-operated channels including outdoor advertising in major U.S. metros.

The news of the new editorial program comes shortly after a report from The Information suggested Apple is working to expand its podcasts platform with the introduction of a podcast subscription service, threatening rivals like Spotify, SiriusXM and Amazon.

Though Apple Podcasts still leads the market, Spotify has been catching up by spending over $800 million on podcast companies, like Anchor, the Ringer, Gimlet Media, and more recently, podcast ad company Megaphone.

SiriusXM, meanwhile, bought podcast management and analytics platform Simplecast, ad tech platform AdsWizz, and podcast app Stitcher. Not to be left out, Amazon just a few weeks ago announced it was acquiring the podcast network Wondery.

Beyond helping the creators grow their audience, Apple says the larger goal with the program is to welcome new audiences to podcasts, in general.

Though podcasts are growing in popularity, the monthly podcast listener base is just 37% in the U.S., according to Edison Research. That means it’s nowhere near being an activity that’s popular among a majority of the U.S. population at this time. Before Apple can effectively monetize podcasts as a subscription service, it needs to help get more people listening to podcasts on a regular basis.

Apple declined to say if the program would expand outside the U.S. at a later date.



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Want a new MacBook Pro? Answer these 6 questions before buying the Apple laptop


Is now the best time for you to buy a new MacBook Pro? Erik Eckel presents six questions that will help you determine whether you can justify making this purchase.

Apple M1 Macs 2020

Image: Apple

People, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, are making long-delayed purchases and splurging on everything from vacation homes to automobiles to hobby-related endeavors. The prevailing sentiment is life is finite, so why not treat yourself, especially when pandemic-related reminders are everywhere?

While prudence is always important, particularly during a pandemic when business expenses must carefully be managed, don’t overlook the importance of having capable tools, too. They aren’t just wish-list items.

SEE: How to migrate to a new iPad, iPhone, or Mac (TechRepublic Premium)

Business owners are often reluctant to invest in needed new technologies when, in fact, the investments enhance efficiencies, improve operations, and boost performance. It’s the old penny-wise and pound-foolish argument, once again.

With so many businesses pivoting to enable remote work, better service, and changing customer needs, it’s possible your previously purchased laptop was never intended to be used in the way you are relying on it. All of a sudden, system performance, Wi-Fi reliability, available storage, ports and expandability, and display size are potentially much more important factors than they once were. Yet, you’re possibly living with a model you intended to use in a different office with different peripherals or even for very different purposes.

SEE: Best MacBook Air and MacBook Pro builds in 2020 (TechRepublic)

You might be contemplating an upgrade, but widespread news, rumors, and advice may be discouraging you. Warnings and well-intended guidance sometimes sound similar to these statements:

  • Don’t buy a MacBook Pro now because Apple’s getting ready to implement new models.
  • Wait to buy a new MacBook Pro because next-generation models will eliminate the failed Touch Bar…

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The latest iPad Pro, Apple’s 10.2-inch iPad and more devices are on sale today


We start today’s deals with the latest models of the iPad Pro. You can get the 12.9-inch version with 256GB storage and WiFi connectivity for $999 with $100 savings, or get the 128GB storage version for $940 with $59 savings. The smaller 11-inch iPad Pro is also on sale, and you can get it from Amazon or B&H. The best option starts at $ 759 when you get the 128GB version from Amazon, or go to B&H and get the same tablet with 256HN storage for $849 with $50 savings, 256GB, but no LTE support in any of them. If you feel like you need LTE connectivity, you can also get the 128GB version for $899, and you still get to save $50.

    12.9-inch iPad Pro
    The 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes with an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color, FaceID, and a great camera
    11-inch iPad Pro
    Get the same features that come in the 12.9-inch model, but in a smaller package for you to express yourself.

If you want more iPad options, the 10.2-inch iPad is also on sale, and you can save $30 when you get the 32GB version with WiFi support, or get the 128GB version for $395 with $34 savings; I personally went for this second option. Then you can also choose to grab an Android tablet, as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is currently selling for $529 with $200.99 discounts in the Rose Blush and Cloud Blue color options.

    10.2-inch iPad
    Apple’s entry-level iPad comes with an A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, support for gen-1 Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard. It also features an 8MP back camera and a 1.2MP FaceTime HD front camera.
    Samsung Galaxy Tab S6- 10.5-inch 256GB
    The 2-in-1 that’s your all-in-one. Instantly transform your Android tablet into a PC desktop experience when you attach the keyboard with a built-in trackpad.

There are also some interesting deals on Android smartphones. The Google Pixel 4a is still on sale over at Amazon.com, but now you can also get it from B&H with the same $459 price tag that translates into $40 savings. You get an unlocked device with 128GB storage space and 5G support. The Nokia 8.3 is also on sale, and you can get this dual-SIM unlocked phone with 128GB storage space for $500 with $200 savings, and you also get 5G support. Both devices also feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, but…

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