Tag Archives: google

New Mac OS X vulnerabilities publicly disclosed by Google’s Project Zero Team

Ars Technica reports that Google’s Project Zero team has made public three security vulnerabilities found in Mac OS X. Fortunately, Apple has been made aware of the issues prior to their public release and has already fixed one of the vulnerabilities while the other two will be fixed in the upcoming release of Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 which is currently in beta.

Project Zero is a white hat hacking group formed and funded by Google that attempts to breach the security of all major systems that everyday users depend on. Once the group finds a system vulnerability, they get in touch with the company that maintains the software, informs them of the problem and even gives them proof-of-concept source code that demonstrates the issue. The developers of the software product then have three months to implement patches and release them to their customers. As soon as the three months expire, Project Zero publishes the “0day” vulnerability on their website along with the proof-of-concept source code.

Apple is not the only company that has had their vulnerabilities publicly released. Microsoft has also recently experienced the uncomfortable situation of having unpatched Windows bugs in the wild. Fortunately for Apple customers, the issues discovered by the Project Zero team are rather isolated since they require the attacker to have local access to the Mac. In other words, either someone needs to have physical access to your machine in order to hack it, or they need to combine the 0day exploits with other vulnerabilities that will grant them local access.


The three exploits found by the Project Zero team are the following:

– The first issue has to do with a sandbox bug.

– The second vulnerability exposes an exploitable NULL pointer in the kernel.

– The third 0day bug has do to with a security loophole in Apple’s Bluetooth stack.

Leaving aside whether it’s good of the Project Zero team to publicly release information about vulnerabilities that will soon be patched, these recent events have once again raised the question: Is Apple doing too many things at once and not devoting enough time to solidify the performance and security of its platforms?

A growing number of users support the opinion that Apple has too many balls in the air and the amount of time it can spend on each one is very limited. Between the annual software release cycles of iOS and OS X (and possibly Watch OS going forward), Apple engineers have less and less time to iron out bugs and streamline the operation of the operating systems. The solution brought forward is that Apple needs to take a year during which to focus not on new features, but on making sure that all the features and functionality “just work”. We’ve already seen the Cupertino company do this with the move from Mac OS X Leopard to Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Google Reader alternatives

Google Reader is no more. But while the popular RSS reader has been shut down, there are actually many other alternatives, including ones with excellent iOS apps. Since Google announced they were discontinuing the service, several lesser-known readers have been gaining attention, and other already-popular services have refined their offerings to capture even more users.

Here are a few of the most popular alternatives to Google Reader, all available through the app store so you can read your favorite blogs on your iPhone or iPad.

1. Feedly

By far the most popular alternative to Google Reader, Feedly is simple to use and has a clean, beautiful interface. It’s easily customizable to work similarly – and even better – than Google Reader did. Since Google announced the death of Reader, they’ve been adding new features, updating their iOS app and acquiring even more users. The great thing about Feedly is the number of options it provides, from social media sharing to integration with other services. Feedly has already been named “the service that everyone else will be using” and it’s not hard to understand why.

2. NewsBlur

Originally a web-based feed reader, NewsBlur now offers an app as well. You can read stories through it or on their original website, create categories and tags that help highlight the stories and topics you’re interested in and even create a “Blurblog” which will share your favorite stories in a blog type feed for others to read. NewsBlur is Free for up to 64 sites, but you can pay $24.00 a year for a premium account that gets you unlimited access and more frequent updates.

3. Pulse

For a different approach to RSS reading, try this visually appealing reader app. Instead of trying to imitate Google Reader or follow the usual RSS layout, Pulse makes your feed more image-driven. It also pushes the stories it thinks you’ll like the most to the top. For those who especially appreciate pictures and a visually stimulating user experience, Pulse is worth checking out.

4. Flipboard

Another unique take on an RSS reader, Flipboard is a magazine-like option ideal for those who love to read on their iPad. It’s also very image-driven, much like Pulse, but with an entirely different layout. Flipboard isn’t for everyone, but those who love it swear by it.

5. Zite

With a clean, newspaper-like look and feel, Zite has iPhone and iPad apps as well as the option to read it online via your computer. If you like a few images but an overall straightforward feed view, Zite might be your best bet.

Another option for keeping up with the blogs and websites you most enjoy is by following them on Twitter or Facebook. Some people don’t enjoy using social media, and others read the blogs they like through an RSS reader program even though they’re also a “fan” through social media. With a little effort, it is possible to set up an excellent newsfeed on Facebook or Twitter and keep up with it on your iPhone or iPad, especially if you use a social media client like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
For some purists, none of the current options will ever quite take the place of Google Reader, although there are excellent alternatives. The best way to see which is for you is to download a few and check out how your favorite blogs appear on them. With so many reader services available, you’re likely to find something that will work for you.