‘Huge’ Number of Mac Apps Open to Hijacking From Sparkle Updater Vulnerability

A pair of vulnerabilities in the framework that some Mac apps use to receive automatic updates leaves them open to man-in-the-middle attacks, according to a report from Ars Technica covering a security flaw that was first discovered by a security researcher named Radek in late January.

Apps that use a vulnerable version of Sparkle and an unencrypted HTTP channel for server updates are at risk of being hijacked to transmit malicious code to end users. The Sparkle framework is used by apps outside of the Mac App Store to facilitate automatic software updates.

Some of the affected apps are widely downloaded titles like Camtasia, Duet Display, uTorrent, and Sketch. A proof of concept attack was shared by Simone Margaritelli using an older version of VLC, which was recently updated to patch the flaw. The vulnerabilities were tested on both OS X Yosemite and the most recent version of OS X El Capitan.

Image via EvilSocket

A „huge“ number of apps are said to be at risk, but as Ars Technica points out, it is difficult to tell exactly which apps that use Sparkle are open to attack. GitHub users have compiled a list of apps that use Sparkle, but not all use the vulnerable version and not all transfer data over non-secured HTTP channels.

Apps downloaded through the Mac App Store are not affected as OS X’s built in software update mechanism does not use Sparkle.

Sparkle has released a fix in the newest version of the Sparkle Updater, but it will take some time for Mac apps to implement the patched framework. Ars Technica recommends concerned users with potentially vulnerable apps installed avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi networks or do so only via a VPN.

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‘Huge’ Number of Mac Apps Open to Hijacking From Sparkle Updater Vulnerability

Apple Seeds Third WatchOS 2.2 Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 2.2 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second watchOS 2.2 beta and two months after releasing watchOS 2.1, the first major update to the watchOS 2 operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 2.2 has been in testing since January 11.

The third watchOS 2.2 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on an iPhone running the iOS 9.3 beta by going to General –> Software update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the Apple Watch charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.

watchOS 2.2, along with iOS 9.3, introduces support for pairing multiple Apple Watches with a single iPhone. Both updates are required, with each watch running watchOS 2.2 and each iPhone running iOS 9.3. watchOS 2.2 also includes a revamped look for the built-in Maps app on the Apple Watch with access to the Nearby feature first introduced with iOS 9 and new buttons for quickly accessing directions to home and work.

There are were no other obvious outward-facing changes introduced in the first two watchOS 2.2 betas aside from the changes to the Maps app, but the update undoubtedly includes under-the-hood performance updates and bug fixes to address issues that have been discovered since the release of watchOS 2.1.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
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Apple Seeds Third WatchOS 2.2 Beta to Developers

Tim Cook Talks iPhone Sales, Apple TV, Campus 2, and More at Employee Town Hall Meeting

Following Apple’s first quarter earnings report, Apple executives hosted a Town Hall meeting with Apple employees to answer questions and to divulge a few details about the company’s future plans. 9to5Mac has shared highlights of what was covered at the event. While much of what was said was reiterating information that was shared during the earnings call, there are a few tidbits worth noting.

When it comes to the iPhone and the rumor that Apple has perhaps reached „peak iPhone,“ Cook said the device is the „greatest business of the future“ with growth potential in key emerging markets like India and China. He said Apple does not need to launch a less expensive device with pared-down features to entice buyers in these markets, as research suggests people will spend more for a better experience. These comments relate directly to the upcoming „iPhone 5se,“ which some rumors have suggested will be positioned as a less powerful, lower-end device, though not a cheap one by general smartphone standards.

On the Apple TV and tvOS, Cook said the two products point towards a „bright“ future for Apple, but he didn’t mention how Apple might expand its presence in the living room going forward. tvOS is Apple’s way of giving content providers the tools to offer streaming television solutions to customers after having failed to launch its own streaming service due to difficulties with negotiations. The most recent TV-related rumors suggest Apple is exploring the possibility of original content, following in the footsteps of Netflix and Amazon.

Cook also reportedly expressed excitement over future products coming from the company’s software, services, and hardware divisions. In the next few months, Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 5se, the iPad Air 3, new bands for the Apple Watch, and perhaps new Retina MacBooks and Retina MacBook Pros. Later in the year, Apple is also expected to introduce the highly-anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

He also teased „far off“ hardware products coming beyond 2016, perhaps hinting at the company’s work on the Apple Car or its exploration of virtual and augmented reality. Recent rumors suggest Apple is prototyping virtual reality headsets similar to the Oculus Rift.

The last bit of interesting information was on Apple Campus 2, the company’s second „spaceship“ campus that’s under development in Cupertino. Construction appears to be on track to be finished at the end of 2016, as Cook says the first employees will move into the campus by the end of January 2017. He also said the new underground auditorium will allow Apple to hold events on its grounds instead of at venues in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area.

The meeting also included more mundane information on upcoming time-off benefits for Apple employees, flagging iPad sales, new solutions for retaining employee talent, and Apple’s supply chain, which can be read at 9to5Mac.

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Tim Cook Talks iPhone Sales, Apple TV, Campus 2, and More at Employee Town Hall Meeting

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Tech Roll From Intrepid Bag Co

For this week’s giveaway, we’ve once again teamed up with Intrepid Bag Co, a store that sells hand-crafted high-quality leather bags and accessories. We’ve given away Intrepid Bag Co messenger bags in the past, but this week we have something a bit different – the Intrepid Leather Tech Roll.

The Tech Roll is designed to wrangle and store all of your cords and small Apple-related accessories like hard drives, battery packs, power adapters, and more. It lays flat to let you add all of your items, and then rolls up for easy travel. Cords stored in the Tech Roll don’t need to be removed to charge devices – each pocket has a pull-through plug opening for charging in place.

Like all Intrepid Bag Co products, the Tech Roll is made from a quality mahogany leather with canvas interior pockets. There are three cord pockets with 6 leather loops for holding cords in place, a bigger flap pocket for holding something like a battery pack, and a zippered pouch for other small accessories. Two wrap around straps keep the Tech Roll closed when not in use.

Intrepid Bag Co sells the Tech Roll on its website for $129, but one lucky MacRumors reader will get one through our giveaway. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (January 22) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on January 29. The winner will be chosen randomly on January 29 and will be contacted by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen. The prize will be shipped to the winner for free.

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Apple Ending Ad-Supported iTunes Radio Stations at End of January

As part of the winding down of its iAd platform, Apple today sent out a notice to customers who listen to its radio service letting them know the radio feature is being discontinued at the end of January.

In the email, Apple says that Beats 1 radio will be the only free listening option available to those who do not subscribe to the Apple Music service. Customers who listen to radio stations sans ads with an iTunes Match subscription are also receiving the emails and will no longer be able to listen to radio stations as an iTunes Match perk.

Apple has quietly continued to offer ad-supported iTunes Radio stations in the United States and Australia even after the launch of Apple Music, but with the end of its current iAd platform on the horizon, the feature will be limited to those who pay for Apple Music going forward. Customers in Australia are receiving emails stating the radio service will end on January 29, while U.S. customers are receiving emails that suggest it will no longer be available as of January 28.

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed reporter John Paczkowski said that Apple was working towards dismantling its in-house iAd sales team in favor of a more automated platform. This afternoon, Apple announced the end of its iAd App Network, and it’s likely there will be additional changes to products and services as the iAd platform is revamped.

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Apple Ending Ad-Supported iTunes Radio Stations at End of January

Apple CEO Tim Cook Earned $10.3M in Fiscal 2015, Up From $9.2M in 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s compensation for fiscal 2015 was $10,281,327, according to a newly released SEC filing. That breaks down to a salary of $2 million, non-equity incentive compensation of $8 million, and other compensation of $280k. Cook earned approximately $1 million more than he did in fiscal 2014, when he brought in $9.2 million.

Last year, with stock awards and hiring bonuses, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts earned $73 million, but in 2015, her compensation was $25.8 million, in line with other Apple executives, all of whom received $20 million in stock awards and $4 million in non-equity incentive compensation in addition to their $1 million salaries.

Senior executives Bruce Sewell, Dan Riccio, Eddy Cue, and Luca Maestri all earned more than $25 million in 2015, numbers that do not include restricted stock units that vested in 2015. Over the course of the year, Tim Cook received 560,000 shares of stock worth over $57 million, Angela Ahrendts received 391,634 shares worth $50 million. Eddy Cue, Dan Riccio, Bruce Sewell, and Luca Maestri also had shares worth between $11 million and $38 million vest.

Under the guidance of Tim Cook, Apple had another record year, generating $233.7 billion in sales, an increase of 28 percent over 2014 and a new high for the company. Earnings per diluted share were at $9.22, up 43 percent from 2014. According to its October forecast, Apple expects to continue its record earnings streak into 2016, with projected revenue between $75.5 and $77.5 billion for the first quarter of 2016.

Apple will announce its earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 on Tuesday, January 26. MacRumors will provide live coverage of both the earnings release and the conference call.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook Earned $10.3M in Fiscal 2015, Up From $9.2M in 2014

CES 2016: Satechi Type-C USB Hub Updated With Pass-Through Charging for Retina MacBook

Today at CES accessory manufacturer Satechi announced a newly updated Type-C Hub for Apple’s Retina MacBook lineup, which replaces one of the traditional USB 3.0 ports with a new USB-C alternative to allow users to charge the MacBook while using the dongle. Otherwise, the hub still includes an SD card slot and Micro SD card slot in addition to two USB 3.0 ports.

In terms of new products, the company announced the Type-C Card Reader, which will let users access SD and Micro SD cards at the same time using the USB-C dongle. As a cheaper alternative, the Card Reader is smaller than the hub and lacks the USB 3.0 ports of the bigger accessory.

Both products are available in space grey, silver, and gold colors to complement Apple’s chosen colorways on the 12-inch MacBook line. Satechi hasn’t given the Type-C Card Reader any specific launch date besides „early January,“ but confirmed the accessory will run for $19.99 in its press release, although the site mentions a $24.99 price point. Starting today, those interested can purchase the new Hub for $39.99 from the company’s site.

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CES 2016: Satechi Type-C USB Hub Updated With Pass-Through Charging for Retina MacBook