Tech News

Mac Malware Is Real, Reddit Bans Racism… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 06-08-2015

Unmasking Mac malware, the Reddit racism row, Apple Music users, YouTube moves on from 301+, Destiny drops Dinklage, and The Human Torch drone.

Mac Attacks Are Serious Business

Apple Mac users shouldn’t ignore the threat of malware 3 Signs Your Mac Is Infected With a Virus (And How to Check) If your Mac is acting weird, it could be infected with a virus. How can you check for a virus on your Mac? We'll show you. Read More , which is increasingly likely to hit OS X Mac User With Ransomware? How To Easily Remove This "Malware" Threat The FBI Ransomware didn't only affect Windows users; Mac owners were conned into paying up. Ironically, however, the OSX version wasn't really malware, but merely a browser popup that is easily removed. Read More . Several high-profile pieces of malware, including iWorm and WireLurker, have been discovered over the last year, and the inventiveness of Mac malware is only likely to increase from now on.

Many Mac users think their system is somehow immune from attack, fueled in part by Apple’s own narrative on the subject. However, while cybercriminals and hackers are much more likely to attack Windows due to the sheer amount of users, Macs are also vulnerable.

As reported by BBC News, security researcher Patrick Wardle recently spoke at Black Hat USA 2015 about the growing threat of Mac malware. He told the assembled delegates that “OS X security is lacking,” and explained that it’s “trivial to write new OS X malware than can bypass everything”.

Wardle is continuing to conduct research into the vulnerabilities of Apple’s systems and practices. Thankfully, for both Apple and its legion of fans, he stated, “I always (first) share my research with Apple and only disclose details once they have released a patch.”

However, this should still act as a wake-up call to Mac users who think their system is somehow invulnerable to attack. Quite simply, it isn’t.

Reddit Decides Racism Is Annoying

Reddit has banned some of the most notoriously racist subreddits, including /r/Coontown. However, these aren’t being banned because racism is bad (even though it clearly is), they’re being banned because they “exist solely to annoy other redditors, prevent us from improving Reddit, and generally make Reddit worse for everyone else”.

As previously announced Buy Windows 10 on USB, Reddit Hides the Hate, & More... [Tech News Digest] Windows 10 on a stick, the great Reddit quarantine of 2015, Angry Birds 2, a free Wilco album for all, Jeb Bush talks tech, and a Jedi has fun with a GoPro. Read More , many of the hateful communities will be quarantined, effectively placing them behind closed doors in order to hide them from the general population of Reddit. But /r/Coontown and its offshoots have been deemed such a problem that Reddit has eradicated them from the site altogether.

This hasn’t gone down well with everyone on the site, as any kind of banning is seen as censorship and an attack on the right to free speech. Even those who have been calling for these subreddits to be banned are unhappy with the reasoning. In other words, Reddit management are damned if they do and damned if they don’t Windows 10 to Roll Out Slowly, Reddit Is Revolting, & More... [Tech News Digest] The great Windows 10 roll-out, the Reddit revolt, the Plex forum hack, the Prince streaming silliness, the Bing Pong palaver, and the Apple fanboy fiddle. Read More .

Apple Music Has 11 Million Users

Apple has announced that just five weeks after launch, Apple Music has 11 million users. However, there is a huge caveat to this impressive figure: all 11 million people currently using Apple Music Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know After the purchase of Beats last year, Apple has finally unleashed its streaming music service upon the world. Read More are making use of the 3-month free trial. Still, despite this, signing up 11 million users so quickly is something Apple should be proud of achieving.

The real test will, of course, come when the free trial ends, and Apple asks people to start paying for Apple Music. Spotify currently boasts 75 million active users, with 20 million of those paying cold, hard cash. Which means that this is one of those rare occasions when Apple is playing catch-up to a bigger, bolder competitor.

YouTube Dumps the “301+ Views”

Until now, YouTube’s view counter has stuck at “301+” while the site filters out genuine views from bots. But no longer. Now, YouTube will continue to add views it knows are legitimate, meaning the counter won’t seem to stall for all new videos. Questionable views will still be held back until YouTube can determine whether they’re real or not.

This is only a small change, but one which solves an issue that has plagued YouTube creators since the site was launched back in 2005.

Destiny Drops Dinklage

Peter Dinklage may play everyone’s favorite character on Game of Thrones, but his contribution to Destiny (as Ghost) didn’t go down as well. Lo and behold, Bungie has now decided to erase Dinklage from the game, with Nolan North (Uncharted, Prince of Persia) re-recording his lines.

Destiny is a first-person shooter with many more issues than Dinklage’s performance as Ghost. However, Bungie hopes that changing the voice acting for the ever-present robot assistant will help things along. North’s take on Ghost will appear alongside The Taken King DLC in September.

The Human Torch Drone Flames On

And finally, what better way to promote the new Fantastic Four movie than by creating a drone that looks like Johnny Storm AKA The Human Torch? Storm is able to fly, turn into fire, and manipulate flames from a distance. All of which are quite useful skills to have.

The Human Torch drone was built to resemble the shape of a human being, albeit one on fire. It even has “Johnny” stenciled on its front, presumably to differentiate it from all of the other flying fireballs. I want one of these, but, and please do correct me if I’m wrong, it might be a slight fire hazard. [H/T CNET]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Have you ever suffered from Mac malware? Is Reddit right to ban racist subreddits? Will you be sticking with Apple Music once the free trial ends? Do you have any ideas for novelty drones better than The Human Torch?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credits: James Collins via Flickr

Related topics: Anti-Malware, Apple Music, Drone Technology, Reddit, YouTube.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 7, 2015 at 12:40 am

    I'd be happier knowing that there's a place for racists to spew their hate if only to keep them in their own trash can.

  2. Anonymous
    August 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    1. Reddit is a cesspool, but cesspools need to exist. All it has done is shifted the burned for collecting assholes to some other site with even lower standards. I was perfectly happy to let the racists, misogynists and other loathsome bros wallow in filth on that one site rather than deal with the forthcoming diaspora of hate.

    2. Yes, I've cleaned malware off of Macs. Most of it is pretty simple to remove, about where Windows malware was in 2002, but it does exist. Most of what I've seen are simple things like rogue browser extensions or search hijackers that really only work because my OSX users have the mentality that they are immune to security threats.

    I can also say without hesitation that the only machines I manage where I *ever* find Windows viruses are OSX machines, mostly because the people using them do hilarious things like bring in and install torrented copies of software rather than licensed versions and pass around flash drives that contain the Windows equivalent of a syringe full of ebola virus.

  3. Anonymous
    August 6, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    If Reddit were a government agency of some sort, the banning it is doing would be censorship.

    That not being the case, it is free to censor all the views it doesn't like to its content. However, if they want to claim to being tolerant of diverse beliefs (including racism), they would still need to unban these sites.

    Private only means that what they are doing is legal .... not necessarily moral.