New Mac malware hijacks DNS and compromises internet traffic

Mac users haven’t had much good news on the security front early on in 2018, and that unfortunate streak is continuing with the revelation that macOS has been hit by a new strain of DNS hijacking malware (which inflicts more nastiness on the system besides that primary payload).

Named as OSX/MaMi, the malware changes the DNS server settings on the victim’s machine, redirecting their internet traffic through malicious servers designed to steal the user’s sensitive data.

Security researcher Patrick Wardle has looked extensively into MaMi (as spotted by 9 to 5 Mac) and observes that while it isn’t particularly sophisticated, it does more than simple DNS hijacking.

It’s also capable of pulling off tricks like taking screenshots, downloading and uploading files, executing commands, and it installs a new root certificate to facilitate potential man-in-the-middle attacks. It’s pretty bad news all round, really.

Social engineering

How do you get infected? Wardle isn’t certain on this point, but observes that fake emails or social engineering attacks are likely to be involved (both are pretty prevalent vectors these days). The post on Malwarebytes’ forum which pointed out the malware to Wardle showed the infection came from installation of a dodgy program (‘mycoupon’).

Unfortunately, not all antivirus software is currently capable of detecting the malware, although some have been primed to spot it. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be long before all antivirus apps have MaMi on their radar.

To manually check if you’ve been infected, simply look in System Preferences, under the Network pane, click Advanced, and go to the DNS menu. If your DNS settings are set to 82.163.143.135 and 82.163.142.137, then the malware is at large on your system. Wardle provides further advice in this blog post.

Other Mac malware nastiness we’ve witnessed already this year include a zero-day bug in macOS, and another password login flaw which cropped up last week.

If you’re becoming concerned about the amount of viruses and exploits now targeting Apple’s computers, we’ve got a full guide on how to protect your Mac against malware.

  • A couple of Apple’s MacBooks make our list of best laptops

      

BT broadband launches Ultrafast Fibre with guaranteed speeds of at least 100Mb

BT has announced that it is today launching two brand new Ultrafast Fibre broadband plans, which are set to offer some of the fastest home broadband speeds of any internet provider.

Although the the service is limited to only a select number of households on launch, the connection speeds it is promising look extremely attractive in a crowded market with broadband companies looking to outgun each other when it comes to speed.

BT Ultrafast 1 boasts speeds of up to 152Mb (equivalent to 19MB per second), while Ultrafast 2 more than doubles that with up to an extraordinary 314Mb (or 39.25MB per second). That even outpaces the fastest internet from Virgin Media broadband. Crucially, both plans will guarantee a connection of at least 100Mb, with £20 compensation available if your speed ever falls below 100Mb.

See whether you can get BT Ultrafast Fibre broadband

The packages start at £54.99 per month for Ultrafast 1 or it’s a fiver more for Ultrafast 2. Both require you to sign up for an 18-month contract and pay £59.99 upfront. And BT is currently offering a pre-paid £110 Mastercard to encourage you to buy. BT Ultrafast Fibre also comes with:

  • A new Smart Hub, which BT says has “the UK’s most powerful wi-fi signal vs. other major broadband providers”
  • Free access to over 5.5 million BT wi-fi hotspots
  • Unlimited usage
  • 1,000GB of cloud storage
  • BT Virus Protect and BT Parental Controls
  • Free UK weekend calls and BT Call Protect

What if I’m not yet eligible for BT Ultrafast?

BT is limiting the amount of postcodes that can obtain Ultrafast Fibre to begin with – probably to make sure that it can confidentially deliver the 100Mb+ speeds to a controlled number – but you can click the link above and enter your postcode to see whether you’re one of the lucky ones.

Otherwise, you’ll have to settle for one of our picks of the best broadband deals on the market or see what else BT broadband is offering at the moment. And if it’s super fast internet speeds that you crave, take a look at our comparison chart below to see what packages are currently being offered with 50Mb or greater connection speeds.

      

Presented by Techradar Pro: Check out our first B2B buyer’s guide

Techradar Pro’s first buyer’s guide of 2018 focuses on the red hot market of ruggedised mobile computing, covering laptops, 2-in-1 devices, smartphones as well as storage and software.

Produced in partnership with Getac, Bullitt Group and GooseVPN, the first of our “presented by” series, shed more light on the tough tech industry with a particular focus on the road ahead and how ruggedised devices will evolve.

We also explore the reasons behind why choosing ruggedised products is the often the only acceptable way forward for companies especially when TCO is taken into consideration.

Lastly we have a look at the challengers in the rugged smartphone, tablet, laptop, storage, software and accessories market.

Check our inaugural issue below

      

NBN Co concedes only one quarter of FTTN users can reach 100Mbps

The twisting saga that is the National Broadband Network rollout continues, with NBN Co admitting to a parliamentary committee that only one in four fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) connections will be capable of hitting the advertised top speeds of 100Mbps.

The revelation is contrary to what was announced way back in 2015, when the then chief architect of the NBN project said that “most end users” on an FTTN line during trials were “getting wholesale speeds of 100Mbps”.

By mid-2017, it was revealed that only 32% of FTTN connections could achieve speeds of 75Mbps or more.

It’s been less than a week since reports emerged that the 100Mbps speed tier could be scrapped in the future, as Australians have shied away from these more-expensive top-tier plans. Add to that the controversial nature of the FTTN lines – it uses fibre up to a neighbourhood node, with copper completing the circuit to local premises’ – adds to the fracas that is the continuing headache of Australian broadband in 2018.

That said, on completion of the rollout – currently scheduled for 2020 – all fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) and fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) connections should be capable of achieving 100Mbps… well, if the whole tier doesn’t face the chopping block by then.

Customers connected to the NBN via hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) should also be able to hit 100Mbps download speeds.

      

The 15-inch Surface Book 2 is now available to order in UK and Australia

The larger and more powerful 15-inch version of Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 will be available to pre-order in the UK and Australia today, along with 15 other countries – and a further 17 markets will see the release of both sizes of the 2-in-1 for the first time.

Previously, the bigger and beefier 15-inch convertible had only been launched in the US, but pre-orders are about to go live in the UK and Australia, as well as in Canada and Ireland, alongside the following nations: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland.

The 15-inch model features an 8th-gen Core i7 processor alongside a more powerful GPU than you’ll get in the 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 – it runs with a GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of video memory (as opposed to a GTX 1050 with 2GB of video RAM).

So there’s more pixel-shifting power here, which is just as well as the display of the 15-inch version has a resolution of 3,240 x 2,160 compared to the smaller Surface Book 2’s 3,000 x 2,000 (but because it’s a bigger screen, it actually has a slightly lower pixel density – although this is a very minor difference and nothing you’d actually notice).

Those who want to partake in a spot of gaming on the move will also appreciate that the 15-inch Surface Book sequel has built-in wireless connectivity for an Xbox One controller.

Another benefit of the bigger Surface Book 2 is a beefier battery, with our testing showing that the 15-inch machine lasts for 7 hours and 40 minutes in PCMark 8 Home’s battery benchmark, with the 13.5-inch model running for just shy of 6 hours (still very respectable).

Pricey proposition

The larger convertible will start at £2,349 (around AU$4,060) for the base machine with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, rising to £2,749 (AU$4,750) if you want 512GB of storage, and £3,149 (AU$5,440) for the 1TB model.

You do pay for that power, then, given that the 13.5-inch variant starts at £1,499 (AU$2,590).

Microsoft also announced that from February continuing through to April, both the Surface Book 2 13.5-inch and 15-inch flavours will be rolling out to India, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the following countries: Bahrain, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, and Thailand.

The hybrid hasn’t previously been on sale in these territories, and pricing is still to be confirmed.

  • One of Microsoft’s Surface hybrids makes our best laptops list

      

Has the bubble burst? Bitcoin now worth ‘only’ $10,000

Has the Bitcoin bubble burst? That’s the question a lot of people have been asking recently, and with renewed vigor today, given that the virtual currency has taken a massive tumble – indeed, it has just dipped below the $10,000 (£7,250) mark, almost half of the peak it reached last month.

Around mid-December, Bitcoin hit highs of around $19,500 (£14,130), but as Neowin reports, it has just briefly dipped below $10,000, before recovering slightly to stand a little under $10,300 at the time of writing.

The cryptocurrency has seen a meteoric rise lately, and only last October, it was worth around $6,000 (£4,350). Go back to September 2017, and it was ‘only’ worth just over $4,000 (£2,900).

So given that it increased almost fivefold in terms of value in around two and a half months through to mid-December, it’s hardly surprising that we’re seeing some major volatility on the down-slope.

Spooky stories

As for reasons behind the big drop, investors in the virtual currency have been spooked by stories emanating from Asia, including rumors that South Korea might ban the trading of cryptocurrency – although this won’t happen, the country has since clarified, at least not in the near future – and that China could also look towards a ban.

And of course the fall in value itself has provoked sell-offs as folks get more nervous watching the Bitcoin diminish.

Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency to be getting hammered – this is happening across the board, or at least with most of the popular virtual currencies. For example, Ethereum has also dropped to around the $900 (£650) mark, when at the weekend it stood at well over $1,400 (£1,000).

      

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