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Monthly Archives: August 2015

news: DetectX 2 is available now

DetectX 2


We’ve spent pretty much the whole of the summer working on this upgrade, so we’re both delighted (and not a little relieved!) to finally be able to announce the release of DetectX 2.

If you were a user of earlier versions of DetectX the most obvious change you’ll notice is the new Selector bar, and the additional functions it offers. Now, DetectX is far more than just a dedicated search tool and offers comprehensive logging, browsing and analytical tools to make troubleshooting new problems on your mac a whole lot easier.

If you’ve used the Analyser in our app FastTasks 2, you’ll recognize the new functions added to DetectX. But we’ve not just taken the Analyser straight out of FT2 and plumped it into DetectX, we’ve also made it more powerful and more convenient to use.

There’s a whole bunch of changes you can find out about from the DetectX page and from the included user guide (improved documentation is another one of the changes!). One thing that hasn’t changed: DetectX remains free for home users, so there’s nothing to stop you from trying it out. Commercial and institutional users should note that a Commercial Use licence is required. Details are in the app.

Well, now that the app is out you’d think we’d be taking a break, but we’re already working on a special release of DetectX for Snow Leopard users. We know you 10.6’ers have been left out in the cold since release 1.29, but hold tight. Some Leopardy love is coming your way real soon!

On top of that, we’re already working on new definitions to be added to the next update to make sure DetectX keeps finding all those new annoyances that keep popping up and keeping your Mac happy and responsive.

If you haven’t already, go check out the DetectX page for more info.

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news: FastTasks Update

sudoers
With recent adware attacks exploiting a vulnerability in OS X and giving themselves sudo permissions without the user providing a password, we thought it’d be a good idea to have FT2 show you info on the Sudo permissions file. This feature has been added in today’ update, FT2 v1.68.

The file in question, sudoers, lives in the (usually) hidden /private/etc folder at the root of your hard drive. Most ordinary users won’t have cause to go digging around in there and probably don’t even know it exists. However, sudoers is the file that determines who can get admin access in the shell (aka ‘the Terminal’), and adding a user to the sudoers file gives them pretty much a carte blanche over the system.

It appears that Apple have already taken steps to block the recent attack, and the next version of OS X (likely due out next month) will restrict what even sudoers can do to the system (although not to the user). Nevertheless, we think it’s good idea to have an easy visual check as to whether the sudoers file has been modified or not. You can find the sudoers information in the Analyser just before the System section (marked by the green dashed line).

Be aware that it is entirely possible that if an attacker gains access to your system, they could not only modify the sudoers file, but completely replace it with a new one. That’d give a new creation date but no modification date. With that in mind, it’s worth checking just when the file was created. Running the public release of OS X Yosemite, build 14E46 (you can find the build number in FastTasks menu), my default sudoers file has a creation date of 2014-09-10. If you are running a different build of Yosemite or OS X you may see a different date. Obviously, if you have modified (or given an app or process permission to modify) the file, that will cause you to see different dates also.

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