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Springy Dock Tricks

If you drag a file and hover over Dock icons, various useful things happen which are similar to Finder springing. If it's a window, the window un-minimizes from the Dock. If it's a stack, the corresponding folder in the Finder opens. If it's the Finder, it brings the Finder to the foreground and opens a window if one doesn't exist already. But the coolest (and most hidden) springing trick is if you hover over an application and press the Space bar, the application comes to the foreground. This is great for things like grabbing a file from somewhere to drop into a Mail composition window that's otherwise hidden. Grab the file you want, hover over the Mail icon, press the Space bar, and Mail comes to the front for you to drop the file into the compose window. Be sure that Spring-Loaded Folders and Windows is enabled in the Finder Preferences window.

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OSX.RSPlug.A Trojan Horse Targets Mac OS X

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Security software firm Intego is warning Mac OS X users about a Trojan horse that targets the Mac. OSX.RSPlug.A is showing up on pornography sites disguised as a video plug-in. When someone clicks the link to watch certain video clips, a Web page states that a new QuickTime codec must be installed. Opening the disk image that downloads results in the installer asking for an administrator password (which is the first serious sign of trouble); if the option to Open "Safe" Files After Downloading is enabled in Safari, the disk image opens automatically (you should disable that feature in Safari; see "Significant Safari Exploit Discovered," 2007-09-07).

Once given root access, the Trojan horse changes the computer's DNS settings to point to phishing sites or ads for other pornography sites. Even if the DNS is reset manually, a background task added by the Trojan horse changes the DNS again automatically.

Rob Griffiths at Macworld has written up instructions for removing OSX.RSPlug.A manually; Intego's VirusBarrier X4 with updated virus definitions for 31-Oct-07 also identifies and removes the Trojan horse. Griffith writes: "This is really bad. Really. And even though it's targeted at porn surfers today, the malware could easily be associated with anything else, like a new viral video site, or a site that purports to show commercials from the upcoming Super Bowl."

As always, the best defense against such attacks is to avoid installing third-party software with which you're unfamiliar, especially any that requires an administrator password. Although the Mac has proven remarkably resilient to the threat of viruses and other malware, it's not immune.

 

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