Category Archives: General News

Republic Wireless: The Start of Something Really Good.

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless is the king of low-cost service and low-cost phones

I started hearing about Republic Wireless about a year ago or so–the promise of a new, low-cost cell phone that you own and pay very little on thanks to rebate plans and wi-fi bonded calling. Too good to be true, I used to say.

About a month ago, with our impending move to a small island in Florida, I finally caved in and said “yes” to my 2 teenage girls’ dreams to own their own cellphone. When the cries came in over and over, the first thing I thought about was “How am I going to pay for 2 more AT&T cellphones?” With the data, taxes, fees and rental of new phones, I figured that wasn’t an option. I remembered services like Republic Wireless from articles I have stumbled on and I figured to at least do some research.

What is Republic WIreless you ask? Here’s the gist: Low-cost phones that you buy outright–no renting from Verizon or AT&T for exorbitant fees. Low-cost plans each month–no contracts with these people whatsoever. You simply pick out your favorite Android phone (sorry, no iPhones welcome thanks to Apple’s closed-minded policies and procedures) and you now own that phone as long as you want. From there, choose a data plan and move on with life. Get ready for the best part–I just recieved my first bill from Republic. Since my girls didn’t use all of the 1GB I prepaid for, I got a refund of $10. Since I came late to the party, my plan doesn’t offer the refunding that they enjoy. My total phone bill this last month with the 3 of us? I paid $70.03 for the 3 phones. Don’t forget, I got a refund which brought that number to where it is.

You’re probably not convinced yet. Here’s some more bullet points–these phones that you buy from RW are “hybrid” phones. That means they are PRIMARILY built to work on wi-fi FIRST and then use the cellular signal when wi-fi disappears. So, most teenagers these days have 90-95% wi-fi signal around them at all times–wny not use that free signal to make phone calls instead of paying AT&T or Verizon to make real cellular calls? I average close to 95-97% daily wi-fi coverage as well. This is why RW doesn’t charge the rates for cellular service that AT&T and Verizon do–since you use very little cellular data, they can afford to drop the rates on cell service.

How about tethering your signal to wi-fi devices around you for free? Check. How about buying more data if you run out right from your phone? Check. How about software that shows you how much of your precious data that you have used? Check. How about making a call when there is NO cell service but PERFECT wi-fi service? Check. You’re going to hear a lot about wi-fi calling in the next few months–it’s simply the no-brainer way to work when you are near wi-fi and don’t want to pay AT&T prices for data. If you can get over T-Mobile and Sprint coverage, then give these guys a spin.

As far as the overall experience with RW so far, I have to say I’m overall pleased–my teenage daughters’ phones came and since I wasn’t in the same state with them, they actually figured out how to unbox them and set them up themselves. Since they have had these 2 phones, I have not had ONE single issue with the phones or service–if they want to make a call at home, it just goes over wi-fi as advertised–if we are driving around, the phones use a combination of Spring and T-Mobile service. Not as strong as AT&T or Verizon, but, I can’t complain about their signal on the small island here. They are on wi-fi 90% of the time anyway!

What’s the downside? I had a small one during my switch to RW from AT&T this last week. My brand-new Moto G4 that I purchased from RW was perfect for about 3 days–no complaints whatsoever. I even made a 1.5 hour phone call to a mortgage banker and it was wi-fi the entire time to her cellphone–I couldn’t have made that call in the house with AT&T–you have to go to the end of the driveway (and pray) to get a signal for AT&T or Verizon here. That right there paid for itself.

Things got crazy on the 4th day–the day my number ported from AT&T–the screen started freaking out like a ghost was pressing the screen, the programs would crash, the phone would reboot constantly for no reason. I ended up factory wiping the phone a total of 8 times to try to solve it–even right now it’s still crashing every few minutes. I assumed I got a bad phone and opened a ticket with RW. I had a nice fellow assure me it’s fine and we can monitor the situation overnight. I did that and nobody really got back to me the next morning. Or afternoon. Or evening. So, I took to Twitter and begged for a new phone–this one is clearly not right. An hour later, I had the e-mail saying they are sending a new phone. That was a GOOD move, RW. This is why I’m writing this review right now.

I’ll tell you point-blank–dump the contracts from these blood-sucking phone companies and at least try RW. You have a trial period where you can send the phone back if you don’t like it–I’m sure you will like the experience–it’s a no-brainer from the money side. We are all around wi-fi most of our lives–use that to make phone calls–it just doesn’t get better than that. Yes, you pay for the phone up front–but–you own it. No contracts, no rental fees, no damage penalties.

i loved RW before I had a phone with them and now that they came through and fixed an obvious lemon-phone issue without any qualms, I love them even more now. They are refreshing and progressive and I give 2 full thumbs up!

5 Things You Need to Know About the Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger

The Time Warner and charter communications mega merger

Is the Time Warner and charter communications merger going to be good for consumers?

As of May 13, 2016, the Time Warner & Charter cable merger is about to be finalized. If you happen to live in an area where Time Warner is one of the only cable providers, such as myself, here are some things you’re going to want to know about going forward. Even though we personally don’t subscribe to Time Warner’s cable service, We are one of their Internet customers. This is only because we really only have two choices, which is either Time Warner cable, or Verizon DSL. We’ve tried the DSL route before and it’s horrible. Here’s a little research we’ve done to see what’s going to change when this merger finally ends up going through.

How big is Time Warner and Charter about to get?

This mega merger will total about 17 million cable subscribers and about 19 million Internet subscribers to Time Warner and Charter total. This puts them second behind Comcast which is currently the largest cable provider in the United States. If you recall, in 2014 Comcast tried to purchase Time Warner Cable but failed due to regulations. After all is said and done, Comcast and New Charter will own about 80 to 90% of the entire Internet broadband market in United States alone.

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The seven year rule

As part of this merger, Charter communications will not be able to charge video streaming companies extra money to improve the delivery of their video content. This includes streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon video streaming. This rule is in effect for seven years from the date of the merger. Charter will also not be able to come up with any policies that will inhibit these video providers from delivering content to their subscribers. Charter will also not be able to institute data caps on their Internet service.

A name is a name is a name

After the Time Warner and Charter cable merger goes through, Charter Communications will name itself “New Charter.” We can probably assume that the name Time Warner will probably just fade away.

Will there be any hidden costs?

As far as we can see, the rates for Cable services and Internet services from the New Charter company should not go up in the short term. In a merger of this size and scope, it would be beneficial for the New Charter to be on it’s absolute best behavior for the next couple of years as the dust settles. They are also committed to providing the best customer service, which is supposedly better than the customer service Time Warner currently offers. As far as price increases in the future, this is probably inevitable and will eventually be something that new charter will rollout. We’re still unsure about things like Internet modem fees, which can currently be avoided by buying your own equipment as we talked about here.

Filling in some Internet access holes

Under this new merger of Time Warner and Charter Communications, a number of low income households will now have access to high-speed Internet. Recent research states that seven out of 10 teachers assign homework that needs to have Internet access. One third of school-age children are unable to get online due to financial concerns. This should change with new plans being offered by this cable giant that will bring down rates for people who currently can’t afford the high rates.

What were also unsure of are the plans for fiber Internet service from this cable giant. In the past Charter has been very vocal about not providing higher speed fiber-optic networks to cities due to the cost and technical hurdles to bring the service to more homes such as Google fiber. As more high definition video content becomes available, consumers are going to be requesting more options to access this content, such as high speed fiber Internet.

It’s still too early to see what the final ramifications of the cable merger of this size will cause, but we will be keeping our eye on it as we are also Time Warner customers. Hopefully by combining these two companies, this will encourage competition between Comcast and New Charter and bring better service for all of those involved.

What is the New GBoard Keyboard for IOS From Google?

Google's GBoard Keyboard for iOS

Google‘s new keyboard helps bring the Google search right to your keyboard

In a slightly strange move, Google released a special keyboard, called “Gboard” for IOS users on May 12, 2016.

The strange part about this move, is Google usually releases these kind of products for Android first. This new keyboard by Google, features a small button in the lower left hand corner of the keyboard, that allows users to instantly search Google without leaving your keyboard. This is pretty cool because normally you would have to copy and paste text into a search box, which means you have to leave the current program you’re in.

With this new keyboard, the search box is simply built right into the keyboard so you never have to leave the program. The instant Google results show up a small cards that you can simply drag and drop right into any text field that you happen to be working with such as a texting application. If you happen to be texting a friend about going out for dinner, you can simply bring up this new keyboard, do a search for the restaurant, and instantly paste the results right into the chat. This can literally save you about four five different steps. This is definitely an interesting product from Google and appears to be closely related to their Google Now-On-Tap product that appears on android-based devices. Google now on tap still requires an extra step or two unlike this special keyboard.

When will GBoard appear on Android and other platforms?

This is a product that will certainly show up in other third-party keyboards such as SwiftKey and Google’s keyboard for Android. Google has not said when it will be released to the Android platform, however, it is available now on the iOS app store for free. This new keyboard should work on any iOS device you happen on such as an iPhone or iPad.

You can download the special new keyboard from Google for your IOS devices here.

What Apple needs to do to stay relevant in the future

Apple's Pray Wired Cover

Hopefully, we won’t be seeing a cover like this anytime soon.

Well, it’s that time once again. Almost on cue, every few years, the Apple “death knell” begins. This time, investors are getting nervous due to one of the first Apple (AAPL) earnings reports to fall flatter than usual. This red flag is now hoisted over the Apple kingdom, with Tim Cook trying to diffuse the situation by recently appearing on Jim Cramer’s financial show on CNBC. The public wasn’t overly pleased with the appearance, even though it did bring the Apple stock shares up a bit in the following days. Even comparisons to former Apple CEO John Sculley (who fired Steve Jobs from Apple before Jobs’ return to Apple) seem to be bubbling to the surface of Tim Cook’s Apple tenure. The public is now starting to ask, “What’s going on with Apple?”

Who’s the current visionary at Apple?

Well, first things first. We can all agree that Tim Cook is simply not Steve Jobs. We can also agree that there simply just isn’t a Steve Jobs anywhere near Apple at this point–that’s a sad statement to make, but, it’s simply the truth. Steve Jobs was someone who simply probably won’t be reincarnated anytime soon by any company out there–he was simply an enigma who was placed perfectly in the right place at the right time. Tim Cook cannot simply become Steve Jobs–they are remarkably 2 different people in most ways. Going down the executive chain brings the same result–there simply are no Steve Jobs visionaries waiting in the wings, as far as we can see. This is not to say that there will never be another Steve Jobs in the tech industry, but, as far as the stock-buying public is concerned, we are simply left to ponder the Apple under Tim Cook for the foreseeable future.

Apple seems to be caught in a predictable vacuum of the old Apple glory days–churning out various iterations of the same iPhone, iPad, MacBook, etc. These products have been the foundation and bedrock of Apple for years, obviously–however–the fatigue is starting to eat away at that very foundation. The die-hard Apple fans who survived Steve Jobs’ death and looked forward to the post-Jobs Apple are now slowly starting to question the company under Tim Cook. They are wondering where those electrifying and legendary Apple keynote speeches have gone. They are wondering how many more versions of the iPhone and iPad they actually want to purchase, with very little changes between releases of these products. They are wondering what’s happening to the Macintosh operating system, which feels like it’s starting to meld to iOS and take features and familiar software away, such as iPhoto. As with anything, what goes up, must eventually come down, whether completely crashing into the ground, or, just dropping altitude slowly.

It’s time for Apple to get back into the hype and excitement business–releasing insanely new products that we never thought would exist–not just regurgitations of the same old cash cow products with different colors and thinner footprints than before. Tim Cook will never be Steve Jobs, nor should he have to be. What he needs to do, however, is find something or someone as exciting and visionary as Steve was–as close as he can get. Is this impossible? Probably damn close to impossible. However, the public isn’t going to wait forever before their short attention spans begin to wander to the next gee-whiz company, who will try to introduce new products and concepts to capture their attention.

What’s the next big thing from Apple?

Obviously, that’s an impossible question to answer unless you are in the R & D lab at Apple. I have to maintain that more versions of the iPhone and iPad aren’t it. Yes, they will be here forever, I’m sure, but, they aren’t game changers anymore. Adding fingerprint sensors and other “features” to these aging devices isn’t new or revolutionary. The Apple public needs the fuse lit on the next insanely great products and services that they have come to expect from the Steve Jobs-era Apple. The very long-term existence of Apple depends on it at this time, or, they are going to be relegated to being the next ho-hum conglomerate company, such as Sony. Apple is too good and has come to far to become irrelevant due to the lack of vision that the company once, and then twice, and maybe even three times had. Tim Cook has to decide who the next visionary is, and make them front and center, much like Steve Jobs was.

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As far as Apple’s current lineup goes, it probably is due for a total shakeup–a shakeup not seen since Jobs swooped in and dropped the hammer across every part of the company, product by product. If there’s no such thing as the “next big thing,” then Apple needs to take a long, hard look at their current product family and really do some soul-searching as to what stays, what goes and what gets overhauled for the next iteration of Apple. Once again, I keep seeing the same treadmill-effect each quarter of “new” products–which tend to just be size and color changes, processor speed-bumps and things getting thinner and more delicate. This vicious circle needs to end or we as Apple customers are going to get bored and move onto greener pastures–if there are any. Most large tech product companies are in relatively the same boat as Apple finds itself in now, including Samsung. This is yet another company that is just piling on “features,” which really don’t equate to much in the end–it’s still the same old phone with a fresh coat of paint. At this pace, it’s going to be young, small and nimble companies that rise from the bottom of the pile to complete this task, by introducing crazy new products and services that we have never even thought of yet. With the billions of dollars in the bank that Apple has, this should be first and foremost on the Apple roadmap–before the little guys come nipping at their heels.

What does Apple do now?

Apple has a lot of reinventing to do at this point–serious reinventing to get the groundswell back from the Steve Jobs era. Here’s a few thoughts, from the top of my head:

  • Do I dare say break Apple into smaller pieces? Maybe. Pieces that go together like jigsaw pieces, not completely separate companies that don’t have anything to do with each other. What does Apple want to be? A computer company? A phone company? An Internet services company? A watch company? This starts to remind me of Sony, who just put out random product after product, not really ever knowing what kind of company they wanted to be. At least break off the iOS business so it can flourish and be its own entity once and for all. Apple started as a computer company, and it seems that it should go back to the roots and become the best damn computer company anyone has ever seen.
  • Let’s lose some of the dead weight on the Mac side. God, do we really need a MacBook, a MacBook Air, and a MacBook Pro? Give us one product with the best features of all 3 products melded together. Allow it to be upgraded and customized in different ways, if you must, but we don’t need all of these strangely similar products–it’s just overkill now. Make one killer laptop that rules them all. Another set of strangely unneeded products include the Mac Pro and Mac Mini. The Mac Mini was once needed to convert PC users–that’s no longer the case–if they haven’t converted to the Mac by now, then this machine is probably not going to tip them to the Mac. Kill it, or, better yet, make it a Mac on a stick. If I could carry my thumb-sized HDMI-enabled Mac around in my shirt pocket and just plug it into the back of a monitor or TV, that would be amazing–even more so if it was priced accordingly so the masses could afford it without a second thought. The Mac Pro? A very niche product designed to keep the audio and video people happy. Are they happy? Not sure. I think it’s a pretty strange product that could be absorbed into the iMac line, which should stay put. Keep the venerable iMac line and do the same thing as earlier with the portable line–make it one unified machine with upgrade and customization options that anyone can understand and build to their liking. A grandmother building an iMac should have the option of a low-end set of specs and obviously pay less than a video professional building a monster version of the same exact machine at a higher price point.
  • The TV situation. Still not sure about the AppleTV product. I’m not convinced on what it’s trying to be, but, I still like the size and easiness of the Google ChromeCast. Couldn’t they offer up a standard Apple display that doesn’t cost a huge amount of money, but, houses the AppleTV guts as a bonus feature? This display would be priced cheap enough to sell along with the iMac and would fit the iMac shape, size and style perfectly. The general public has no idea how cool and productive multiple monitors are. Make it affordable and have the AppleTV be a part of it, like the old TV cards you used to be able to put in the early Mac towers. Maybe make the AppleTV the same size as the Chromecast, so it could be easily transferred from location to location. Does Apple need to make a full on TV? Probably not. Just make this tiny Chromecast-type device to trojan horse itself onto every TV that is already out there with an HDMI port.
  • Wearables. I do believe the wearable market is an up and coming market–I think we’ve only just begun here. Do I like the Apple Watch? Not really. It feels like it’s trying to be a bit too fancy with the crazy bubble icon interface. I do like the customization options–this is somewhere where Apple gets it–especially for women watch wearers. On the Android watch side, it seems as though they are only targeting men, which is excluding a huge untapped market. What comes next for wearables, especially from Apple? Not sure on that one. I would like something a bit more substantial on my wrist–larger screen with more to do on it. I mean, we do carry our phones everywhere with us–why can’t I wear something similar if I choose? Better yet, get us to the point where a Google Glass device is actually relevant and desired. When I first saw the Google Glass video, I felt like that was something out of an Apple commercial–while it didn’t succeed as much as they hoped, it’s still an exciting product that could be reworked by Apple into something amazing.
  • Mac OS X Server software. I still scratch my head to this day about this server software and what it really could be. Have you ever tried to work with this software? I’ll say, from an expert-level Mac background, that this software is confusing, difficult, moody and just plain hard to deal with. My vision of a “server” product is simply a Mac Mini-sized product that just gets dropped into a space and…just works as a server. Imagine back to the Steve Jobs keynote where he hooks a wall of iMacs to one central Mac system and they all boot from this one central Mac. None of those iMacs had hard drives in them, yet, they simply netbooted right from the central Mac. Imagine that in a business environment? Cheap Apple displays with enough guts to just hook to the network and boot from your central server. No crazy software to deal with–make the server software as easy to use as other Apple products–make it easy enough for an office assistant to run and configure it. Imagine this product at home? One simple box to run the whole house–outfit the house with the same Apple displays or dumbed down Macbooks to simply boot from this central server with a simple version of Apple Remote Desktop running on top. Now you have full control and administration of all of these “dumb” terminals from one location. Keeping the family on the same page with updates, parental control and software installation just got a lot easier.
  • Have you heard of Amazon’s “Echo” products? If you haven’t, they are basically Siri or Google Now for the home. You simply pop one of these sleek devices in the room and start talking to it–from getting stock prices to turning off lights, this is one step closer to the “Jetsons” home. Where is Apple in this space? For all of the hype surrounding Siri, Apple is nowhere to be seen in this space. The Echo product line is a sleeper hit that nobody predicted–easy enough for anyone to use and it just works. Imagine an Apple-branded device running Siri placed in the kitchen or living room. Imagine it able to tap into our server products, our mobile devices and home automation products. Better yet, let’s kill a few birds with one stone–graft this technology into our home server, add router and Time Machine functionality and you can now get rid of the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule–2 more products which I absolutely can’t stand. At this point, you would actually have one master box, sitting in the home (or office) that would be able to listen to our commands, allow dumb terminals to boot from it and give separate user spaces to anyone in the building, route our Internet traffic and make sure our important data is safely backed up. This would be your Amazon Echo on steroids.
  • Apple’s Smart Home Plans. “HomeKit” seems to be an easy win for Apple–it’s easy to use, works the way you expect it to and it’s an Apple branded product. There’s not much criticism here–this is one thing they are doing right. Of course, integrate this tech into our smart server mentioned above and we’re on our way to something great.
  • Apple’s Mac OS X Software. Ahh, the crown jewel of the Apple empire–or is it these days? This single operating system has changed the face of personal computing–since 1984 to be exact. These days, I’m not sure where the Mac OS X is headed, especially with the “vision” of turning everyone’s computer into an iPad. That is just a bad, bad idea, Apple. I don’t want an iPad as my daily driver. I’m not keen on iOS replacing Mac OS X. They are 2 different things completely and should be. This is where I begin to pine for iOS to be split away from Apple into its own division making its own way. If I wanted my computer to be an iPad, I would just go buy an iPad. For the Apple die-hards, we will always want Mac OS X and real, well-built computers from Apple to be available. The iPad and iPhone generation may think otherwise, but, computers are still relevant. I’m starting to find myself feeling kind of sad watching the direction of Mac OS X–and it’s the little things that are starting to make me feel that way. Little things like taking certain features away from the OS that we’ve taken for granted (i.e. why can’t we clone hard drives or repair permissions in Disk Utility anymore?) Or making visual changes that we have no control over, such as the stupid new look of the flat icons. I’d love to see more of a modular look to the OS–such as letting me simply turn off and on certain parts of the OS that I either use or not. Give me simple on and off switches to turn off things like Notifications and Mission Control and give me back the system resources when I do turn them off. Give me a simple System Preferences area–the current version is a mess. Do we need 3 separate preference panes for the keyboard, trackpad and mouse? Simplify, Apple. And about the whole Desktop metaphor that’s been the same since 1984–are we ready to move on to something new and more advanced?
  • The Apple Car. I’m not sure if this is something we actually need from Apple, but, I get the feeling that they will have hurt feelings if they don’t show up to the grand self-driving auto revolution that Tesla and Google are about to lay on our laps. Does Apple really need to make an entire car? No. They would be better off to just partner with an existing automaker, integrate the driving technology if they must, and let one of the automakers do the heavy lifting. This is exactly what Google is doing as we speak–why reinvent the wheel, no pun intended? The carmakers know how to build cars. Apple, Google and even 3rd party companies (George Hotz) have the know-how to make the software to drive those cars autonomously. Again, does Apple need to do this? I would say no–concentrate on what you do best.
  • Repair and maintenance. Why on Earth is Apple making computers and mobile devices harder to repair? Is it a cash-grab to get these broken devices into the Apple retail stores where they can only be fixed in-house, thus causing you to spend more or buy new products as you wait? If so, that’s a pretty crappy move. More than a good portion of our population could replace an iPhone screen or battery if the devices were modular. Ever hear of Project Ara, Apple? It’s a move by Google to modularize your mobile devices. Imagine if you suddenly dropped your iPhone and smashed the screen. Now, here comes the fun part. Instead of making a Genius Bar appointment and trudging to the mall, you simply order up a new screen from the Apple website and it arrives within 24 hours–if you want to add points, offer in-store pickup as well. When the screen arrives, you simply UNSNAP the old display and SNAP A NEW ONE ON. I capitalized and bolded those for a reason–it’s that easy. Google’s version is even built on a magnetic mechanism. Why all phones on the planet are not built this way is beyond me–it’s brilliant and so much easier than dealing with the nonsense that we go through today. Same thing goes for the Macs–all parts should be modular. If I’m even reasonably technical-minded, allow me to change out my own batteries, hard drives, displays, etc. Don’t glue computers together so there is little chance of opening them or getting them back together again. Don’t change to anti-tamper screws. Don’t make insides of computers and technology inaccessible, especially to the upcoming generation who is destined to just throw away every single device they own when the battery dies or the hard drive fails–empower them to work on their own stuff. Make us want to see what is inside our technology, or, at least make them modular so I can fix and upgrade them ourselves. Stop pulling the “it must be fixed at Apple by Apple” card–it’s outdated and draconian thinking. We’re adults and a good portion of us can work inside computers–for those that cannot, at least modularity will give them a chance to feel good when they fix their own computer.

In closing…

I’m going to assume that I will be adding much more to this already-long article–so, in closing, I hope and pray that Apple begins to prepare for the next generation and not just coast on previous products and ideas. Tim Cook still has very large shoes to fill, and I think he may need to start finding the next visionary to do just that. Apple can do this, but, they are going to need to buckle down and focus and really become a company of the future, not of the past.

New Mac OS X ‘Keranger’ Ransomware: What You Need To Know

Transmission Mac Ransomware

Transmission Mac Ransomware

On March 4th 2016, virus researchers discovered a nasty new form of ‘ransomware,’ or software that can take over a Macintosh computer and encrypt and lock the files for monetary payment. This particular strain of ransomware is unique because A.) It’s one of the first public instances of ransomware on the Macintosh platform and B.) It was snuck onto the Mac platform by a popular piece of software commonly used to download torrents, such as movies and television shows called “Transmission.” Security researchers are calling this ransomware “OSX.KeRanger.A”

The delivery mechanism for this ransomware was also unique in that it appeared to sneak in with a very common update to the Transmission software. Most users simply perform these updates without thought, and that’s where the ransomware was hidden–in a seemingly normal text RTF document. Once the malware executes, it silently begins to encrypt the user files in the background–as well as any Time Machine backups–and then alerts the user to pay 1 bitcoin (which is equal to about $400) to unlock the files. By using Bitcoin to pay the ransom, the transactions become virtually untraceable.

Here’s what you need to know about this ransomware if you are using Transmission on a Macintosh:

  1. Immediately perform an upgrade to the Transmission software if you are currently running version 2.90. The currently unaffected version is now 2.92 and can be found at the Transmission website located here.
  2. The malware can take up to 3 days to begin work when installed.
  3. Apple has revoked the security certificate for the malicious software, which should stop it from being installed in the future.
  4. The Transmission authors have removed the malicious installers from their website, however, the malicious software still seems to be under development.
  5. The infected Transmission installers include an extra file (which looks like a text file) named General.rtf in the Transmission.app/Contents/Resources directory.
  6. Upon execution, the ransomware will create 3 files called “.kernel_pid”, “.kernel_time” and “.kernel_complete” in the ~/Library directory. It will then attempt to sleep for about 3 days before continuing.
  7. The user will then receive a text file explaining how to decrypt the files by purchasing a bitcoin and paying it to a particular address.
  8. The malware will encrypt many types of files, including documents, photos, audio and video, archive files, email and database files.
  9. Users should check /Applications/Transmission.app/Contents/Resources/ to see if a file called General.rtf exists. If so, delete your copy of Transmission immediately.
  10. Users can check Activity Monitor for a process called “kernel_service” in the list. If you see this process, select the process and choose “Open Files and Ports” and see if it contains a filename such as “/Users/<user_name>/Library/kernel_service,” which is most probably the main process of this ransomware. You can force quit this process by choosing “Quit –> Force Quit”
  11. Users should check for files with the names “.kernel_pid”, “.kernel_time”, “.kernel_complete” and “kernel_service” located in the ~/Library directory on the Mac. These files can be safely deleted.
  12. Apple will now present a message telling the user that they can no longer install an infected version of Transmission. All that they can do is to eject the disk image.

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