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Archive | December 2015

Steam server caching issue exposes user’s account details

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Right on December 25th the popular computer gaming platform Steam has been struck by a server issue that led to the exposure of user’s account details to potentially anyone. People who had visited any Steam-affiliated link such as the Steam Store or the Community could find themselves viewing it as seen by someone else’s account.

Users weren’t actually logged in as others and no login password could have been stolen in the process. The cache server is one that’s between the user and the actual server hosted by Steam. They hold a copy of a webpage for the intended user and keep it stored there for quick loading; it only gets reloaded if in the meantime the page has changed. In this case the server would mix them up and deliver someone else’s cached page (including the account details one) to a stranger instead of their own. Read More…

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An ill-starred Retina MacBook Pro’s amazing odyssey (and why Apple’s amazing as well)

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Some time ago I talked about an ill-starred Retina MacBook Pro 15″, year 2012. Faulty computers happen, but this particular one was really unlucky to say the least. Quick recap: repaired a grand total of four times in 2015 alone, two times the upper clamshell and the logic board each.

We left ourselves with the logic board finally getting replaced; unfortunately video issues struck again. Weird artifacts were displayed when waking up the computer and once it even had a kernel panic. For me it was yet another visit to the Apple Store where, kindly, they agreed to replace the logic board again (and that was for the fourth intervention). It lasted for four days and then the issue returned. I wasn’t really excited to return to the Apple Store once more: of course it’s a great place, but in these circumstances I was sort of staggered. Read More…

How to have an actual chance of getting your MacBook back if you lose it

One of the handiest features of iCloud is Find my iPhone; if you lose track of it you can easily see its position on a map if its connected to the Internet. Chances are that you left the cellular connection on, so as long as there is signal and turned on you can see where it is. Lock it, emit a sound and remotely erase its data.

While it works for basically every Apple device configured with iCloud, retrieve a lost MacBook is trickier. You can only connect it through WiFi, and if its password locked there is no way someone can connect it to the web.  One can try through LAN cable, but since 2012 Retina MacBook Pro no Apple laptop ever had a LAN port anymore. Additionally there’s no way to identify the owner, and everybody is pretty much free to factory restore it.

What we’re going to do here isn’t anything that has to do with black magic or adding a GPS module inside it to track the Mac even in Siberia or other remote lands: we’re adding a way to let somebody know whose Mac it is if retrieved without the need of unlocking it. Read More…

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