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Archive for 2013

NORAD Santa Tracker

by on Dec.13, 2013, under General

NORAD Santa TrackerFor more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.

Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to phone calls and emails from children all around the world. In addition, we now track Santa using the internet. Millions of people who want to know Santa’s whereabouts now visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website.

Finally, media from all over the world rely on NORAD as a trusted source to provide updates on Santa’s journey.

In Memory of Retired Colonel Harry Shoup, NORAD’s First Santa Tracker

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Google Maps Santa Tracker

by on Dec.13, 2013, under General

Google Santa  TrackerOn Christmas Eve Google will be proudly showcasing a preview of Santa’s dashboard — the technology that powers his sleigh during his around-the-world journey. Google received this special preview from one of Santa’s many developer elves, who are hard at work in the North Pole helping Santa prepare for his big day. Santa’s dashboard – featuring the latest and greatest in Google Maps technology and sleigh engineering – will allow you to follow his progress around the world, and also learn a little about some of his stops along the way.

Santa’s friendly elves have also invited you to explore Santa’s village while Santa gets ready for his journey. So go ahead and explore his village, you might just find some fun activities and meet some interesting elves.

The Google Maps Santa Tracker is created and developed by Google, with a little help from Santa’s elves. Need help or have another question? Visit Google’s Help Center to learn more about Santa Tracker.

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The Invincible’s Weak Spot – a New Variant of Malware/Spyware on the Mac OS X Platform

by on Sep.12, 2013, under General

apple-imacEveryone seems to think that Apple’s Mac OS X operating system is 100% virus free – but that’s not true. A new variant of malware has been found that infects Mac OS X machines – here’s more about it, such as how it works, and how you can protect yourself from it.

This new variant of malware (that’s what it’s reported as, I think it’s more towards spyware) has been discovered on OS X by a security company called Intego. The name of the malware is OSX/Tibet.D. It’s a variant of the Tibet viruses, which have been known to infect Macs in the past. This nasty infection enables the attacker to access files on your computer, as well as initiate commands.

According to Mashable, Apple hasn’t yet responded to their request for a comment.

Here’s more on what it does, and how it works (a.k.a. the technical stuff… yay!).

What happens is, a Java applet is ran without asking the user. That installs a Java archive which (once installed) creates a backdoor so the attacker can access the data on your computer.

Now, it’s not the only virus on the Macintosh platform, but it’s one of a select common few. It makes it’s way to your machine using a Java applet on a certain website. Java does not come pre-loaded on Mac OS X, as it has been known to be a big security problem in the past. However, you may install it if you like. If Java is not used in 35 days, it is automatically disabled (but you can re-enable it without reinstalling).

What happens is, a Java applet is ran without asking the user. That installs a Java archive which (once installed) creates a backdoor so the attacker can access the data on your computer as well as run commands. The Java vulnerabilities (which have been recently patched in the latest update) that it uses are CVE-2013-2465 and CVE-2013-2471. If you have not updated your Java to the latest version, I’d recommend doing so… pronto!

According to Intego, the files inside the Java archive are the following (image found at Intego’s website – it can be found at this link).


When that archive is installed, it creates these files:

  • /Library/LaunchAgents/AudioService
  • /Library/LaunchAgents/

LaunchAgent is a tool that starts the malware once you reboot the computer. The malware initates the backdoor, known as “AudioService.” What that backdoor does, is it contacts a Chinese command-and-control server. It recieves commands from the attacker through that server, therefore, letting them access the files on your machine.

If you have a Mac, it would be a wise idea to install some kind of antivirus (Intego claims that their VirusBarrier antivirus will protect Macs from that and similar viruses), as well as update Java. Always make sure your programs are updated for added security!

by Gavin Trutzenbach




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