Influent immerses players in a fully interactive 3D environment where the names for absolutely every object in the game can be gleaned with a single click! Even more information can be learned with a double-click!
Every door, drawer, and cabinet can be opened with a right-click here and a right-click there, revealing more and more things to be learned!
Packed to the brim with hundreds of native audio pronunciations (painstakingly recorded specifically for this game), Influent offers players a unique opportunity to enjoy learning both vocabulary and pronunciation in the language of their choice.
Audio from native speakers
Synonym swap functionality
Learn at your own pace!
Fully interactive modern apartment
Over 420 words to collect and master
Includes Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs
15+ Languages to choose from (more to come!)
Influent : How To Get It Free!
Adding to your Humble Bundle Account
Humble Bundle is giving away Influent for FREE up till 1 December 2020, at 4 PM MYT (GMT+8).
Log into Humble Bundle, or create your free account.
After years of letting third-party companies sell camera covers, Apple just issued a warning that using a camera cover can damage your MacBook laptop!
Find out what’s going on, and why using a camera cover may be critical for your privacy, but can damage your MacBook!
Warning : Using A Camera Cover Can Damage Your MacBook!
In a new technical advisory, Apple warns that closing your MacBook laptop with a camera cover attached could physically damage the display, due to the limited clearance between the display and the chassis.
In addition, installing a camera cover can block the ambient light sensor located next to the camera. This will prevent features like automatic brightness and True Tone from working properly.
If you close your Mac notebook with a camera cover installed, you might damage your display because the clearance between the display and keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances.
macOS Catalina (or macOS version 10.15) is coming in October 2019, bringing with it a slew of really nice improvements and new features.
However, unlike earlier macOS releases – you need to prepare for macOS Catalina, or you could run into trouble right after the upgrade!
macOS Catalina Requirements
Before we start, make sure you have one of these systems – macOS Catalina will only run on these Mac computers.
iMac Pro : All models
iMac : Late 2012 or newer
Mac Pro : Late 2013 or newer
Mac mini : Late 2012 or newer
MacBook Pro : Mid 2012 or newer
MacBook : Early 2015 or newer
MacBook Air : Mid 2012 or newer
macOS Catalina – Don’t Upgrade Until You Do This First!
Unlike earlier versions of macOS, Catalina drops support for 32-bit apps. Therefore, you must check if you are still using any 32-bit apps before you upgrade.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to check for 32-bit apps in macOS :
Click on the Apple icon on the top left of the task bar.
Select About This Mac from the pull-down list.
In the Overview screen, click on the System Report… button.
When System Report loads, select Software > Applications from the column on the left.
It will now take a minute or two to scan all of your apps.
Once it loads, you can scroll through all of your apps to look for any that have their 64-Bit (Intel) status marked No.
However, an EASIER method is to locate the 64-Bit (Intel) column, and click on it to list all those marked No at the top.As you can see, quite a number of applications, including those used to setup the actual apps, are still 32-bit apps.
Now, you need to uninstall all those 32-bit apps and replace them with 64-bit versions. Otherwise, they will all fail to work once you upgrade to Catalina!
Why Do You Need To Run This Check Again?
You need to find out what 32-bit apps you are still running, because they will NOT work after you install macOS Catalina.
You will need to upgrade these 32-bit apps with newer 64-bit versions, BEFORE you upgrade to macOS Catalina.
Can’t I Upgrade My Apps After I Upgrade To macOS Catalina?
It is possible to remove your 32-bit apps and install their 64-bit versions after upgrading to macOS Catalina.
However, you may have trouble removing all of the older components, if the old 32-bit app used an installer.
So we highly recommend that you uninstall all 32-bit apps, and install their 64-bit versions… BEFORE you upgrade to macOS Catalina.
Official Mac eGPU support just arrived with macOS 10.13.4! Yes, you can now add an eGPU (external graphics processor) to your Mac, greatly accelerating its performance and turning it into a gaming machine. Get the full details on the Mac eGPU support you can expect!
New Mac eGPU Support
eGPUs have been in the market for a number of years now, but this is the first time Apple has added official support for them. The new official Mac eGPU support is limited to :
MacBook Pro notebooks released in 2016 or later,
iMac computers released in 2017 or later, and
the iMac Pro
Once you have macOS 10.13.4 installed, you will be able to :
Accelerate applications that use Metal, OpenGL, and OpenCL
Connect additional external monitors and displays
Use virtual reality headsets plugged into the eGPU
Charge your MacBook Pro while using the eGPU
Use an eGPU with your MacBook Pro while its built-in display is closed
Connect an eGPU while a user is logged in
Connect more than one eGPU using the multiple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports on your Mac2
Use the menu bar item to safely disconnect the eGPU
View the activity levels of built-in and external GPUs. Open Activity Monitor, then choose Window > GPU History.
Mac eGPU Support In Applications
The new Mac eGPU support is designed to accelerate Metal, OpenGL and OpenCL applications. In general, installing an eGPU will accelerate these kinds of applications :
Professional applications designed to utilise multiple GPUs
3D games, when an external monitor is attached directly to the eGPU
VR applications, when a VR headset is attached directly to the eGPU
Professional applications and 3D games that can accelerate the built-in display
For the best results, you should set the display attached to the eGPU as the primary display :
Go to System Preferences > Displays
Select the Arrangement tab
Drag the white menu bar to the box that represents the display attached to the eGPU
Note : The eGPU support won’t run in Windows using Boot Camp, or when your Mac is in the macOS Recovery mode, or while installing system updates.
Recommended Mac eGPU Configurations
If you are looking for a pre-configured all-in-one Thunderbolt 3 eGPU package, this was recommended by Apple :
The Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws that the Google Project Zero team discovered are arguably the worst we have ever known. These vulnerabilities were built into BILLIONS of CPUs that we have been using for the last decade or so.
Not just Intel CPUs, but also CPUs made by AMD, Apple and ARM. Even those that power our smartphones and other smart devices!
Let’s take a look at what we know so far about Meltdown and Spectre, how they affect you, and what we can do about them.
This story is still developing. We will update the article as and when new details emerge. Be sure to check back and refresh the page for the latest information!
Article Update History
Click here for the Article Update History
2018-02-17 :Updated the table of CPUs vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre.Updated four sections with new information.
2018-02-05 :Added a table of CPUs vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre.Updated three sections with new information.
2018-01-25 :Revamped the entire article. Added a new section on the difference between Meltdown and Spectre, and a new section on InSpectre. Updated the list of vulnerable processors, mitigation efforts by Microsoft and Apple, as well as the Intel spontaneous reboot issues with their Spectre 2 patches.
2018-01-16 : Updated the list of vulnerable processors, and added a new section on Intel CPUs spontaneously rebooting after applying Meltdown and Spectre patches. Also added cautionary advice on holding off these updates.
2018-01-12 : Updated the article with the AMD confirmation that their processors are vulnerable to both Spectre exploits. Also added details on the Google Retpoline mitigation technique against Spectre attacks.
2018-01-11 : Added new sections on the performance impact of the Meltdown and Spectre mitigation patches, and reports of those patches bricking some AMD PCs. Also expanded the list of affected CPUs, and corrected information on the Intel-SA-00086 Detection Tool.
Between 2018-01-09 and 2018-01-10 : Numerous updates including details of patches and affected CPUs.
Originally posted @ 2018-01-09
The Meltdown + Spectre Vulnerabilities
The Project Zero team identified these vulnerabilities in 2017, reporting it to Intel, AMD and ARM on 1 June 2017.
These vulnerabilities take advantage of the Speculative Execution and Branch Prediction features of the modern processor, that have been used for many years to improve performance.
Speculative Execution lets the CPU predict and pre-execute the next instruction, allowing it to “instantly” deliver the results if it’s correct.
Branch Prediction helps the CPU predict future execution paths that should be speculatively-executed for better performance.
There are THREE (3) variants of the speculative execution CPU bug :
The Spectre attack (whitepaper) exploits variants 1 and 2.
The Meltdown attack (whitepaper) exploits variant 3.
There is a Variant 3a, which appears to affect only certain ARM processors.
What’s The Difference Between Meltdown & Spectre?
Spectre tricks the CPU branch predictor into mis-predicting the wrong path, thereby speculatively executing code that would not otherwise be executed.
Meltdown takes advantage of the out-of-order execution capability of modern processors, tricking them into executing malicious code that would normally not be allowed.
The Spectre name is based on both the root cause – speculative execution, and the fact that it is not easy to fix, and will haunt us for a long time like a spectre (ghost).
The Meltdown name was chosen because the vulnerability “basically melts security boundaries which are normally enforced by the hardware“.
How Bad Are Meltdown & Spectre?
The Spectre exploits let an attacker access and copy information from the memory space used by other applications.
The Meltdown exploit lets an attacker copy the entire physical memory of the computer.
Unless patched, the affected processors are vulnerable to malware and cyberattacks that exploits this CPU bug to steal critical information from running apps (like login and credit card information, emails, photos, documents, etc.)
While the Meltdown exploit can be “fixed”, it is likely that the Spectre exploit cannot be fixed, only mitigated, without a redesign of the processors. That means we will have to live with the risks of a Spectre attack for many more years to come.
The Intel-SA-00086 Detection Tool does NOT detect the processor’s susceptibility to these vulnerabilities. It only checks for different vulnerabilities affecting the Intel Management Engine.
Our reader Arthur shared that the Gibson Research Corporation has an aptly-named utility called InSpectre.
It checks for Meltdown and Spectre hardware and software vulnerabilities in a Windows system. It will help you check if your system is getting patched properly against these vulnerabilities.
What Is Being Done??? Updated!
Note : The terms “mitigate” and “mitigation” mean the possibility of a successfully attacked are reduced, not eliminated.
Intel has started issuing software and firmware updates for the processors introduced in the last 5 years. By the middle of January 2018, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90% of those CPUs. However, that does not address the other Intel processors sold between 2010 and 2012.
Microsoft and Linux have started to roll our the KPTI (Kernel Page Table Isolation) patch, also known as the KAISER (Kernel Address Isolation to have Side-channels Efficiently Removed) patch.
The KPTI or KAISER patch, however, will only protect against the Meltdown exploit. It has no effect on a Spectre attack.
Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 received the KB4056890 security update on 3 January 2018, to prevent a Meltdown attack.
Firefox 57 includes changes to mitigate against both attacks.
Google Chrome 64 will be released on 23 January 2018, with mitigations against Meltdown and Spectre attacks.
For Mac systems, Apple introduced mitigations against Spectre in macOS 10.13.2 (released on 8 January 2018), with more fixes coming in macOS 10.13.3.
For iOS devices, Apple introduced mitigations against Meltdown in iOS 11.2 and tvOS 11.2.
On 8 January 2018, Apple released iOS 11.2.2, which mitigates the risk of the two Spectre exploits in Safari and WebKit, for iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPod touch 6th generation or later.
Google patched Android against both exploits with the December 2017 and January 2018 patches.
Google shared details of their Return Rrampoline (Retpoline) binary modification technique that can be used to protect against Spectre attacks. It is a software construct that ensures that any associated speculative execution will “bounce” (as if on a trampoline) endlessly.
On 11 January 2018, AMD announced that the “majority of AMD systems” have received the mitigation patches against Spectre 1, albeit some older AMD systems got bricked by bad patches. They also announced that they will make “optional” microcode updates available for Ryzen and EPYC processors by the same week.
In the same 11 January 2018 disclosure, AMD also shared that Linux vendors have started to roll out OS patches for both Spectre exploits, and they’re working on the “return trampoline (Retpoline)” software mitigations as well.[adrotate group=”2″]
First and foremost – DO NOT PANIC. There is no known threat or attack using these exploits.
Although we listed a number of important patches below, the buggy updates are worse than the potential threat they try to fix. So we advise HOLDING OFF these patches, and wait for properly-tested versions a few weeks down the line.
If you are using an iOS device, get updated to iOS 11.2 or tvOS 11.2.
If you are using Firefox, update to the latest Firefox 57.
If you are using Google Chrome, make sure you watch out for Chrome 64, which will be released on 23 January.
Download and install the latest software firmware updates from your PC, laptop, motherboard brands. In particular, install the latest driver for the Intel Management Engine (Intel ME), the Intel Trusted Execution Engine (Intel TXE), and the Intel Server Platform Services (SPS)
If you are using an Intel system, hold off updating your firmware, unless you have already verified that your CPU is not affected by the buggy Intel patches, or Intel has already issued corrected patches.
The Performance Impact Of The Mitigation Patches
Many benchmarks have been released, showing performance impacts of between 5% to 30%, depending on the type of benchmark and workload. Microsoft has called those benchmark results into question, stating that they did not cover both operating system and silicon microcode patches.
Within a week after the Meltdown and Spectre exploits revealed, the first Apple Spectre patches were introduced. And Apple has finally released their next slew of patches that will help protect Apple computers against Meltdown and Spectre.
There has been some confusion about what was “fixed” in which patch. In this article, we will share with you exactly mitigations were introduced in which OS X update. As usual, we will update this article, as and when new Apple Spectre or Meltdown patches are released.
The Apple Spectre + Meltdown Patches
macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Supplemental Update
Date Of Introduction : 8 January 2018
Operating System Patched : macOS 10.13 High Sierra
GPZ Variant Addressed : Spectre 1 and 2 (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715)
The first known update was the macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Supplemental Update. It introduced a number of mitigations against the two Spectre variants (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715). Specifically, several security improvements were made to Safari and WebKit.
After updating, Safari will be upgraded to version 11.0.2 (13604.4.7.1.6) or version 11.0.2 (13604.4.7.10.6).
Security Update 2018-001 Sierra
Date Of Introduction : 23 January 2018
Operating System Patched : macOS 10.12 Sierra
GPZ Variant Addressed : Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754)
This security update patched all versions of macOS Sierra against the Meltdown exploit (CVE-2017-5754).
Security Update 2018-001 El Capitan
Date Of Introduction : 23 January 2018
Operating System Patched : OS X 10.11 El Capitan
GPZ Variant Addressed : Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754)
This security update patched all versions of OS X El Capitan against the Meltdown exploit (CVE-2017-5754).
Outstanding Apple Spectre + Meltdown Patches
From what we understand, these are the likely Apple Spectre and Meltdown patches that are still outstanding, and will eventually be released :
A Meltdown patch for macOS High Sierra
Spectre mitigation patches for macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan
EFI firmware updates for various Mac computers
We will update this article, as and when new Apple Spectre or Meltdown patches are released.
Thanks to NVIDIA GeForce NOW, your underpowered PC can now let you play games as if it is powered by a high-performance GeForce GTX graphics card! And best of all, NVIDIA is now offering GeForce NOW as a free beta for Windows and Mac desktops and laptops!
What Is NVIDIA GeForce NOW?
NVIDIA GeForce NOW is a game-streaming service that connects your Windows or macOS computer to supercomputers in the cloud that stream 1080p graphics at up to 120 frames per second!
Since all of the graphics processing happens in NVIDIA’s data centers, you can now play the latest PC games even on PCs with low performance integrated graphics. All you have to do is connect to your game library on digital stores like Uplay PC and Steam, and start playing!
Always Updated, Always Expanding
NVIDIA GeForce NOW receives regular updates, including service enhancements, new games and additional data centers. In fact, the 10th NVIDIA GeForce NOW data center was recently opened in Amsterdam.
GeForce NOW also handles your system maintenance tasks, ensuring that patches and driver updates are installed automatically. It also enables cloud saves for cross-platform play.
The Free Public Beta Details
NVIDIA GeForce NOW is currently available as a free public beta for Windows and Mac desktops and laptops in most of North America and Europe.
The app has been localized in French and German, with local language support for many top and diverse gaming experiences including PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, Arma 3, Garry’s Mod, Fortnite, and more.
Lemi Orhan Ergin did not give Apple any forewarning when he publicly revealed the massive macOS root bug on Twitter. He basically exposed a zero-day vulnerability for hackers to use, while Apple rushed on a bug fix. The good news is Apple just issued the root bug fix in Security Update 2017-001.
This is really fast work, but it also showed their sloppiness. Hopefully, the bug fix does not introduce additional bugs!
macOS Security Update 2017-001
Apple released macOS Security Update 2017-001 just a day after the macOS root bug was revealed. They also gave us more information on the bug that caused so much ruckus around the world (and rightly so).
The bug only affected macOS High Sierra 10.13.1.
The bug did not affect computers running macOS Sierra 10.12.6 or earlier.
They confirmed that it allowed an attacker to “bypass administrator authentication without supplying the administrator’s password“.
The Internet is abuzz with the shocking revelation that now everyone can hack an Apple computer… as long as it’s using the latest macOS High Sierra operating system. Let us explain what’s going on, and share with you the workaround for the macOS High Sierra root bug.
Updated @ 2017-11-30 : Added a new section on the Apple bug fix (Security Update 2017-001) , and additional information on the root bug .
Originally posted @ 2017-11-29
What Is Root User?
If you are the primary user of a MacOS X system, you have an administrator account with administrator privileges. This gives you more privileges and access than a standard user account. However, that is not the highest access level possible.
There is a Mac superuser account called “root” that gives you elevated read and write privileges to hidden or protected areas of the system. With the Mac root user account, you can even access files in other user accounts.
In fact, it gives you such God-like powers, you can modify or even delete critical system files. In fact, a Mac root user can use the rm -rf * command to delete the contents of every mounted drive in the computer, until macOS crashes when a crucial file or folder is deleted.
So this Mac root user account should only remain disabled unless you really, REALLY need to use it.
On Tuesday, 28 November 2017, Turkish software developer Lemi Orhan Ergin revealed the macOS High Sierra root bug. With a few simple steps, anyone can gain elevated root user privileges in any computer running macOS High Sierra! Here is a summary of what we know about the root bug :
The root bug exploit requires a computer running macOS High Sierra, with multiple user accounts.
When prompted for a username and password, use these steps to gain root user access without any password :
Type “root” as the username and leave the password field blank.
Just click “Unlock” twice.
The root bug cannot be exploited remotely, unless screen sharing is enabled.
The root bug was introduced in macOS High Sierra 10.13.1. Earlier versions of macOS were not affected.
Apple confirmed that the bug was due to “a logic error… in the validation of credentials“.
Apple also confirmed that the bug would allow an attacker to “bypass administrator authentication without supplying the administrator’s password“.
Several security researchers successfully replicated the bug.
The macOS High Sierra root bug is EXTREMELY serious, because it allows a hacker to easily bypass all of the macOS operating system’s security protections.
It doesn’t matter if you encrypted your computer, and secured it with an extremely long and complex password. Anyone who gains root user privileges using this bug can access (read, copy or move) the files in any user account (even those of an administrator) without knowing the password.
What’s even more troubling is that the root bug works even with a disabled root user account. This means the vast majority of Apple computers running on High Sierra are compromised, as the root user account is disabled by default.
How To Fix The Root Bug?
Unlike other security researchers, Lemi Orhan Ergin did not forewarn Apple before publicly revealing the bug, on Twitter no less. He basically exposed a zero-day vulnerability for hackers to use, while Apple rushes to fix the bug.
1. Install macOS Security Update 2017-001 New!
Apple just released Security Update 2017-001. This update will remove the root bug and improve credential validation. INSTALL THIS UPDATE NOW!
Note : This bug fix will reset and disable the root user account. If you need to use the root user account, you will need to re-enable it, and change its password, after applying the update.
Alternatively, you can opt to move your sensitive data to encrypted containers or drives using third-party encryption utilities like VeraCrypt. Hackers may use the High Sierra root bug to gain access to the encrypted containers or drives, but without the correct password, the actual data won’t be accessible.
4. Physically Protect Your Apple Computer
The good news is the High Sierra root bug generally requires physical access to your Apple computer. Until this bug is fixed, you should make sure your Apple computer is never left unsupervised.
Keep it in a locked room or bag, whenever you are not using it. If no one can get to it, they cannot use the bug to gain root access.
5. Disable Screen Sharing
The High Sierra root bug can be exploited remotely if Screen Sharing is enabled. So make sure you disable Screen Sharing.