Choosing Comfort Over Privacy

It looks like Apple “needs” to upload even your unsaved documents to its servers to make the newly introduced Continuity “feature” work.

Also it seems Apple silently uploads names and email addresses of all the people you correspond with–no, not only the ones in your address book–just to have a “consistent” experience when displaying recent addresses.

It scares me how little their customer’s privacy must be worth when they choose (these are not accidental data “leaks”) to silently violate them in order to provide comfort features.

Update 2014-10-30:
It seems there is at least a hidden configuration option to turn this behavior off:

 

Apple’s Spotlight Search Phones Home

OS X Yosemite seems to have gained the feature to “phone home” when you do spotlight searches. It’ll send search terms and your location data to Apple’s servers. Of course it’s perfectly in line with Apple’s recent “trust us, we won’t collect unnecessary data” rhetoric.

[…] Ashkan Soltani, an independent researcher and consultant, confirmed the behavior, labeling it “probably the worst example of ‘privacy by design’ I’ve seen yet.” Users don’t even have to search to give up their privacy. Apple immediately sends the user’s location to the company, according to Soltani.

You can turn it off, but it’s on by default.

Looking Up Crash Reports In OS X

If you find yourself–like me–in the situation that your Mac has crashed and you want to retrieve the crash reports (some call them logs 😉 )? Well, there are basically two ways.

You can look them up with the “Console” tool (find it in  /Applications/Utilities/Console  or with Spotlight). Open the “System Diagnostic Reports” section on the left and find an entry similar to  Kernel_<date>_<your_pc_name>.panic  at the top.

You can also find these reports as text files under  /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports with the same names. OS X will open them with the Console tool per default.

Cheers. 😀

Custom CAs everywhere

I recently finished introducing custom CA infrastructure in two instances. Each having two sub CAs, two Servers and a bunch of users. The “create your own CA” part was quite easy after I found  a dated but still accurate tutorial. In hindsight it is quite silly why I didn’t do this before.

On the server side I had to make it work on:

  • Apache
  • Nginx
  • Postfix
  • Cyrus
  • Dovecot

Each expecting its own Format/Packing of certificates, keys and certificate chains. :/

On the client side I had to produce installation and configuration howtos for Windows and OS X and a bunch of popular browsers and email clients. Then there is the “user education” part … this is still in progress, but its looking good.

All in all, I’m happy with the result. 🙂

Get rid of OS X ‘Quarantine Events’

So it seems OS X keeps track of all your downloads (even if you are using the Incognito/Private Browsing mode of your browser).

It stores the information in the following files:

  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.QuarantineEventsV2 on Lion
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.QuarantineEvents on Snow Leopard

They are SQLite databases and can be manipulated with the right tools.

So to delete all the contents you need to open the file for your version of OS X (Lion in my case).

In the SQLite console delete all entries in the one table it contains.

This statement works in either file, but if you have Lion you might as well get rid of the old file.