view in plain text or web browser  
Tech Tails | Apple news straight from the Tech Room | | 800-511-MACS
#814: Move to an iPhone, What is Flashback, ROTW, Diamond Protection


As service technicians, we are always getting into your system. Over the past seven years the iMac has changed quite a bit from the small white 17-inch screen with a white acrylic case to the stunning, 27-inch aluminum beast we have now.

The parts inside have changed a lot as well—while some have stayed relatively the same (such as the optical drive and the hard drive), other components such as RAM, AirPort card and logic board have all been reduced in size. While the overall access to the internals of the iMac has become a bit more difficult, we’ve found that the design is one that still amazes through the attention to detail.

We always love to look into the new version of a computer and see what has changed, what has been improved, and what our new challenges are. And of course, we always like it when there are no extra screws left when we are done!


  How Do I Move to an iPhone?  

If you’ve recently purchased an iPhone, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I get all my stuff to it?” People have a lot of information on their phone, whether or not it’s a smartphone, and it would be a pain to enter all those contacts in again. Fortunately, there are a few options to transfer them from one to the other.

If you’re an AT&T customer, you can transfer your contacts to one of the following: Mac Address Book, Outlook, Outlook Express, or Windows Mail. Depending on what kind of phone you have, you might be able to do it though Bluetooth, or through a USB cable specific to your phone. Once the contacts are on your computer, you can use iTunes to transfer your contacts to your new iPhone.

Another option is to transfer your contacts to your SIM card, then put the card in your new iPhone. Tap Settings, then go to Mail, Contacts, Calendars. You’ll see an option to Import SIM Contacts. A support page that explains all this in detail can be found here.

If both your old phone and your new iPhone are on Verizon, you may be able to use Backup Assistant. Before switching to your iPhone, download Backup Assistant to your old phone and sync your contacts to Verizon’s web site. (You may need to set up an online account with them first.) Once it’s complete, you can transfer your phone number to your new iPhone (this method only works if your phone number is the same between both phones.) Now go to the App Store and download VZ Contact Transfer. It will pull your contacts off Verizon’s storage site and put them on your iPhone. You can continue to use VZ Contact Transfer to back up your contacts, but you must sync at least once a month to keep the account active.

If you are transferring from Verizon to AT&T or Sprint, you can still use Backup Assistant to put your contacts onto Verizon’s cloud storage, but you will need to use the site’s export feature to save your contacts to your computer so you can import them into your Address Book and synchronize them via iTunes or iCloud. iCloud support is built into Mac OS X 10.7.2, or if you are on a Windows computer you can download the iCloud Control Panel from Apple to synchronize your iPhone wirelessly.

If you are upgrading from an earlier iPhone or another iOS device, as long as you were already using iTunes or iCloud, then all you have to do is set the new phone up with your Apple ID, and you can restore all your old stuff easily.

  What is Flashback?  

Last October we reported Flashback, (Fake Adobe Updater), which poses as an update to Adobe Flash, but really installs a “backdoor” to allow someone to access your system from remote. This allows them to set up a series of computers in a “botnet,” which can be triggered to attack a web site all at once. Originally, it required the user to enter their administrator password to install, but since its initial discovery this nasty little package is now capable of installing itself without the user authenticating the installer.

As much as Adobe Flash attracts negative press on the Mac platform, Flashback is not actually a Flash vulnerability. Rather, it takes advantage of a security hole in Java (not to be confused with JavaScript.) Flashback can affect versions of Java up to 1.6.0_31. Apple recently patched OS X to close this hole, but a lot of people have been infected already; not only did Apple take a month to release the patch but many people simply do not install Security Updates when they are released.

How do you tell what version of Java you are running on your Mac? One way is to open Terminal (Applications -> Utilities) and simply type the command:

java -version

The output will list the version on your machine. If Java is not installed, it will launch an installer. ´┐╝If you do not already have Java on your machine, you most likely do not need it, as any app that requires it will prompt you to install it.

Next question is, how do you tell if you are infected? F-Secure gives us a few terminal commands that will tell you if Flashback has created libraries in your browser applications. For simplicity, Safari is the browser we are choosing to look into. The commands are as follows:

defaults read /Applications/ LSEnvironment


defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES

If the result of running these commands ends in “does not exist,” the Flashback Trojan has not been installed on your machine. If you do find that your system is infected, you can find steps for manually removing Flashback at F-Secure’s website. You can also download Sophos Free AntiVirus for Mac, which will detect and remove Flashback.

For those of you that are local, Small Dog is offering a removal service for $29.99.

Note that updating your version of Java will secure you against the injection of the code on your machine, but it will not remove the Trojan from your machine should it already be installed.

  RotW: Outlook Web Access vs Safari  

A customer came to the service counter reporting Internet issues with a new machine, specifically that after a time webpages would no longer load. The address bar would show the URL, the progress bar would go a little way across and then Safari would hang up. Restarting Safari allowed her to surf for a time, but then the symptom would recur. I told her I would take a quick look to see if I could find the problem, and maybe see an immediate quick fix.

I was able to connect without issue and navigate to many different pages. Now about half the tech support problems we get are related to Internet issues, and of those the overwhelming majority are pretty simple software fixes. Incorrect and corrupted settings are usually the culprit. After looking at her machine for a couple minutes I was pretty sure it was a software issue. During the rest of that day I wasn’t able to recreate her issue; I was able to go to any number of websites without issue.

At this point I felt that her issue was likely related to the network she was using at home. I repaired permissions, reinstalled the OS, and optimized the Network Settings to give her the best chance to connect. She took the machine home to test with the understanding she would come back if the issue persisted – which of course it did. I came in the following Monday to discover that indeed the issue had reoccurred, and that the customer was pretty disappointed that her new MacBook Pro was having some kind of issue, especially since she was leaving for school that day! I was pretty bummed myself – intermittent issues can be very tricky to diagnose and resolve.

While gathering information from the staff member who had talked to her I found the way to the solution. He had seen her recreate the issue in just a few minutes. And he mentioned that she could not redirect after she had visited her college website. That turned out to be the critical clue. With that information I was able to recreate the issue easily and repeat it. Being able to recreate an issue reliably is great news for a troubleshooter. Even better, I was able to recreate the issue on any Mac in the store, which meant the website was the issue, not her machine. A little clicking and vola! The link to her college email caused the freeze-up. It turns out this college uses Outlook Web Access for its mail server, which is not Safari-compatible, so much so it was freezing Safari solid. I downloaded Firefox, which allowed access to the mail server without issues, and the customer was able to pick up her machine on her way out of town to school.

  Diamond Protection for your Mac or iOS Device  
  Mack Warranty

Small Dog recently joined forces with Mack to provide 3 year warranty protection for your new electronic device that will protect against accidental damage. That’s right! You can stop crying when you drop your iPhone on the pavement because your arms are full but you’re still trying to talk and open the car door. (Surely, I’m not the only one who has done this!)

Here’s the coverage provided with the Diamond Service:

  • Manufacturer Defects
  • Impact Damage
  • Sand/Grit Damage
  • Accidental Damage and Unintentional Abuse
  • Mechanical Malfunctions
  • Normal and Abnormal Wear and Tear

What it won’t cover:

  • Intentional abuse, misuse or damaged beyond recognition
  • Fire
  • Lost
  • Stolen

Add Diamond Coverage within 30 days of purchase and there must be at least 90-days left on the manufacturer’s warranty.

Diamond Coverage is available for iPods, iPhones, iPads and Macs. We are also offering Mack’s Standard Warranty which will cover parts and labor for manufacturer’s defects for any used computers that we are selling.

Click here for additional info and pricing and look for specials below!

  TT Special: Purchase Used MacBook with Parallels get 3-year Warranty for FREE!  

Used MacBook bundled with Parallels and 3-year Mack Warranty


Used MacBook 2.13GHz 2GB/160GB White (mid-2009) bundled with Parallels and 3-year Mack Warranty


  TT SPECIAL: Capo Case by Hammerhead with Diamond Warranty for your new iPad  

Come into our stores to purchase an iPad and check out this bundle!
Brand new Capo Case by Hammerhead with Diamond Service Warranty – $119.99
Don’t feel left out – We’ve also put free shipping on the new Capo Case for anyone who has an iPad 2 or new iPad (or can’t make it to our stores) and is looking for a fabulous protective case!

   Black Capo Case with Diamond Warranty for purchase with iPad 2 or new iPad
   Capo Case by Hammerhead with Diamond Warranty for your new iPad
   Free Shipping on new Hammerhead Capo Case
   Free Shipping on new Hammerhead Capo Case