Severe Java Vulnerability in Mac OS X

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a huge hole in Mac OS X’s security in regards to Java that has been there for some time and remains unpatched. This Java exploit is proven to work 100% of the time on all browsers and operating systems that are unpatched, but both Linux and Microsoft Windows are patched. Apple, as yet, remains open and vulnerable.

After learning of this, I quickly wrote some directions on how to disable Java in your web browser on OS X (we’ll be adding more operating systems and browsers later) and how to install both Firefox and NoScript to protect yourself in case you do need to use Java on occasion.

I’ll be honest here, OS X really isn’t that secure. If you use a Mac, be sure to disable Java or at least install NoScript. Otherwise you’re just leaving yourself open to attack.

As for me, I’ve now got Ubuntu 9.04 installed in a virtual machine running a second firewall, NoScript in Firefox, and a few other security hardening measures. Nevertheless, I still worry about this stuff.

How to force a copy in Mac OS X when Finder freezes

musicsmall

Soon after getting my shiny new Mac, I wanted to transfer all of my music to the laptop. I have my music stored in a few different places (my work computer, home computer, and iPod), but while the music is identical in all locations, it’s also not in Mac’s favourite format. That is to say, it’s not where iTunes can magically whisk it into its happy bosom. I use Rockbox on my iPod, and both desktop computers have Linux.

Rockbox allows an iPod to essentially be used as any other external storage device, with all the music just sitting in folders; most of my stuff is in FLAC or MP3 format. Upon plugging it in and trying to copy everything over in Finder, however, it just stalled after a while and I had to Force Quit Finder.

So I mounted my Music file over the network from my desktop computer. I got further doing it that way, but eventually an error appeared. Usually it claimed that a file already existed, which is kind of silly since I was copying onto a vanilla Macbook!

Thankfully, Mac OS X is built on a Unix core of terminal goodness, so I went into the Utilities (Go –> Utilities) and opened the Terminal. From here, you can use a command to copy everything from the source location to your destination, forcing it to blow past errors and recreate files when necessary.

To do this, use the following code:

cp -RfXv /root/source/* /Users/username/Music

Of course, you can change the source and destination as necessary. Let me explain the different options used in that line of code.

  • cp is the command for copy in the Terminal.
  • R is for Recursive, and will force the copy command to not only hit folders, but all of the subfolders and items within.
  • f forces the command to copy everything without stopping for errors.
  • X tells cp to overwrite existing files
  • v puts the command into verbose mode, so you’ll see a scrolling list of the files being copied. This way, you can be certain that it’s humming right along.

For my source, I had connected to my Music folder on my desktop using Samba, so it was /Volumes/music. And of course, you’ll need to replace “username” in the target with your own Mac username.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below. I’ll do what I can to help 🙂