Thursday, 5 July 2018

macOS - The Dark Side with Mojave

Dark UI has always excited me. It brings a touch of sophistication to the products. For example, Final Cut Pro has a dark interface and so does trading terminals. And finally, with macOS Mojave, it is official that macOS includes a dark mode. And dark mode in Xcode 10 is superb. Playground is getting better for ML works as notebook. Can't wait to the official release of these.

jamf Saga Continues but Little Snitch to the Rescue

In my previous post, I was explaining on jamf and its privacy implications. jamf is very configurable. Since writing to disk is a potential problem, as the user can readily inspect, the alternate technique is to ping the command and control center every time the computer unlocks, wakes from sleep, boots, and such. It is a network call and unless one does outbound traffic monitoring, one does not know about this event happening. And there is nothing better than Little Snitch in my humble opinion to monitor such activities. This is the missing firewall for macOS which gives me peace of mind, knowing that there are no intruders on my local system. The default firewall does wildcard inbound and outbound checks, but the level of granularity is only app based. Little Snitch has got much better granularity (IP, domain, app, time based, profile based, inbound, outbound etc.). The network gateway monitoring is a story on its own, which requires a different technique.

A faster option would be to just set the domain the jamf pings in /etc/hosts to loopback on the local interface, though I am not much sure if jamf will honour that. This is if one does not want to use Little Snitch. Care must be taken because the Little Snitch database logs all the network calls. So any secure access that needs to be not logged has to be removed from its database which can safely be done from the UI. Even though, the database is encrypted and the encryption key is securely stored in the Keychain.

Using ProtonMail with Apple Mail App

ProtonMail has transparent encryption and decryption of emails leaving and entering the local system configured for Apple Mail app, using the ProtonMail Bridge. However the caveat is that only one ProtonMail user profile should be present per account under Profiles. If there are multiple ones, Apple Mail gets confused and is not able to pick one among them, taking the mailbox offline. In case you change account details in ProtonMail website, then use the latest profile and remove the older ones under System Preferences -> Profiles.