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Don't Trust It — Track It!

Rixstep release the standalone version of Tracker.

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Don't Trust Unknown and Untrusted Software — Run It If You Must, But Track It

RIXSTEP -- Rixstep announce a new standalone product for OS X that lets users track file system activities, finding not just what files have been modified but also what files have been accessed, and even where 'untrusted' software tries to cover its tracks.

'There are a few other products available that attempt heuristically to determine where data remnants are left in your system by installed software, and others that use event notification systems available with some releases of OS X, but Tracker's the only utility that gets at everything, regardless of your OS version', says CFO Sydney Phillips. 'We use it ourselves each and every time we try unknown and untrusted software.'

Apple have in the past, in the wake of security bulletins and news of exploits against their platform, advised users to 'never run unknown and untrusted software'. 'Which is an impossibility', comments Phillips. 'Until you try a new program, there's no way you can know if you can trust it. And without Tracker, you're never going to know that anyway. At best you'll be able to guess, and this shouldn't be a guessing game.'

'Tracker doesn't play the games it's trying to protect you from', Phillips points out. 'Aside from its preference file there's nothing remaining if you decide to remove the program at a later date. This is something we're very adamant about.'

As Tracker records all file system activity, it's important to isolate your target when tracking it. 'Suspend all other operations, launch your new product through Tracker, run it as you would any program, then exit - and then have Tracker scan your file system to see what's happened.'

'It's also a good idea to disconnect from the net with untrusted software', Phillips adds. 'Some programs act like they're doing you a favour by phoning home and others know they're not doing you a favour at all.'

Rixstep are a constellation of programmers and administrators concentrating on Objective-C/NeXTSTEP/OpenStep/Cocoa software engineering. Their 'ACP' (AppleCore Project) has won considerable acclaim, in particular their file manager Xfile and their GUI version of the Unix command line CLIX. They also provide a series of free topical newsletters on security and industry events.


Sydney Phillips
Email: tracker@rixstep.com


See Also
Tracker: Don't Chance It

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