Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Apple 10.4.9 Software Update follow-up

Today, I got an email from Apple Tech Support:

Dear Apple Customer:

You've expressed an issue on Apple's Discussions forum with the recent Mac OS X 10.4.9 software update.

Apple would like to investigate the issue by collecting some data from your system.

If this is acceptable to you, please run the attached "Capture Data" application. Then, simply attach the file that's generated into a reply email (to this email) This file will contain logs, configuration information etc.

Thanks for your support in assisting Apple Inc.


It seems that they have noticed my activity on Apple support forums, where I was helping users to resolve the problem with the latest 10.4.9 software update, that I wrote about last week.

The good thing is that Apple is interested in knowing more about this issue - hopefully with the intention to prevent similar problems in the future.

The bad thing is the way they are doing it. How do I know that this email really comes from Apple? How can I be sure that it's not a Trojan horse mass mailed by some malicious person who's trying to misuse my willingness to help?

Attached to this email email is a binary application, that I'm supposed to run. I don't know if it's just me and my strong sense of self-preservation, but isn't it something like rule #1 in all "security for dummies" books not to run applications coming to your email from unauthenticated sources?

I think that Apple should have just send me an email pointing me to an apple.com website where I could download the application from or they should have signed the email and the attachment with a key which certificate was pre-distributed with MacOS X.

Besides, if all that Apple wants to do on my computer is to gather some data, they could have used a script that I could easily review instead of a binary application that can do a lot more than just "capture data".

I'm not pleased that my blog has turned into a Apple complaint site. I really hope that Leopard will bring enough excitement to have me forget about all of this.

UPDATE: I sent an email back to the Apple Tech Support asking them to publish the application on their website.

UPDATE2: An Apple engineer contacted me regarding the email. I ran the application and reviewed the content of generated dmg file. It contained all the system logs present on the computer and some extra files, like output from the top and ps commands.

One think I really don't like is that I had to agree to this License Agreement that protects Apple, but I haven't seen a single sentence mentioning how Apple is going to protect my private information contained in the logs. :-/

4 comments:

Abraham said...

thanks for your help dude
my comp still isn't working though
cause it still thinks Macintosh HD
doesn't exist
i'm gonna try target disk mode when i get the chance

Anonymous said...

is apple f'ing kidding with that 'capture data' application?!

Stuart said...

HI, I have used Macs for over 20 years now and this type of story is not exactly rare.

We ultimately get through with virtually no help from Apple itself, unless your system is actually broken.

Evenb then you have no guarantee of success. I have a G5 dual that worked fine was repaired 2 or 3 times following the initial repair. Lost of people complained about this issue. It has never truly been resolved to my knowledge.
This 10.4.9 is more of the same and thanks to folks like you, we get some help.
You are appreciated

Anonymous said...

I had this happen also. You mentioned you work for SUN - wouldn't it be REALY nice if Apple had a support system like SUNSOLVE! One of these days I'm going to try installing Solaris X86 on an Intel Mac.
I think this original problem was a result of not running updates in "single user mode". Leopard does it's updates in single user mode a lot. Good blog!