Two rampant "telnet" processes on 10.4.7

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Tinhead, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. Tinhead macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2004
    Hello community,

    I have a rev. A 12" PB with the latest Tiger update on it. Today I noticed an unexpected slowdown while using dashboard and exposé. I launched Activity Monitor to check what was slowing down the system, and noticed two processes named "telnet" (not telnetd), each taking up approximately 40% of my CPU usage. They were launched under my username, not the system. Logging out did not kill them, only when I restarted the machine was I able to get rid of them.

    Firewall was on, none of the sharing services were enabled.

    Any ideas on what was going on?
  2. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    If you don't know what telnet is, it's a program for connecting to other computers. It's usually used for getting a manual command shell on that computer, but it can be used for other kinds of communcation.

    Since they were running on your computer it looks to me like something/someone was connecting out from your computer to a different computer.

    It's a bit worrying if you haven't done anything yourself that could have created these processes. Can you think of anything you've installed or tried lately that you haven't done before?
  3. Tinhead thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2004
    It's a bit worrying indeed. I do know what telnet is, on a basic level, that's why I immediately checked if I had forgot any of the sharing processes open. I suppose if what you are saying is correct, and an application on *my* system initiated the processes, then I have to double-check everything I've installed recently. The hard drive was spinning like crazy, but network activity wasn't all that high. I should have investigated it more thoroughly at the time, but I panicked and restarted immediately (well, after trying to log out).

    EDIT: It seems like toggling dashboard on and off rapidly creates these processes. It must therefore be a widget that's causing them to appear. At the moment I have 6 of them running, each taking up 668kb of memory and 26.77mb of virtual memory (and 0% cpu this time around).

    EDIT 2: Problem solved, traced it back to an email widget. Have to send the developer a note on this. The name of the widget is "MailWidget". Thanks for the reply Gekko513.
  4. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    I'm glad you found the cause. Maybe this is the Dashboard "phoning home" for updates that has been discussed and that some people were up in arms about?

    BTW: I'm not 100% sure that it has to be something connecting out. telnetd could launch a telnet process if something connects in, for all I know, but given that you don't have sharing enabled and firewall on, it was much more likely to be outbound connections.
  5. Tinhead thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2004
    Phoning home crossed my mind, also. Sure hope that's not what this is all about, but it would make sense considering I've never seen this happen before (and using this particular widget for many months). The telnet processes didn't seem to quit even when I killed the dock.

    I thought the phoning home feature was only activated every 8 hours or so? I seem to be able to create these processes on-demand. Might be a combination of 10.4.7 and this particular widget..
  6. semaja2 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2005
    I took a quick look at the code, the widget uses telnet to recieve data from things like pop (hence emails)

    I think the problem comes from that when u load it up right away and close it again the telnet process doesnt get a chance to send the info back to the widget, this leaves telnet running
  7. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    Telnet is just a noob-ish way for a programmer to get his program to speak to an SMTP or POP server (services required for any kind of email client). It's not a good way to do it, but it can (and apparently has been) hacked together.
  8. Tinhead thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2004
    This would make perfect sense.

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