Ad auto-downloads! Possible trojan??

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by EpY, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. EpY macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2012
    Hey guys, and thanks for reading this post. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! This is a pretty LONG post, so I would appreciate it if you could
    acually finish it =)

    So, I was on a normal website the other day, and one of those annoying ads (the ones that play a video of an advertisement) started going.
    In the past, when I was on this site, one of these video ads started going, and I simply muted it (like a youtube video) or paused it. Little did
    I know, this ad was of a completely different nature. This particular ad CONTINUOUSLY spins (as if it is loading/buffering a video), and there is text saying
    something to the effect of "you need to download a plugin to play this video". In summary, it was one of those ads that you should never click because it
    is SO obvious it is trying to trick you into clicking it! But me, thinking it was one of those legitimate video vides, clicked pause on it. A new blank tab
    opened up, and a download automatically began. The file name was RealPlayer.exe. When asked if I wanted to open a file from the internet, I clicked cancel, put it in the trash bin, and cleared the trash.

    Fortunately, I was able to replicate the advertisement. On my other Mac (that didn't store personal data), I visited the same website again, and kept refreshing it until I was presented with the same ad (of the "supposedly" buffering video). This time, upon clicking on it and automatically downloading the
    file, I clicked Open. It pulled up a TextEdit document of a script (I'm assuming). The TextEdit document read "This program cannont run in DOS mode.", and was followed by a LONG chain of random symbols and other stuff (going on for literally FOREVER!).

    After some research of RealPlayer.exe, I learned that apparently Real Player was known for its spyware/malware embedded in its programs.

    I, myself, am a NOVICE (at most) of how programs, files, and downloads work. All I know, I have posted above. Is there any possible whatsoever that the downloaded file could have ANY negative effect on my personal computer? I'd always heard rumors about how trojans/keyloggers/other things can be on someone's computer, and the user not even KNOW of its presence? As far as I know (which isn't much, believe me!), Macs can't run .exe files, right? So am I correct to assume that the download was intended for Windows computers? In general, are most of these ads that automatically download files malicious in nature? Or am I simply overreacting?

    What was especially interesting to me was, if you remember, the VERY first time I came across this ad on my personal desktop, the file RealPlayer.exe was downloaded on my personal computer. When I tried to replicate it on my other, non-personal mac, the file that was downloaded was one called Ultimate_Media_Player_2.exe. However, when I copied the link address and opened it in another tab, and clicked on the link, the ORIGINAl file (RealPlayer.exe) began downloading. I find this interesting because it's like 2 files are in one ad? (maybe I'm interpreting this completely wrong!)

    I don't know if this helps, but when I copy the link, the link begins with ( and a LONG url follows the .com part.

    I know this was a very long post, and if at any part, more information is needed, let me know and I will elaborate. This has been buggin me for the last 2 days, and I REALLY want to know!!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    An .exe file is a Windows app and cannot run on or affect your Mac in any way, other than taking up disk space.

    Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released 10 years ago. You cannot infect your Mac simply by visiting a website, unzipping a file, opening an email attachment or joining a network. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which cannot infect your Mac unless you actively install them, and they can be easily avoided with some basic education, common sense and care in what software you install. Also, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion have anti-malware protection built in, further reducing the need for 3rd party antivirus apps.
  3. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    In addition, if you open any windows application in a text editor you'll see this string. RealPlayer was a media player that was used a lot around the time flash got it's start -- maybe before. It was a piece of crap because it did a lot of nasty things such as installing things you didn't want. But with the .EXE extension, you're safe, it's not a Mac app and can't do anything to you.

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