Concerned about malware

ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
1,554
711
For the last couple of weeks or so, when doing random surfing on the 'net (i.e. no significant CPU usage like watching a video), my machine's fan turns on at full speed and it keeps running. This makes me think there may be some spyware/malware which occasionally wakes up and does something.

My machine never did this before, hence the suspicion. Normally the fan only comes on when I'm watching videos.

I forgot to run "top" so I can't tell what the significant processes running were, but I think I will do that next time.

However, is my concern justified? Do you folks use an tools to check for spyware/malware/viruses?

Thanks.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,396
709
For the last couple of weeks or so, when doing random surfing on the 'net (i.e. no significant CPU usage like watching a video), my machine's fan turns on at full speed and it keeps running. This makes me think there may be some spyware/malware which occasionally wakes up and does something.

My machine never did this before, hence the suspicion. Normally the fan only comes on when I'm watching videos.
Your problem likely has nothing to do with malware. Follow every step of the following instructions precisely. Do not skip any steps.
  1. Launch Activity Monitor
  2. Change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes"
  3. Click on the "% CPU" column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top).
    (If that column isn't visible, right-click on the column headings and check it, NOT "CPU Time")
  4. Click on the System Memory tab at the bottom.
  5. Take a screen shot of the entire Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
  6. Post your screenshots.

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 over 10 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided by practicing safe computing (see below). 3rd party antivirus apps are not necessary to keep a Mac malware-free, as long as a user practices safe computing, as described in the following link.

Read the What security steps should I take? section of the Mac Virus/Malware FAQ for tips on practicing safe computing.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
1,554
711
Thanks. Here are the screenshots.
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/61646136/macosx/1.png
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/61646136/macosx/2.png
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/61646136/macosx/3.png
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/61646136/macosx/4.png
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/61646136/macosx/5.png

I noticed Chrome renderer going as high as 25%.

Also I noticed that when I go to this page:
http://guides.macrumors.com/Mac_Virus/Malware_FAQ
I found some of the text bouncing, almost a jello-like shake.

Anyone else experience something similar?

(Update: Restarting Chrome seems to have fixed the issue of bouncing text on that page.)

I saw this issue with another website a few days ago and just dismissed it as something temporary or maybe with the way the page was implemented.
 
Last edited:

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,396
709
Thanks. Here are the screenshots.
The only process worth mentioning is the PepperFlashPlayer, and even that is not using a significant amount of system resources. You may want to do screen captures again, at a time when you're experiencing the higher fan speeds.

For Flash-related issues:
  • Find your Flash version and make sure it's the latest version available. Never install or update Flash from a pop-up on a website. Always go to Adobe's site to get Flash or updates.
  • Install ClickToFlash (Safari), Flashblock (Firefox) or FlashBlock (Chrome) to control which Flash content plays on websites.
  • Try using the YouTube HTML5 Video Player to watch YouTube videos, when available. (May impact fullscreen viewing. See link for details.) Some have reported better performance with HTML5, while some have reported worse. Try it and find out what works best for you.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
1,554
711
The only process worth mentioning is the PepperFlashPlayer, and even that is not using a significant amount of system resources. You may want to do screen captures again, at a time when you're experiencing the higher fan speeds.

For Flash-related issues:
  • Find your Flash version and make sure it's the latest version available. Never install or update Flash from a pop-up on a website. Always go to Adobe's site to get Flash or updates.
  • Install ClickToFlash (Safari), Flashblock (Firefox) or FlashBlock (Chrome) to control which Flash content plays on websites.
  • Try using the YouTube HTML5 Video Player to watch YouTube videos, when available. (May impact fullscreen viewing. See link for details.) Some have reported better performance with HTML5, while some have reported worse. Try it and find out what works best for you.
I'm on the latest flash player for Chrome (which I think is updated automatically) and is the only browser I use.

I'll give the HTML5 player a try.

I just rebooted my machine for the first time in months. I'll see if I get into the high fan speed situation again and if so will be sure to get those screen shots again.

Thanks.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
1,554
711
The fan issue happened again today. When I opened Activity Monitor, I found Google Chrome Renderer at the top with about 65% of CPU followed by the PepperFlashPlayer at about 35%. Quit Chrome and the problem went away immediately. I wonder if there's a bug in the flash plugin for Chrome.
 

tirerim

macrumors regular
Aug 4, 2006
204
0
I would argue that Flash itself is the bug. I had the same problem on my Air, and disabling Flash (with Flashblock on Firefox) solved it immediately.
 

benwiggy

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2012
2,186
15
my machine's fan turns on at full speed and it keeps running. This makes me think there may be some spyware/malware
No, can't see the connection myself.:p

Malware is not likely to use a great deal of CPU, as the tasks it tends to do are relatively trivial for today's computers. Monitoring keyboards, sending spam email, deleting system files -- easy.

Don't forget that lots of adverts frequently use flash, which can start to ramp things up.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
1,554
711
I haven't had that problem in a while now, so perhaps the piece of software causing it has been fixed.

Yes, I understand the fan turning on when flash is being used for movies and the like, but it probably shouldn't need that much CPU to display ad banners.