Does anyone know what this is?

dsnort

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jan 28, 2006
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In persona non grata
Take a look at this screen snapshot of my Macbook Activity Monitor. Of interest is the top three processes; cut, grep, and sh. These processes keep flashing on, and turning off. They'll be on for about a second, off for about 5 seconds, and then on again. The one time I was able to inspect one, it said the parent process was terminated. Is this a virus or malware trying to start in MacOS? Anybody seen anything like this before?
 

elbirth

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,154
0
North Carolina, US
grep and sh are terminal commands and are just a part of unix. I would assume "cut" is there as well, but I don't recall a "cut" command in the unix command line.
grep searches inside a given file for a certain string and sh is used in regards to the shell being used in the terminal.

they should be harmless, but it is curious that they're showing and disappearing like that....
 

gekko513

macrumors 603
Oct 16, 2003
6,302
1
"Cut" cuts out specific columns in whitespace separated text. The combination of grep and cut can be used for instance to record statistics for webservers by going through the server log files.
 

elbirth

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,154
0
North Carolina, US
gekko513 said:
"Cut" cuts out specific columns in whitespace separated text. The combination of grep and cut can be used for instance to record statistics for webservers by going through the server log files.
aha, ok that makes sense


so yeah... my guess is that you've got some process that is using command line commands in the background from time to time, and when it's processing those commands show up, and when it's done, they go away... perfectly normal
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
For others that might read this in the future..

When in doubt, it's always helpful to change the "Show" display settings of Activity Monitor to "All Processes, Hierarchically".
This will show you the parent process that spawned the child processes in question.