Malware Advice

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Brasstacks, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Brasstacks macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    #1
    My new Mac Air got afftected again with a strange case of some sort of tracking malware. Once again I heard a moderate radio interference sound loud and clear while listenting to the radio. This interference sound(like a mobile phone sounds through your stereo speaker) then repeated its self every 50 minutes.Can anyone help me ID this?
     
  2. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #2
    How do you know there is anything installed doing this?
    How do you know its malware?
    How do you know its "tracking" you?
    is this an actual radio are you listening to the radio via an app on the mac book?
     
  3. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    #3
    That radio interference sound by itself doesn't mean your MBA has any malware or that some tracking software is running. So you're probably being paranoid. But in case you're not:

    I'm not sure if any of the transmitters in the MBA would interfere with radio like that. I've never had it happen to me, bur I don't know enough about it to discount the possibility. You could try turning off the wifi and bluetooth... if the interference still occurs then you know it's not the MBA.

    I guess one nice thing about the MBA -- if you're the paranoid type -- is that there's no extra room in there for an extra, hidden transmitter.

    You could also try running activity monitor and e.g., sort the process list by processor usage and see if a particular process jumps to the top at the same time as the interference and then drops back once it's done. Make sure to view all processes, not just the ones associated with your login.
     
  4. ElectricSheep macrumors 6502

    ElectricSheep

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    #4
    Any powerful enough radio transmitter placed in near proximity to a non-linear circuit (which your MBA happens to be full of) that modulates on an audible frequency can do this. It used to happen all of the time when I had a flip-phone with T-mobile; I knew exactly when I was about to get a text message because of it.

    If you really want to rule your MBA out as the source, put it inside of a faraday cage. Any fully enclosed metal box will do and you can make one out of tinfoil (hat jokes aside). If you stop hearing the interference when its inside the cage, then the source is somewhere else.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    It's not malware. There are only a few Trojans in the wild that can affect OS X, and none of them produce the symptoms you described. As others have said, it may be interference in the area, or it may be some app you have installed. When something happens on a Mac that you don't expect or understand, malware is the last thing you should consider, as it's extremely rare for an average Mac user to encounter any malware, unless you're pirating software on a regular basis.

    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 12 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.
     
  6. gobsmacked macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    #6
    I thought of the tinfoil hat as well. :D
    Tracking down your problem really depends on how you are listening to the radio.
    If you are streaming a radio station onto your Mac there isn't really a radio receiver involved at all and other audio programs should exhibit the same behaviour if the source is external to your Mac. If it's only the one program there's a few questions to answer: What is the program? Is it a demo version of a commercial program? Some programs in demo mode will put in static every so often to induce you to buy rather than just keep using it for free. Why 50 minutes? That's kind of a weird interval but it may mean something to you. e.g. Check mail every 50 minutes.

    If you're listening to a "real" radio it could be something as simple as you moving around. The radio in my office doesn't like it if I stand 2 feet inside the door. I block the signal and it goes all static.

    As others have said, it's unlikely malware but is totally annoying. Good luck tracking it down.
     

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