OSX dial home

Discussion in 'macOS' started by kntgsp, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. kntgsp macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #1
    I use less OSX than i do Linux, so I don't know as much about the minutiae of OSX.

    With the recent discovery of the config file on the iPhone that allows remote disabling I'm curious as to how much OSX dials home to Cupertino and whether or not editing of configs is allowed to remove this?

    I'm not accusing Apple of any wrong doing, and I fully realize Vista does this as well. I'm just curious, and some people more concerned with privacy might be as well.
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    The only system component that would regularly "dial home" is Software Update. You can turn that off in System Preferences.
     
  3. kntgsp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #3
    Well that I knew. I mean "unofficially". Something that dials home providing OS version number, programs installed, etc. with no discernible use other than hording information on the user. I'm asking because if they did it with the iPhone, they could do it with OSX. Although with the OS not being closed down like it is on the mobile platform, it would be harder to conceal.

    This isn't a "putting my tinfoil hat on" type statement. It's one of honest curiosity.

    I'm not saying they do, and it would be unlikely given that it'd be easier to spot. Anyone connecting to the internet via a proxy they set up themselves would be able to quickly identify any requests to IP's not sent by the user when no programs are running, like, say, to servers owned by Apple directly or indirectly.

    Just couldn't find any info on whether anyone had bothered to see is all.
     
  4. SpookyLars macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Poland
    #4
    Little Snitch is the tool that let you see which components or apps are "dialing home". It's shareware.
     
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #5
    There is no evidence of anything like this. Given the amount of time OSX has been available it seems unlikely that this exists.

    I would point out there is no evidence they did this with the iPhone either. The URL found can be retrieved over standard https with no more information being sent than retrieving any secure web page. No one, at least no one with any sense, has suggested that Apple upload details of the phone to retrieve that data. In addition no one has actually provided any evidence that the URL ever gets loaded to the phone: it could simply be a configuration item for code that never got written.
     
  6. kntgsp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #6
    Ah thank you. That's what I was looking for.
     
  7. kntgsp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #7
    Right, but the config file specifically refers to "unauthorized apps" indicating that it would at some point, have to dial home to relay info. The idea of anything "dialing home" without user authorization is what I was more interested in. And if it isn't implemented, then yea, you wouldn't expect the https address to give you anything. Doesn't really prove or disprove anything.

    Seems a blatant invasion of privacy. And while I find it highly unlikely that this happens and someone hasn't found it yet by this point, it was just asked out of curiosity.

    Like Firefox by default dialing home to certain DNS servers every now and then to relay usage statistics. It's easily disabled, but the user isn't made aware that it even exists.

    That sort of thing, that's all. And more power to people who want to relay their usage statistics. Many people just value their privacy more. It's not a dig against the companies or individuals, I'm just wondering if anyone has observed similar dial home tactics employed by OSX.
     
  8. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #8
    No it wouldn't. Far easier and more likely would be that the phone sends and HTTPS GET request for the file and receives it. It then checks the contents of the file against the IDs of the installed apps and deactivates any that match. No information (apart from current IP address) has to be sent to the server.
     
  9. kntgsp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    #9
    I meant the server relaying info to the phone. Sorry, didn't mean for that to imply the reverse. Ah, nevermind you get what I'm saying.
     

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