Strange file in download locations, appeared and disappeared--should I be concerned?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ki yo te x, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. ki yo te x macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2011
    Hi. I'm pretty new posting here, but longtime reader of the boards. I've been using OS X for seven years, but had something happen today I've never seen before.

    I was saving an article from forbes' website as a pdf, and when I went to click "save" i noticed that the location i was saving the file to, instead of the usual "documents," "desktop," or "downloads," was something called "n9bz7n0o.default", which I have never seen or heard of. I changed the destination to desktop instead, and saved the article. A few minutes later, I went back to try to find the "n9bz..." location to figure out what it was, but I couldn't. A spotlight search reveals nothing by that name on my computer. Should I be concerned about a trojan or malware or something?

    I've got my firewall and little snitch running, and never have used pirated software. Usually only download software from macupdate or appstore.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Not unless you installed something. You don't need any 3rd party antivirus app to keep your Mac malware-free. 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. 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.
    1. Make sure your built-in Mac firewall is enabled in System Preferences > Security > Firewall

    2. Uncheck "Open "safe" files after downloading" in Safari > Preferences > General

    3. Uncheck "Enable Java" in Safari > Preferences > Security. Leave this unchecked until you visit a trusted site that requires Java, then re-enable only for your visit to that site. (This is not to be confused with JavaScript, which you should leave enabled.)

    4. Check your DNS settings by reading this.

    5. Be careful to only install software from trusted, reputable sites. Never install pirated software. If you're not sure about an app, ask in this forum before installing.

    6. Never let someone else have physical access to install anything on your Mac.

    7. Always keep your Mac and application software updated. Use Software Update for your Mac software. For other software, it's safer to get updates from the developer's site or from the menu item "Check for updates", rather than installing from any notification window that pops up while you're surfing the web.
    That's all you need to do to keep your Mac completely free of any virus, trojan, spyware, keylogger, or other malware. You don't need any 3rd party software to keep your Mac secure.
  3. ki yo te x thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2011
    Thanks, GGJstudios. I've read that same advice given by you to lots of other posters with security questions, and it's always made me feel sure I didn't need to buy some security app. But, if i have inadvertently downloaded something malicious, how would I know? A password safe and audio recording program, both downloaded from Macupdate, are the most recent and exotic programs I've installed.

    I am awfully curious as to what this weird file destination could be, and why I couldn't find it again.
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It sounds like it was a proposed file destination; not one that already exists. By you changing it, that destination wasn't ever created. Mac malware is quite rare, and most users who aren't pirating software will likely never encounter any. If you got software from, you don't need to worry. If you feel the overwhelming urge to run a scan, ClamXav is one of the best choices, since it isn't a resource hog, detects both Mac and Windows malware and doesn't run with elevated privileges. However, I'd bet it won't find any instance of Mac malware.
  5. ki yo te x thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2011
    Thanks again, GGJ...that answer sounds plausible and satisfies my concern and curiosity. Much appreciated.

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