userInit (virus?), pacemaker, LaterAgent

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by neuroshock, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. neuroshock macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2011
    Does anyone know what those 3 processes do?

    The "scariest" one is "userInit" which is apparently owned by "Zombie" -- note that that's not my username on this computer. A google search tells me this is related to the userInit virus. How can that be?

    I could really use some insight as to why are those processes there and what are they responsible for.

    For some screenshots of activity monitor showing the "userInit" process:
    (this is not me, also note that on my computer there is nothing installed other than the operating system it self and firefox yet that process still shows up)
  2. LostSoul80 macrumors 68020


    Jan 25, 2009
    Zombie processes are processes that have ended their runtime. They are dead processes, that the system keeps there momentarily for mostly some internal memory management operations.

    I can't see how a dead process could lead anyone to think it's a virus.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    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.
  4. csixty4, Nov 7, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013

    csixty4 macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    Somerville, MA
    LaterAgent is an internal library used for system updates. It's what's responsible for nagging you to install updates when you tell it to remind you later.

    LaterAgent's files are at /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CommerceKit.framework/Resources/ - but you shouldn't mess around in OSX internal frameworks.


    pacemaker is the "clock drift adjustment daemon". When ntpd, the system time daemon, detects that the computer's clock "drifts" away from the time it should be, it updates a file describing the drift.

    pacemaker reads this file and makes lots of small, unnoticeable adjustments to the system clock to get it back on track and keep it that way.

    It's a unix executable. The file is at /usr/libexec/pacemaker and you can type "man pacemaker" in your terminal for more information.
  5. csixty4 macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    Somerville, MA
    userInit is part of OSX's SystemAdministration.framework, which is what's used behind the scenes to create & manage users. As far as I can tell, userInit might be part of "fast user switching" or something else that involves setting up the environment for a user.

    userInit can be found at /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemAdministration.framework/Versions/A/Resources/userInit -- but again, be careful poking around OSX internals like that.

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