virus..? no it can't be.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Kaioken!, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. Kaioken! macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2007
    hey guys, ive been having some boot problems with OS X, sometimes it takes ages, others it freezes in the boot process altogether. :mad:

    Ive only had my macbook pro for little more than 2 weeks. So its kinda frustrating. However its a software problem so its fixable. I have noticed however:

    there are files in my recycle bin that i never placed there, labeled 0000000005a2f0 / 00000000600 ect. ect. that cannot be deleted because 'the item is in use.'

    This makes me nervous considering i have never seen these files before; they conspicuously appear when my computer is having boot problems.

    Ive scanned my mac for viruses, and both the subject individual files, none found. Though it was the freeware virus scanner ClamXav so im not sure of its dependability. Anyone with similar problems / knows how to force wipe the recycle bin?

    And for the record, im new to using OS X, but ive picked up quickly. So don't be afraid to throw the real basics at me. Thanks.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I've had files that had to be deleted from the trash using the rm command.

    It seems to happen more often in Leopard.
  3. ebel3003 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2007
    "The Google"
    Alternatively, you can hold down Alt (Option) while selecting "Empty Trash", which will bypass any dialog and simply delete the contents of the trash. I'm not sure what's causing it, but I've encountered numerous "In Use" files lately.

    As far as TC's boot problems, I would archive and install (while preserving users, applications, and settings) to see if any issues are resolved. If not, it could be a hardware issue.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    At this time, THERE ARE NO VIRUS ON THE MAC!

    On the Mac, a virus scanner is useless, and may cause the problems you are experiencing.
  5. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    No, a virus scanner is harmless (I have one myself, because my mom beleives no computer is safe form viruses, so she makes me do weekly checks)
  6. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 3, 2007
    unless you have the dreaded Word macros virus. I see it a lot. A virus on a mac. (But it only affects Microsoft Word, haha)
  7. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    If that doesn't work then Finder > Secure Empty Trash. While alt-empty trash sometimes doesn't do it for me Secure Empty Trash ALWAYS deletes the contents of the Trash no matter what.

    There should be no need of Unix RM commands in the terminal.
  8. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    Exactly, I concur.

    I think there is a minor bug in the "send to trash can" procedure, i.e. first it's locked, then transferred, then unlocked so the trash can may be emptied later. With large files you need to wait a bit for the lock/transfer/unlock to complete, because even though the item is listed in the trash can, sometimes the unlock process internally is still being carried out. But whatever the cause, the above advice fixes it.

    You can also simply log out and log back in, which restores locked trash can files that have transferred fully, but it's not necessary if you do the above.

  9. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I can not stand when people say this. There have been 2 viruses on the Mac OS. Granted these both were proof of concept viruses, but it showed that it can be done. Also a Mac is not immune from a marco virus in a office document. Trojans and worms are also viable on a Mac.

    Other then piece of mind I see little use for an anti virus, but the say that there is no viruses on a mac is just silly and ignorant.
  10. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    I agree, synth3tik.

    You summarized the issue nicely, that Mac is not 100% virus proof. Hackers, spammers, phishers and trojan makers simply focus on the 98% of PC's sold, Windows machines. As more Macs are sold the focus starts to shift, which is a generalization but quite true. For now Norton Anti-Virus is buggy in Leopard, the signatures are few, and it's not necessary if a user keeps their OS upgraded with the security packs updated from time to time by Apple.

    One other factor that come into play are software specific trojans, such as those written for Quick Time, Adobe and Word - all of which are available across both platforms and have made news recently or in the past.

    So in the future as Mac gains additional marketshare, the black hats out there WILL start shifting as well and Mac white hats will start producing detect & clean software AND the media will pick up on it and start making the public more aware than in the past.

    For now, just keep your OS and proprietary software upgraded, continue the common sense security not to open unsolicited attachments, don't download from untrusted sources, and so forth. Common sense still applies in the Mac community.

    If you happen to get hit, it's more likely to be a phishing scheme where software is exploited to take you to a web site that pretends to be something other than it is and gets you, a human, to type in sensitive and personal information or currency exchange. You are the weakest link in the security system, not your computer.

    Although possible, with the basic Firewall enabled and adware blocking tools in Firefox, the chances of your Mac being hijacked is very slim compared to a Windows class virus which exploits Visual Basic script, Active-X and other Windows proprietary source code which are in every copy of all Windows variants in one form or another.


    1) Uprade your system when prompted to do so
    2) Enable firewall, and doesn't hurt to run external FW for those with routers
    3) Maintain common sense security protocols for Internet usage - remember you, the human, are the weakest link!
    4) Over the years, expect more software choices as marketshare increases - but it IS true that right now it's too soon to suggest to all users to immediately download Norton Anti-Virus for Mac. It's just not necessary yet and the media will be second to let you know, we'll be the first - right here.

  11. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    Well whether you can stand it or not there are no known viruses on the Mac OS and if all you could do is point out 2 out of the 114,000 known ones on the Windows platform then just enjoy the fact that the Mac OS HAS NO KNOWN VIRUSES.
    Also to the OP, don't listen to anyone saying that viruses are not on the Mac OS because of small market share, that's B.S, it's due to the UNIX core. Apple sells millions of computers and because it's very well known that there are no viruses on Mac hackers by now would have infected the Mac OS especially if it was just as insecure as Windows.
    Also Apple is top notch on keeping the system up to date with the latest security patches, not that the Mac has needed them but that shows you how secure the system is.
  12. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    Only your second sentence is correct, and that has been covered here.

    You are incorrect in your other blanket statement that "NO" viruses exist.

    Please read this from SOPHOS about a confirmed virus for Mac OS X:

    To quote parts of that SOPHOS article pertinent to our discussion:

    That last part of that last quote is what alot of people here are disputing - and specifically Norton on Leopard is a bit buggy when updating definitions, and most third party freeware anti-virus utilities don't have alot of signatures like the Windows world, obviously.

    Just wanted to make clear that although the worry is small, it's unfair to say Mac has zero virus concerns. That's irresponsible advice to any Mac user in my opinion. I hope the links and facts I listed support this idea.

    Opinions and comments welcomed.

  13. SilentLoner macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2007
    I agree just be sensible is the word of the week for any new mac users.
  14. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    I kinda can't stand it when people say this. I think it is still very safe to say that there are no viruses for Mac, and I say this in as an absolute because 99.999% of the time, any issue you have with your Mac is not virus related.

    "There have been 2 viruses on the Mac OS..." in how long? 8 years of OS X's existence? I think its pretty safe to say that There are No Viruses for OS X.

    (Nothing's 100% perfect).
  15. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    Another point worth making is as market share increases, third party developers will see the merit and start producing software more prone to exploitation, even if using the latest SDK's and Apple's various API. This is due to relaxed standards in the open source community. A community that will grow parallel to Apple's mother ship.

    So even if we're dealing with a few harmless proof of concept viruses now, and mostly phishing schemes for the other known virus, expect more exploits in the future. It's inevitable. But I feel it is irresponsible to tell people "no viruses exist" without also pointing the concerns and common sense suggestions as outlined in recent replies.

    Well, I said my .02 - I'll let others chime in now. Thanks for listening.

  16. Virgil-TB2 macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007

    Just because I use the same kind of dismissive language myself I know how priggish and mean it can sound to other people. :(

    I will do the same back to you however and point out that you are simply wrong here.

    Your assertion that people should still "be careful" is fine, but you are using hyperbole here to exaggerate a situation just so you can appear to be right. There are and never have been any viruses for Mac OS-X AFAIK. You have tried to indicate that there are viruses twice now, but the first time you were referring to "Mac OS" viruses (hint: no-one uses "Mac OS" anymore), and the second time you point to a Trojan (not a virus).

    It might be semantics to some, but there are no viruses (yet) on Mac OS-X. There are Trojans and Macro viruses and all the usual spoofing and spiffing that goes on on the web. That's it.

    To the average user, the distinction between a trojan, a virus, and a home-page hijack on the web are moot of course. The users just point to the screen and say "Virus!" The point is though (and the essential difference) without the user doing something stupid, no trojan, web-exploit or word Macro virus will do anything much to your OS-X system. Furthermore, they can usually be cleaned up after the fact by deleting preferences or at worst re-installing the browser.

    So while it's obviously a good thing to be careful, one thing you definitely 100% do not need on a Mac, is anti-virus software.

    - It will not detect a virus before it hits you as no one knows what that virus looks like yet.

    - It will not help you clean up after the fact which is the most important part

    - Most anti-virus software for the Mac is so poorly written it will slow down the OS by about 50% in my experience.

    The biggest, most important thing about protecting yourself on a Mac is to train the weakest link in the system, i.e. - yourself. If you actually think about things before you click on them and act with normal prudence, intelligence, and care, you will never need anti-virus software and never have a problem.

    Even back in Mac OS-7 days when those viruses actually existed, very few people ever got hit by them, and Norton Anti-Virus and it's ilk never saved a single person from infection. I have seen users buy and install anti-virus crap-ware for the Mac for over 10 years now and I have never seen it "save" anyone from anything.
  17. Cudadown macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2007
    I almost guarentee that BECAUSE Macs and OSX are supposed to be "virus free" and "almost impossible" to get one, there are thousands of hackers out there that live for a challange like that. Hackers don't give a crap about market share.. they care about the challange and bragging rights. Which makes OSX a high priority target. But of course... Unix core and a beautifully coded OS like OSX is proving to be a extremely tough nut to crack.

    Market share is for wall street to worry about. Which reminds me.. wall street runs on Unix platforms. So no hacker is interested in those?
  18. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    I know at least one and I think both of them required the files to be opened by the user, and then the user must enter their administrator password. that isn't really that dangerous of a virus, if it even goes under the definition of virus.
  19. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA


    You and I actually agree on most points. You said "one thing you definitely 100% do not need on a Mac, is anti-virus software." and I said the same exact thing, even pointing out the buggy aspects of Norton.

    You also noted "but the first time you were referring to "Mac OS" viruses (hint: no-one uses "Mac OS" anymore), and the second time you point to a Trojan (not a virus)" and of course I agree, I made clear to mention it was a phishing scheme, and that a human was the weakest link in the security chain.

    Then you said "Mac OS-7" and now you know why I used the generic reference "Mac OS" as in Macintosh Operating system.

    Market share was mentioned to parallel usage - and market share is a primary factor used in determining security statistics across platforms of various types. So it applies to this conversation.

    Your personal attack aside, we're not so far off.

    I called you out on stating there are no issues with the OS X and not at the same time suggesting common sense safety to users, nor acknowledging that in the future we could all be singing a different time as more folks discover Mac, including the black hats.

    And although you are technically correct (as I was also) in noting the differences between various terminology, and user experience, you also die by your own definition --- by that I mean any user who gets hit with any variation of an attack in any form doesn't care what classification it is, they've simply been hacked.

    And this is why, similarly, coming across indirectly as if it's a totally safe and protected Utopian world for Mac OS X users, and denouncing as "scare tactics" anyone who disagrees with you is just as wrong.

    Those following this - find the middle ground between the comments flying about here and be your own judge of things. Ignore the bickering.


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