Wondering about the security of my Powerbook...

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by RG7421, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. RG7421 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    #1
    Hello all,

    I'm a proud owner of a G4 Powerbook - bought brand new back in the early '00s.

    I don't regret for a moment the $2k I spent on it. It has paid for itself and more.

    However, I wonder sometimes if over the years I have picked up some malware or a virus of some kind?

    I tried installing ClamXAV, but it didn't work. I'm running 10.4 Tiger.

    I downloaded an activity monitor, and I don't see anything unusual hogging up the CPU, although I don't recognize the majority of processes going on.

    I'd like to keep this old Powerbook going another few years. Curious if you guys/gals knew of anything to check the health of my machine?

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #2
    Since you probably are on the same install, you may want to try wiping the hard drive and freshly installing Tiger or Leopard!
     
  3. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #3
    Malware, really is not much of an issue on PowerPC Macs. First it was because Apple didn't really have market share. Now it's because we aren't Intel based.

    Most likely it's just the years of cruft that can build up. If you've never run any maintenance on your Mac then you might find that doing a few things can help.

    Booting from your install disk and repairing your disk is a start. It it does not find anything then repair permissions. Repair permissions anyway. DiskWarrior can also be run and can fix things Disk Utility can't.

    Using Onyx to run your Daily/Weekly/Monthly scripts is also a good idea. These scripts are set to go off in the early morning hours. If your Mac is never on during those times, then they never go off.

    Cleaning caches, rebuilding databases, etc, all things Onyx can do is another help.

    You can even reinstall the OS for a fresh start as Altemose has suggested.

    But if none of that appears to you to make anything faster then consider the age of your Mac and the modern things that you are asking of it to do.

    The Powerbooks of the year you mention were either 400 or 500 mhz. That's nothing by today's standards and Tiger is seriously outdated. You could in fact, get Leopard on this PowerBook (I've done it) but the PB should be maxed as far as ram goes. If you're still poking along at 128, 256 or 512mb then that's another reason you may experience issues.

    As to the A/V software, I was under the impression that it was Leopard only. Perhaps that's why it would not install for you?
     
  4. jrsx macrumors 65816

    jrsx

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2013
    Location:
    Tacoma, Washington
  5. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #5
    I wouldn't bother with ClamXAV. Signature based virus scanners are almost completely useless and are just a waste of resources. The stuff that's really dangerous won't be caught by a virus scanner, and the stuff that is caught by one can usually be avoided with ease. There are services available to criminals that scan their malware using all commonly available scanners and then change it until it is not detected. This is a pretty big business and means that sig based scanning is always behind.

    The most important thing you can do is close the holes that can be used to gain access to your system. For Tiger or Leopard, you're almost certainly going to be using a vulnerable, outdated browser. If you use a modern, currently supported such as TenFourFox, you should be in good shape.

    Take a look at the running services and determine what you don't need. If you don't need it, disable it. This goes double for network facing services and services with root privileges. Exploits can only target software that is actually running on your machine, and the less code there is running, the smaller the attack surface. With older operating systems, the list of exploits is much higher than with a currently supported one.

    You will gain a small amount of security by web browsing from a separate account. The reason is that if your browser was exploited, the attacker would be limited to the access of the user that started the exploited process. Limiting him to a user account that does not contain your regular files is a good idea. If it is a non-admin account, even better.

    As far as web browsing is concerned, I recommend NoScript if you use TenFourFox. Most browser exploits require Javascript, Java, or Flash to run. You can block a huge portion of those exploits by blocking scripts. The computer will browse much faster as well without all that crap trying to load.

    Lastly, don't click on shady links or install stuff from sketchy sources. This should be obvious, but even experienced sysadmins fall for it. The easiest way to exploit a system is through the user.
     
  6. RG7421 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    #6
    Thanks for the responses everyone!

    Altemose: I may very well end up doing what you suggested. I have the Tiger install discs. Just need to backup everything, and make sure that I can still get my favorite programs downloaded again such as Audacity, TenFourFox, and MacTubes. Looks like those are still available.

    eyoungren: I'll give Onyx a try before reformatting. Looks like it's still available to download.

    jrsx: Not sure why ClamXAV wouldn't work. Crashed every time I tried to run it, and just gave up on it.

    556fmjoe: Appreciate the info!

    Good to see some PPC users still out there. I really feel that this era of Mac stuff was built to last!
     
  7. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #7
    OnyX is worth a shot. Audacity, TenFourFox, and MacTubes all support your machine in the latest versions.
     
  8. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #8
    AppleJack IMHO the very best utility for cleaning all the years of crap from your system.
    It runs in single user mode before your system is fully loaded allowing for a much more thorough cleaning and file purging.
    check it out, read the reviews...
     
  9. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Chances are you won't have any sort of malware. My G4 has been going strong malware free since day 1.
     
  10. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #10
    Yeah, the only kind of 'malware' I've ever had on a PowerPC Mac was the damn OS X version of Norton Antivirus. Getting THAT off the system was a PITA!!!
     
  11. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #11
    I hate Norton and Symantec products in general. My favorite part is that while it's robbing you of performance, sinking its talons deep into your system, and refusing to uninstall, it's introducing vulnerabilities you otherwise wouldn't have: http://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerabi...vssscoremin-6/cvssscoremax-6.99/Symantec.html
     
  12. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #12
    Yeah, I found that out the hard way.

    I've always wondered what happened to Symantec and Norton here. In OS9 they were awesome with their disk utility and all. But OS X comes along and watchout.

    Real good way to screw your OS over was running NDD in OS X! Counterintuative!
     
  13. Cox Orange, Jun 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014

    Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #13
    I found this interesting. It is about the basical vulnerability of SSL and webkit based browsers, it seems that it mostly refers to current Safari + OS versions (and how webkit seems to be interwoven with the newest OS), but they say the old PowerPC Safari version (though not as interwoven) might be risky, too. Hm...
    http://tenfourfox.blogspot.de/2014/02/ssafari-ssl-ssucks.html

    I use TenFourFox for internet banking and have no-script enabled and have no problems, since it seems the banks I tested (Germany, France and Netherlands) do not use the vulnerable javascripts.

    The problem I have is, that I have to keep Safari at hand, for my email-provider, because the site for some reason does not work with any PowerPC flavour of Mozilla browser.

    and don't click any link in a mail, allways access the site by typing the link by your own into a new tab. Also, a link in a mail might appear as a common site, like PayPal dot com. If you just hold the mouse cursor over/on it, not clicking and wait a second it will sometimes show some cryptic long link behind it that isn't even similar to what it claims to be.
     

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