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bkayne

Adware or anything that communicates w/Internet

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I know that the Mac is renown for not being inundated with adware, spyware, malware. However, I'm interested in a related question:

 

Other than actions I initiate (send/receive email, surfing the web), are there any processes that the Mac initiates, or any known adware/spyware/malware that communicates with the Internet in the background?

 

The reason I ask is that I work for a nonprofit that uses a satellite modem when we are in Zambia. Satellite broadband is charged by the amount of data sent, so any background processes that communicate with the Internet end up costing us a lot of money (I know, we took a PC last time and got dinged heavily because of all the spyware on the system).

 

Thanks,

 

Bob

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There may be some processes which communicate with the Internet. I would guess that Software Update or any other automatic refresh kind of processes like widgets would. I think you could see by shutting down everything, detaching external devices and looking for Network activity in the Activity Monitor.

 

There's also a program called Little Snitch ( Little Snitch overview ) which tracks that kind of thing you might want to try. It's relatively inexpensive and could be used to prevent any unwanted outgoing connections.

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There may be some processes which communicate with the Internet. I would guess that Software Update or any other automatic refresh kind of processes like widgets would. I think you could see by shutting down everything, detaching external devices and looking for Network activity in the Activity Monitor.

 

There's also a program called Little Snitch ( Little Snitch overview ) which tracks that kind of thing you might want to try. It's relatively inexpensive and could be used to prevent any unwanted outgoing connections.

 

huskermn is right, Little Snitch is worth every penny, it also will keep flash videos from contacting other sites (yahoo is famous for having flash animations that are hosted on other ad web servers) and you can deny the connection and they won't play! :)

 

roog

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Ditto the recommendation for Little Snitch. I use MenuMeters to watch my network traffic, and every now and then I look at the graph and wonder, "What the heck is it doing"?

 

Some OS X processes must use the internet for the internet to work, such as the DNS.

 

Turn off Bonjour, File sharing, iTunes sharing, iPhoto sharing.

Remove RSS feeds from Safari.

Turn off Podcast updates in iTunes.

Turn off "Set time and date automatically" in the Date & Time prefs.

Turn off .Mac sync.

Eschew the Help viewer.

Remove widgets that show weather, stocks, traffic, news.... just remove widgets.

Turn off "check for updates automatically" (set to "Manual") in everything you use, including OS X's Software Update, iLife, Firefox, and any 3rd party software you use.

 

The rest else depends on your software...

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