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Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: john-o
Date: February 04, 2015 03:45PM
She tells me that she found two things in Console that scared her: 'bogus event received by listener connection', and something about an 'RSN airport handshake'. I doubt the latter means anything, but am having trouble figuring out what that first one means. Anyone have a clue?

I understand that it's almost impossible to definitively discern if a computer has been deeply compromised, and that one's best bet is to do a backup/wipe, then just copy back apps and data, but do any of you have recent tips or tricks for troubleshooting her concerns?
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 04, 2015 03:52PM
Why is she mucking around in the console? Tell her to stop. Its over her level of comprehension.

Is she an ex-PC user?



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: john-o
Date: February 04, 2015 05:07PM
Such a helpful response! How about just answering my questions?

And yes, she is an ex-PC user. Not that it's really relevant.
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: February 04, 2015 05:21PM
Need to know a little more about those console messages. Need context, and the entries before and after to figure out what it might be. At least *I* do... those don't make no sense to me.
And yes, do reassure her that spyware, etc is not anywhere CLOSE to as common on the Mac as on her "previous" platform. In that regard, it IS kind of relevant.



Paul F.
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A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: max
Date: February 04, 2015 05:46PM
Quote
john-o
Such a helpful response! How about just answering my questions?

And yes, she is an ex-PC user. Not that it's really relevant.

You may have not realized it, but it was a very helpful response


and relevant....
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: john-o
Date: February 04, 2015 06:21PM
Thanks Paul, for at least responding with something other than a rant. She didn't give me any more info than that, but I can get it. And she has good reason to be fearful of compromise; she had a former employee who took over quite a bit of her online business accounts after he was let go. In other words, her concerns aren't just coming from left field (and her previous experience with Windows).

I'll see if I can get more background on the console entries, and post back.
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: Marc Anthony
Date: February 04, 2015 06:27PM
This isn't likely a sign of anything being amiss. I have an instance of the same error on my Mac. A listener is just a process that waits for an Apple event, which could be anything—a dialog opening, clicking on a button, etc. Maybe an app crashed or something.



Le poète doit vivre beaucoup, vivre dans tous les sens. - Verlaine
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 04, 2015 07:08PM
OK, so more to the story. I never rant, just rave. =) And I had an employee pilfer my largest client when they left, so I get it.

Sadly the damage that person did is still lasting. But it *sounds like* she's looking for things that aren't really there.

Paul touched on what I almost posted the first time -- but it would have been irrelevant now since she had an employee take things -- but Macs are inherently secure. Im sure she's not passing out passwords willy-nilly anymore and 3rd party access is 0. No idea what her office is like, but for example, my old office was next to a dentist and a salon. The threat of them or their clients getting into my system was zero. There was no physical way.

As long as she's using good passwords and limited access -- and staying away from bit torrent, sketchy russian web sites and c|net (GENIO!$#*#!) she really has nothing to fear.

The time spent trying to find out what every message console spits out or going into worry mode that something that is wrong is just frustrating to everyone. I blame that dude that screwed her.

If its not something she can let go (again I get it) then perhaps something like Little Snitch would be a useful tool for her. Im gonna recommend against it, cause it gives tons of messages that mean nothing and might make her even more nervous over nothing.... but throwing it out there



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: February 04, 2015 08:16PM
Make sure she has her Firewall on, strong passwords and doesn't run as an Administrator.

I can find a dozen Console messages anytime where someone has tried to get inside my Mac. None of them get in. There are a lot of scary messages in Console, but rarely are they anything to worry about in relation to outside forces. Almost all relate to an internal problem.

Use this site to test her firewall:

[www.grc.com]



Remember how when you were little
you could just rip off your diaper and
just run around naked and everyone
thought it was so cute and funny?


Anyway, I need bail money.
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: john-o
Date: February 04, 2015 10:55PM
Thanks all! Your feedback is very reassuring.

And specifically to jdc: sorry if my first response was snarky. I should've given more of the backstory upfront. I very much appreciate your followup post.

I'll summarize all your suggestions for her, and try and get her to relax (as well as stay out of Console!)
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 05, 2015 12:59AM
Forget it. No worries. Don't even think twice about it. It's hard to show "feelings" on the web.

I'm sure if we were sitting drinking pale ales and eating fries this whole thing might have started off with me saying "omfg she sounds like a crazy nut!" and we would have both laughed and then decided what to really tell her.

I've had some clients with wierd neurosis over the years. This one I see now from time to time changes his gmail password EVERYDAY. Not kidding. Every morning he comes in. He often forgets. So now he writes it down. Sometimes he will get some sort of weird spam and thinks someone got into his system and he'll change it. I didn't even bother going there. He's eorried about someone getting in. Cause some tech guy he hired 5-6 years ago deleted some ancient emails. He's got 10000+ emails in it with 9500 of them unread. He works alone...,



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: February 05, 2015 06:20AM
Yeah, I don't get the email hoarding thing. I know two people who do this, one has 10k+ and the other almost 17k! These are all in their inboxes and not sorted in any way. Incredible.

On the paranoid side I used to support a woman who was positive that the Chinese were hacking her. Whenever she retired a Mac I was instructed to destroy the HD so any Chinese agents cruising the neighborhood on trash day couldn't steal her secrets. This consisted of zeroing the drive out, cutting any ribbon cables going into the hd case and then "deforming" the case with a big hammer. Then she would keep the dead drive because she was sure this was still not secure enough. This is the same person who thought nothing of sharing her personal details with unknown numbers of telemarketing solicitations. I told her that the Chinese were the least of her worries.



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: Client with fears of having their Mac compromised; evidence?
Posted by: hal
Date: February 05, 2015 12:29PM
Tell her that all of those telemarketers are chinese :-)
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