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View Full Version : Am I being paranoid or is this normal



finelux
03-27-2017, 09:44 PM
Okay so today I went to a Starbucks and connected to the free wifi automatically on my macbook air (an old 2011 model running Yosemite).

Started typing a message to my friend on facebook (chrome) and as I was typing the laptop seemed to start typing something which resembled what I was typing (i was typing "im ready" but the laptop kept on repeating imimimimimim mridae mridae mridae). The laptop repeated this for maybe around 50 times repeating the word "mridae" (even affter i lifted my hands) after a string of "immimmmimm". I kinda ignored it and thought it was probably just a chrome bug or maybe just a mac glitch but I started to think abit more about it. 20 minute later it hit me that this could possibly be a bit sketchy so I disconnected from the public wifi. At first I checked whether or not it was just a case of me accidentally pasting the same thing over and over again but when I checked what i had copied was definitely not mridae... I also realised then after using the laptop for a good 20-25 minutes that my firewall was OFF the whole time. The only thing I had on was Sophos Anti-Virus home edition, which I don't think has a firewall function. Additionally I had sharing files on (luckily nothing important was in my public folder).

later on whilst still disconnected from the wifi, my sophos (for the first time ever) detected something called a "zako plugin".

okay. so im a bit creeped out like... is my laptop safe? i am mostly concerned about my data being stolen because of the public wifi and lack of firewall.

is there anyway to check if this has happened?

I've already since run a sophos scan and also a bitdefender one but that doesn't really let me know if any of my data was stolen!

does the keyboard thing sound normal or dodgy??

is it really that bad for a mac to connect to a public wifi without a firewall??

chscag
03-27-2017, 10:34 PM
Welcome to our forums.

You should always be careful when using any public WiFi - Starbucks, McDonalds, Panera, etc. Very definitely turn on your firewall and if you do any kind of banking or use of your credit card over public WiFi, you should use a VPN (virtual private network). As for Sophos or Bitdefender, they're not needed since there are no viruses in the wild that can infect your Mac. All those do is slow you down and use resources. (The zako plugin is malware that only infects Windows computers.)

finelux
03-28-2017, 05:18 AM
Thanks chscag. I will follow your advice regarding the firewall and antivirus from now on.

I was primarily wondering whether or not theres anything I can do to check that my macbook hasn't been accessed at that time.
I haven't been able to figure out why my computer typed the same word for approximately fifty times without it being copy and pasted on my computer...

Is the risk for a macbook being accessed over public wifi (while firewall is down, and public sharing is on but only to the public file which is emtpy) high?
Is it even possible for my macbook to be accessed this way?

chscag
03-28-2017, 10:23 AM
Is the risk for a macbook being accessed over public wifi (while firewall is down, and public sharing is on but only to the public file which is emtpy) high?
Is it even possible for my macbook to be accessed this way?

I would say yes, the risk is high especially nowadays when everyone owns a smartphone. It's not uncommon to see folks hanging around Starbucks, McDonalds, and other places where WiFi is free, and you know they're not customers. I go to Starbucks myself but am always careful not do any sensitive accessing which could compromise my passwords or data.

And yes, it's fairly easy for someone with know how to gain access to your MacBook when on public WiFi. Especially if your firewall is down and you have sharing turned on. You would be surprised how naive some folks are with their computers and smartphones not realizing how open they are to having their data stolen. It's OK to use public WiFi but always be aware. If you frequent places where public WiFi access is available, you should be using a VPN (virtual private network). Go to Wikipedia and look that up and see if it's something you need. ;)