Even a consultant can get attacked
Here are the symptoms I experienced:
- When I clicked on a drop-down menu (e.g., the Apple icon or File menu, the menu would disappear when I released the click or when I tried to drag through the menu to the item I wanted.
- Any popup request, such as "do you really want to reboot the system" would immediately have its "Cancel" button pressed and the popup would go away. I couldn't reboot, for goodness sake! I had to shut down the system manually.
- I couldn't boot into Safe Mode.
- I couldn't use shortcuts.
- When I tried to run the embedded scanner on my Mac, it would drop to the background and I couldn't get the foreground windows to minimize or the scanner window to maximize. (Starting to sound a little fishy to me!)
- In a list of items, such as my Inbox in Entourage, I couldn't select a contiguous list using the Shift key, nor could I use the Command key to select multiple, non-contiguous items.
- When I tried to run Activity Monitor, I couldn't bring the main windows up, no matter what I did. The application was running, but I couldn't see it. This is the point where I started to think seriously about it being malware.
The good newses* are:
- I backup with Time Machine, so if it is really bad, I can get a new hard drive and reinstall everything.
- I have another Mac, so I can run the scan from the iMac but slave my McBook to it as a hard drive.
- I have the special Firewire cable required to do the job.
Turns out, my MacBook was infected with the:
It's been removed from my Mac and all is well (or appears to be. I will be checking my credit card charges more often for a while just to be sure.)
The two takeaways from this are:
- Macs CAN get infected these days.
- Malware CAN get by security software.
- ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS back up your data!
- Even someone who takes great care can have their computer get infected. No one is immune.
(There are three types of people in the world - those who can count and those who cannot.)
I don't know how the trojan got on my Mac, so I'll be watching the 'Net for more info.
I used the assistance of the expert computer folks who hang out at Experts-Exchange.com. As often happens there, I am indebted to "strung" for helping solve the problem. The thread can be found here (you may need to create an account to see it, but there are free accounts):
Check me out on FaceBook (www.facebook.com/PlaitSlolutions). "Like" my company while there, please!
* - Yeah. I know. It just sounded like that ought to be the word to use.