Did my Mac get hacked?

From today’s mail bag
My Mac acted very slowly for a week or so. Is it possible that it could have been hacked? The thing that concerns me is that it was slow for certain times, but then reverted to being okay.

A slow computer can appear in several forms. It could involve programs that take a long time to open. If that’s the case, then your troubleshooting focus should be on the contents of your hard drive. Does the problem only affect one program or all applications? Is it document-specific? That is, does the slowdown or glitch just affect a specific file and other documents open normally? 

Do you constantly see a spinning beach ball cursor whenever you try to do anything on your Mac? If so, a spinning beach ball does not necessarily mean you were hacked from the outside. It can occur for a variety of reasons, such as a low amount of available system memory when you try to perform a computer task or open a file.

Delays can result if your main hard drive is nearly full. My rule of thumb is to maintain at least 10% of the total hard drive capacity as free space. For instance, if you have a 250 gigabyte drive, make sure you have at least 25 gigabytes free. 

On the other hand, is the slowness problem isolated to Internet functions like email or surfing the web? If that’s the case, then I advise you to contact your Internet Service Provider to determine whether their service is being impacted by system maintenance work or a connectivity issue. 

While Mac OS X computers are not impervious to hacking, the likelihood is less than Windows PCs. Moreover, your router should be automatically configured to protect your Mac with its built-in firewall. If you’re still concerned about hacking, you can make sure to turn off File Sharing in the Sharing pane in System Preferences. Below is a link to an article that describes the procedure:

Disable Mac OS X (10.5 and 10.6) File Sharing

University of Delaware

A common technique to fix a spinning beach ball cursor is to restart your Mac. This clears up the memory buffers so that you can start computing with a clean slate.

Macs automatically perform daily, weekly, and monthly system maintenance tasks in the background. It’s possible that over time, that is what fixed the problem.



Filed under Apple Software, Mail Bag, Privacy, security, Troubleshooting

2 responses to “Did my Mac get hacked?

  1. It’s a feature. Vista doesn’t have this. That’s why we love OSX. Only messin’ with ya! The spinning cursor is an indication that the application you’re using is unresponsive – this could either mean the application is doing some time-consuming task and isn’t multi-threaded to allow user input at the same time; or that the application has crashed. The cursor only appears when the cursor is over menus or windows belonging to the offending application; generally you should be able to use the other applications normally. It might just last a few seconds, or if it lasts longer you may need to force-quit the application. If you find that it happens often and lasts a long time – particularly if it happens to a few applications at a time, or to the Finder – then you may have more serious problems with your system.

  2. What we see allot of is, Macintosh machines where the internal hard drive is in a half speed mode called SMART and about to fail and the user has clicked on the persistently advertised Mackeeper to speed up their Mac software that only increases the rate of failure if it is disk issues.
    The first issue can be tested with this software FREE and will tell you if your drive is failing ps only works with 10.5 onwards and checks the onboard chip on your hard drive. https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/24875/smart-utility
    When your drive has a number of errors SMART kicks in then slows the hard drive so you get longer to backup and replace it. Main problem is the the Geniuses at Apple for what ever reason have not built this VITAL warning into even the latest Mavericks Operating System. A bit like not building in a low oil light into your car, your not going to need it most of the time but when you do its is going to be critical.
    As for Mackeeper there are lots of separate FREE products that help you clean Cache or check for viruses but only one product that has patented technology to DeFrag your hard drive and speed it up and thats the good old DiskWarrior for Alsoft. Your Mac will slow down using MacKeeper because it is scanning all your files and if your drive is about to die, it will die sooner. Everyone knows that macs are not vulnerable unless you in the habit of put in your password and letting random software install on your computer.

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