Macs are known for their superb security system. I personally think that Windows are easier to get viruses than macs based on my experience of killing my first Windows laptop by allowing some strange dialogue box to update my windows system. However, my mac still got viruses just a day ago. And I realized that the biggest danger to my mac isn’t a bad security system — instead it was my curiosity that kills it.
So it was a cool Sunday afternoon. I had just finished all of my homework (or maybe that was my excuse for browsing on the web) and started looking for a crack for Sibelius. There was a really good melody in my head that I was in an urge to record it but I could not find any tool. The basic version for Sibelius was actually quite good already but the song that I was thinking of includes so many different musical instruments that Sibelius Basic does not have. And so therefore I was on my journey to a crack for Sibelius Pro.
As usually I went in and out of website, but Sibelius seemed to protect its copyright really well and I could not find even one pirated version of it. The only ones that I could find were the websites that automatically generate webpages that says “XXX’s crack” or “XXX free down” but are actually another app when you actually download and open the package. I got really frustrated seeing all these unzipped files that says FlashPlayer (remember they are supposed to be cracks for Sibelius?) and the RAR files scattered around my desktop.
I was just going to hurl these into the trash bin in the corner of my screen when I suddenly thought: Why not see what’s inside? It was a stupid thought, an extremely stupid idea indeed, but there was the devil in my heart continuously prompting me to do the “double-click”. The icon was there. Open it up and install it and I will see what it is and what it does, I was thinking. I knew it’s a scam but what’s there to be afraid of? At the worst, it would just not run and I would just move it to trash. A package file ending up in the trash was just a matter of time, why not try something fun if I couldn’t install Sibelius Pro anyways?
So then the process started. I knew exactly how to start installing, to authenticate the app, to key in my password and to drag things around. It was awesome. The fun of seeing the process bar slowly reaching for the end at the right was more enjoyable than everything else.
Installation ends. While I was closing the window I suddenly realized that some other softwares were also installed: there was one called “Phase Search” — an app with a green icon and the sign with a magnifier in the middle, another app called something doctor, and some so-called photo editor.
This was a really common case if it was in windows. Some apps just want to promote some other apps so that they make you accidentally download something else when you are downloading the apps you want. Just delete the ones you don’t want. It was that easy. So I proceeded to the “Applications” folder and searched for the five extra apps that I downloaded by chance.
And then it started. Mac’s default browser Safari opened on its own. I was quite surprised. Instinctively I did ⌘ ⌥ esc to quit Safari, but something was faster than me. A series of apps suddenly jumps out and blocked my sight to the Force Quit Window. I tried to reselect the window, but I couldn’t move my mouse. It seemed to get stuck.
I used my trackpad instead and tried to move the cursor on the screen. It was no use. My cursor was controlled by something.
Instantly my sight went to the opened apps. There were five of them, exactly the ones I unexpectedly installed. The “Phase Search”, “Doctor”, “Photo Editor”, “Image editor”.
esc! My cursor was as still as a statue in the middle of the screen.
Windows started jumping out. At a rate of several per second. 10 of them, 20 of them, 30 of them, gradually covering my whole 15-inch screen. NOOOOOO!!!!
My mac started fanning, beeping irregularly like a siren. It was a mix of red and orange and yellow on the screen. “100 windows opened!” One of the windows says, I didn’t know which. It was a huge mess everywhere. Everything appeared as a flash in a fraction of a second and then being covered by another new window again.
So force-quit did not work, cursor did not work, staring at the screen and be at a loss at what to do was the least helpful thing of the all. I stared at the button at the top right part of my keyboard, thinking of my unsaved documents, my Econs and Compsci essays unsaved in Microsoft word. It was the only choice.
I pressed the button.
My sight turned black abruptly in a brief second, and then I drew my self back to the reality. The fanning without any warning stopped “phew” it said.
It was just 5 minutes ago since I double-clicked and put my mac’s fate in the mouth of a shark. 6:15, the clock said as I sat back with my head blank. Perhaps the virus drained all of my energy too. It was always summer in Singapore, yet it feels so cold sitting in an aircon room hearing wind whistling violently outside.