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macOS Localhost:8080 SOCKS Proxy Issue

Proxy Control Center

The Proper Normal Screen

There has been an Issue with my MAC mini with Mojave V. 10.14.5. I am being specific here as I don’t know how universal this issue is.  Some thing (maybe a virus) has been installing a SOCKS proxy server at localhost port 8080. on my Ethernet connection. I haven’t tried a Wifi connection. I want the speed of a wired LAN connection.

What that does, is create many timeouts with the MAC Mail application and blocks access for Safari from reaching the internet. I have searched the internet and found other users experiencing the problem. However, no-one has posted a solution.

One other problem was that at cold or warm boot, the HDMI video would start for a few seconds then permanently blank out to blank (black). Another re-boot was necessary to get HDMI video back and to stay on.

I have deleted the SOCKS proxy many times and it will re-install every time. Not immediately but usually after a reboot or cold start. I have set the auto discover off and tried, unchecked proxy and deleted localhost and the 8080. It always comes  back.

On one internet search I saw a table entry that wasn’t explained. There is an input box in the proxies table. Its labeled “Bypass proxy settings for these Hosts & Domains:” In the box was entered: *.local, 169.254/16

OH! That’s very interesting.

I checked the WiFi setup in my MAC and it also had the “.local, 169.254/16” and there again was the “bad” SOCKS proxy for localhost:8080! 

The 169.254/16 entry is an internal (local) LAN only IP assignment. It does not connect to anything on the Internet. The IP range is used when DHCP can’t be obtained for a local LAN connection like a computer to computer direct connection.

So, I made the same bypass entry and the dirty little SOCKS issue seems to have gone away! I don’t know which table entry solved the problem. 

The real problem is still whatever malware is creating the SOCKS Proxy server.

Here is the path to the entry screen, shown in the lead photo, for making this bypass addition (if missing).

System Preference / Network / Ethernet / Advanced / Proxies

With this bypass configuration, the localhost proxy:8080 seems to be harmless when  it reinstalls, but who knows what else it may be doing (like spyware…)

Now to fix that SOCKS problem.

I had to buy software to fix the dirty SOCKS problem. I purchased a program called Antivirus VK from the Apple App Store. My assumption is such software sold there has been vetted by Apple. This is not a product ENDORSEMENT OR RECOMMENDATION.

The scan found two infections spread out in about eight files / directories that are virus malware. Three directories had to be deleted manually using the admin password. Deeply imbedded from easy or auto removal.

With them all removed, so far there have been no more SOCKS server loaded at boot time.

I think the malware was installed when I attempted to load an Adobe Flash update. It also dumped in a lot of unwanted bloat/option-ware that I think caused my problem.

The update looked like a official Adobe site, but later investigation revealed it had to be a spoofed Adobe website. I went to the real Adobe update site through proper channels and there is no concealed “option-ware” attached to the official Adobe update source.

Lesson re-learned. Pay VERY close attention to what I choose to load on my computer.

Abusive User Reports

There are a lot of trolls and grinches is the world of consumer user reports. Also, some ignorant users who have no qualms about revealing their ignorance because they have no clue how ignorant they are. The concept of finesse in using a product or tool escapes them. Their world is “plug and play”. Problems or failure is never their own. Blame always belongs to the product or maker. They enjoy a sense of “empowerment” to cast a minority negative vote on a generally good product.

In some cases, negative user reports are attempted user blackmail against the seller. “Do what I ask, or I will hurt your business…”

That’s my rant. Rant somewhat over.

My solution is to accept these people as a fact of life. A verified purchaser is not an indication of a qualified person. It is a step towards filtering out fakers and competitive lies, but no guarantee of that.

Knocking off stars is a hobby activity for some people. Some reports are laughable and a form of entertainment. I am sure they are written to be deliberately stupid sounding. “I bought a 6-inch extension widget, but it doesn’t fit my 4-inch task. Minus 2 stars…” Whatt!!!??

I scan the negative “user reports” if there are a lot of them. If only a few, they simply don’t count at all. A large number (hundreds) of reports with a considerable number of negatives are rare. Negative user reports do have an effect on purchases. Truly bad products generally don’t gather a large number of reports. The system does work, but caries the burden of the abuser.

I have given my share of bad or negative user reports. Some product problems do present a legitimate need to be reported. Poor quality of manufacturing or misleading product information as examples.

The difference is between a “product report” and a “user experience report”. They are not the same thing. The readers task is to decide which type has been presented.

“I bought the “QRZ 3-D printer”. “I have had it for three days and nothing will print”. “I rate it 1 star.” “Don’t waste your money like I did…”

Uh… dude. That’s the best professional printer available. Could it be that you are not a “qualified” user?  It’s definitely your experience, but it is not indicative of a bad product.

I will always wonder why these people are willing to put this sort of admission into print. They exist. It’s a form of attack on “the system”. The two-year-old breaks a toy and starts throwing a frustration tantrum to get what is wanted from the parent. Transfer the problem to someone else.

In 1909 Harry Gordon Selfridge coined the phrase, “The customer is always right”. That’s the farthest thing from the truth and is not the ongoing standard of really good customer service. Bad (bully) customers exist and attempt to use this phrase as their excuse in abusing the customer satisfaction system. It’s never been a law. It’s simply a 110-year-old, non-realistic, marketing slogan. The fact is, private business by law, has the right to not provide a service or do business, if it is not a defined discrimination (such as racial reasons).

The abusive demanding customers with groundless claims, are often and willingly referred to the competition. No business really needs or wants a chronic complainer. The best solution is doing what they usually threaten. Going to the “other guy”. Mutual respect solves more problems than outrageous demands.

Abusers clearly visible within the “user reports” system, also garner no respect or fear with their false or unrealistic expectations. Just part of the “spam” in today’s instant and open communication age. Best ignored and left to their personal misery.

Some sellers post a counter-offer with a willingness to help, which is usually end-of-story.

Carveco = Vectric?

I received an email a few days ago from a software company named “Carveco”. It was an introduction and an offer to pre-invest in CAD software that replaces a product called ArtCAM. I had not realized that Autodesk had shut down ArtCAM last year. It appears they sold out to this Carveco group. ArtCAM was pretty much the top level program for 2.5 D CAD/CAM in sign making, wood carving, and what I do in my jewelry design. It’s like the super-set of Vectric Aspire

I chose Vectric Aspire because back in the day […] Continue reading » Carveco = Vectric?

A Camera for MAC

Added a camera to the MACmini. 

macOS is intended to work with iSight camera built into the Apple screens and laptops. So sometimes it can be problematic adding a USB camera to the Apple Operating System. 

I have a Logitech 9000 pro, a rather older edition in the Logitech camera line. I did some on-line research and Logitech says no drivers are necessary for the latest macOS.

I plugged the camera in the one of the USB3 ports in the back of the MAC. The camera could not be found. I checked through the probable causes on the Logitech site.

One of them was using a USB3 connection. […] Continue reading » A Camera for MAC

Computer Needs

I am about “computered” out for now. I added a couple of SBC (Single Board Computers) running the Linux operating system and a new Apple MAC mini with of course the macOS operating system to my computer collection.

The SBC micro computers will go into stasis for a while. Presently there is no real need or application for them. They were a nice diversion and an interesting experiment. Every bit real computers but limited in total performance.

The MAC mini is a full house personal computer. Every bit as powerful and useful as any other Internet capable computer I own. It is the equal to the PC’s […] Continue reading » Computer Needs