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Did I harm my mac by connecting via a proxy server?
February 20, 2008 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Did I harm my mac by connecting via a proxy server?

So I was in India, desperate to watch last week's episode of LOST on abc.com, but the player told me it was only available to people in the US. So I tried connecting via a US proxy, despite warnings that doing so is dangerous. Now I'm back in the US and my internet connection is very spotty and slow... a problem i've never had before. My wife's PC (which shares our airport connection) is also now behaving strangely.

What have I done? Do I have spyware or something invading my mac? Have I caught a bug and infected my entire home network? What can I do to fix this?
posted by muscat to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
"Do I have spyware or something invading my mac? Have I caught a bug and infected my entire home network?"

It's exceedingly unlikely, to the point of being dismissible.

"What can I do to fix this?"

Troubleshoot the problems normally, discarding the fact that you used an HTTP proxy for a few minutes. Follow the usual procedure for troubleshooting your internet connection -- resetting modems and routers and so forth.

"My wife's PC (which shares our airport connection) is also now behaving strangely."

"Strangely" isn't a technical term that provides information that could be used to help you. What does "strangely" mean to you?
posted by majick at 9:19 AM on February 20, 2008


Do you still have your computer configured to use the proxy? That would explain the erratic behavior.
posted by mikeh at 9:23 AM on February 20, 2008


Just in the interest of eliminating the obvious, you did tell it to stop using the proxy, right?
posted by Wolfdog at 9:23 AM on February 20, 2008


I'm with majick on this. Although its possible you picked up some sort of malware, its unlikely for a variety of reasons.

1.) You say your using a Mac (assuming OSX). The vast majority of malware and viri are made for Windows, so that "insulates" you quite a bit right there.

2.) When you went through the proxy... did it prompt you to install any software/plugins/etc ??
What browser were you using ?

What exactly does "strange behavior" mean to you ?... are you getting more popups, spam? New icons on the desktop?, browser homepage changed ?

Dont overwhelm yourself by trying to troubleshoot multiple computers at the same time. Break things down into manageable bite size pieces and start from there. Have you rebooted everything (broadband modem, router, computers,etc) at home?... scanned for viri/spyware?
posted by jmnugent at 9:28 AM on February 20, 2008


Sounds likely that it's just a fluke and it's just a problem with your Internet connection or router. Even if you were still using the proxy on your computer by accident, that shouldn't affect your wife's computer at all.
posted by joshrholloway at 10:48 AM on February 20, 2008


If you didn't install any software to connect to the proxy (other than maybe a common Firefox plugin), I think you are fine, it's just standard HTTP traffic running thru the proxy. (And you are on a Mac for god's sake!)
posted by bprater at 12:23 PM on February 20, 2008


Yeah strange behavior is just a slow/spotty internet connection on both the mac and the PC. And I did disconnect from the proxy right away.

Thanks for all the info!
posted by muscat at 12:28 PM on February 20, 2008


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