back to article Apple fanbois warned: No, Cupertino HASN'T built a Bitcoin mining function into Macs

The denizens of internet horror-forum 4chan have come up with a hoax designed to trick Mac fans into deleting all the files on their machines by running commands supposedly needed to turn on hidden Bitcoin mining features. Apple's so-called secret mining feature, which 4channers claim has been present in Macs since 2009, can …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    For the LULZ

    Pretty sure

    sudo rm -rf/*

    would just yield an error message.


    sudo rm -rofl /

    is also a no-no, but would be very nice to have.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I suppose

      If they put out an article stating that Windows users should dunk their computers in a vat of acid to unlock a Windows 8 home page that doesn't have tiles Windows users would be convinced and do it en masse.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4chan really have become a bunch of morons of late.

    1. Greg D

      "4chan really have become a bunch of morons of late."

      No. They were always morons. You moron.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: "4chan really have become a bunch of morons of late."

        We are... What do you mean 'They were..."

        Escape, pah, I'd rather have an 'any' key.

      2. MrT

        "4chan really have become a bunch of morons of late."

        There's no bitcoin mining app in Macs...

        ...but 4chan have hit a particularly rich seam of moronium lately and are mining it for all they are worth.

      3. zb

        Re: "4chan really have become a bunch of morons of late."

        It is called terminal stupidity.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      4chan really are a bunch of moron since always.

      There, fixed that for you. If you ask me, anyone stupid enough to follow tech advise from there on there nice shiny iThing computers get what they deserve for the following.

      1: paying too much for a BSD based x86_64 computer that's unjustly hard to fix.

      2: being stupid enough to do anything 4chan says to do on it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fancy speccing me a machine that exactly matches the apple macbook pro, for the same price, with the same spec (including metal body, high res screen, quality components, and warranty that includes taking your laptop straight into a shop where they will fix or replace instantly for the next year). Am I genuinely in the market for a spec similar to the macbook pro and if you can get it half price for me its a deal

  3. Richard Taylor 2

    But if

    I was a manufacturer wishing to spread FUD about my console/pc then this would be a great way to do it - NEVERMORE quoth the Rave, NEVERMORE pay any attention to nothing outside of the holy script wot is our help pages.

  4. Turtle

    Clueful. And Otherwise.

    '"With many people intrigued by mainstream newspaper stories about Bitcoins, but lacking in knowledge about how to dip their toe into the waters of Bitcoin mining, there is a danger that some folks could take the advice seriously,' Cluley writes in a blog post featuring screenshots of the deliberately misleading flier."

    So here we have Cluley attempting to help the Clueless.

    Makes sense to me.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    dangers of 'sudo'

    This is why the 'sudo' command is disabled on all my *IX systems.

    Other hackers/admins may disagree but it works for me.

    1. Roo

      Re: dangers of 'sudo'

      "This is why the 'sudo' command is disabled on all my *IX systems."

      That seems a bit OTT, have you disabled 'su' and 'rm' as well ? ;)

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: dangers of 'sudo'

        "This is why the 'sudo' command is disabled on all my *IX systems."

        "That seems a bit OTT, have you disabled 'su' and 'rm' as well ? ;)"

        I remember seeing a strong recommendation in an "idiot's guide to DOS" book: Never ever, ever use "format". Explaining it does something you should never ever, ever have to do.

        Sure. "idiot's" guide indeed.

    2. Len Goddard

      Re: dangers of 'sudo'

      Any command which escalates the user to admin rights has its dangers in the hands of an inexperienced user (or an idiot). However, if you disable sudo you have to enable root login which has different and, in the opinion of most linux users, significantly more dangerous implications.

      Disbling sudo might "work for you" but if you are going to advocate it you should at least add a rider to explain that the alternative may be worse.

      The advantages and uses of sudo are explained here (and in many other places).

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: dangers of 'sudo'

        Well, none of my server systems run Ubuntu for starters. They are all RHEL/CentOS.

        'su' to root is also disabled. On the odd ocassions that I need root access once the system is up and running I will login as root directly. No remote login to root is allowed either. You have to be physically at the systems to do anything as root.

        All done through Selinux etc

        Oh, and the normal runlevel is 3.

        That good enough reason for you?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: dangers of 'sudo'

          Yes, but why don't you try this with a coupleo of machines in Cleveland, and a couple in Mobile. And tell me how that works out. (remember, you aren't allowed to drive, nor are you allowed to fly, nor are you allowed to use a terminal server)

      2. Steve Graham

        Re: dangers of 'sudo'

        That's the Ubuntu approach. Like many other aspects of Linux, they're going their own way there.

        Personally, I wouldn't find it acceptable that the default user has default root access to everything (on submission of the regular login password).

        You'll note that the first reason they give for doing it their way is that "The Ubuntu installer has fewer questions to ask." Oh, well that's all right then.

        1. phil dude

          Re: dangers of 'sudo'

          I agree, and would point interested readers to an article that was in Linux journal some years back about "how to make you machine not need root". That sort of security granularity is very nice for "common" users.

          As an aside, am I the only one who has had sysadmins very nicely use "alias rm 'rm -i'" to make sure newbies did not nuke their home directories?

          Of course with the "hourly.0" snapshot, who cares...;-)


  6. Spoonsinger

    My Ati 4850 equipped 'puter....

    during 2009, grossed me 0.04 of a bitcoin over about a month. Although this might be billions in the future, I just let the account I was using lapse and therefore I am a cautionary tale to the young about prospecting and generally being bothered. However at the time, it was just like being a Jack London character, except with central heating and less dogs. (but not really).

    1. al7

      Re: My Ati 4850 equipped 'puter....

      If you managed to mine just .04 bitcoins in 2009 I honestly wonder how you went about doing that because in 2010 I still managed to mine thousands on an old 4800 Athlon x2 trough cpu mining.

  7. Tom7

    rm -rf /*

    Really? Is this the best they can come up with? Surely 'echo mining_enabled > /boot/kernel.img'[1] or other foolery at least looks slightly plausible.

    [1] Excuse my utter ignorance of MacOS boot procedure - I'm sure you can improvise something suitable.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch

      Re: rm -rf /*

      Or maybe 'dd | ar win | sudo tee /boot/kernel.img'? Too subtle/meta?

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: rm -rf /*

      How about, your bitcoin is located inside the computer, it's the silver circular thing below the Cpu. Your bit coin balance is written on the front, some folks are lucky enough to have 2032 coins in CRedit.

    3. John Tserkezis

      Re: rm -rf /*

      "Really? Is this the best they can come up with?"

      Welcome to 1983. It appears that some all members of 4chan haven't grown up yet. Or, ever. Whatever.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No sympathy...

    ... for anyone sufficiently unaware of their own level of ignorance to fall for this. Darwinian force at work.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: No sympathy...

      Yeah, chicks only dig people who know their unix commandline. Oh wait, it's generally the opposite, sitting on your PC all day telling everyone how smart you are is more likely to result in YOU not reproducing.

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: No sympathy...

        Personally I consider it my Darwinian duty on behalf of geekdom to be not only a CLI guru but incredibly sexy and fecund.

        Wait - where did all the women go?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No sympathy...

          Wait - where did all the women go?

          TOGTFO !!

          apparently they all GTFO'd

        2. The Stainless Steel Cat

          Re: No sympathy...

          All the women went with the guy who was firft. Fecund gets you nothing.

      2. Steve Knox

        Re: No sympathy...

        You don't need to know unix commandline. You just need a basic understanding of human nature and a tiny bit of common sense. From that it's easy to derive that:

        A.) Apple would not have made a bitcoin mining utility which allowed users to take ownership of any bitcoins mined,and


        1. JDX Gold badge


          Very true except that

          a)most people have never even HEARD of 4Chan

          b)if someone starts copying it around the web the fact it came from 4Chan is irrelevant

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge

    plus ca change ....

    back in the 80s, people used to advise that "FORMAT C:\" was the magic command, and many "lulz" ensued.

    Of course everyone got wise to that.

    And then people started circulating "hacks" to speed your machine up. They were suitably impressive. You had to run DEBUG, and then issue an "OUT" command. Which proceeded to call your hard card (remember them ?) low-level format routine ...

    Am I alone in having no sympathy for someone who blindly follows something from the internet ? It's almost Darwinian .....

  10. Tim Russell


    I love this... not a supporter of 4Chan etc, but "get rich quick" or "something for nothing" idiots make me laugh, especially if they go and do this without having a clue what they are doing...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    trolling idiots

    has been happening forever. Who doesn't snigger when the BOFH tells a luser to wrap their floppy disks (remember those?) in magnets to protect against solar flares? Or tricking people into giving up passwords like this? Sure, these are nasty tricks and it's the worst possible way to learn a valuable lesson (though, as they say, good judgement only comes from experience and the best experience comes from bad judgement), but there are certain lessons (not replying to spam, not forwarding chain mail, disbelieving anything that sounds too good to be true and not basically not trusting anything on the Internet until you've verified it with another source among them) that everyone needs to learn.

    So yeah, sorry for the poor mugs that fall for it, but basically "meh".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: trolling idiots

      We laugh at thing like The BOFH because it's a story and we think "I'd sort of like to do that" but you that you can't because of basic decency. BOFH is not a real person or group of real people going all out to try to make another person's day as bad as they can, for a laugh, which is as pitiful as it is despicable.

      1. Steven Roper

        Re: trolling idiots

        "...real people going all out to try to make another person's day as bad as they can, for a laugh, which is as pitiful as it is despicable."

        I downvoted your comment because it illustrates perfectly the all-too-common mentality these days of refusing to take personal responsibility for one's decisions and actions. It is this mentality that has been the primary cause of the erosion of our liberties, more so even than the terrorist and paedophile canards; blaming others for our own bad decisions and seeking reparations from them for our mistakes is why "freedom of speech" has become a farce.

        If I told you that Toyota have been secretly including anti-gravity devices in all their cars manufactured since 2011 which can be activated simply by driving the car from altitude, and you go and drive your brand-new Prius off a cliff because you believed me, who's fault is that? I'm not the one who was driving the car. You were, ergo you and you alone are to blame. You made the decision to follow a stranger's advice without doing any research or checking up the facts for yourself before acting.

        Pranking people who don't stop to think for themselves is as old as laughter itself. It's the same sense of humour that causes Australians to warn tourists to put forks in their hats and toothpaste on their ears to ward off drop bears. It's the same sense of humour that has a barrack-room sergeant sending a new recruit to engineering to fetch a "long weight." It's a basic aspect of human nature to prank each other, and has been for millennia - until now.

        Branding people as "pitiful and despicable" for merely having a prankish or twisted sense of humour is really what is pitiful and despicable here.

    2. Nelbert Noggins

      Re: trolling idiots

      But if people actually disbelieve anything that sounds too good to be true and didn't buy said items, think of the sudden unemployment increase as many 'outlet villages', 'upto 90% off' brand label stores, broadband companies, mobile companies* and marketing companies found themselves out of business.

      And what would all those poor people wanting to give me millions if I help transfer funds out of their country or collect the lottery winnings from a country I've never been to do?

      *1Gb of data for £10 a month is not a shed load. Unlimited for £12 a month could be called a shed load... and I very big shed a that.

      1. RAMChYLD

        Re: trolling idiots

        "*1Gb of data for £10 a month is not a shed load. Unlimited for £12 a month could be called a shed load... and I very big shed a that."

        If your ISP is anything like mine tho, 12 quid a month for unlimited could mean "1Gb at full speed, after which your connection will be throttled to 64kbps until the next billing date, of which will cause most modern websites and services to timeout on you".

    3. monkeyfish

      Re: trolling idiots

      'good judgement only comes from experience and the best experience comes from bad judgement'

      I'd say you have to break at least 3 PCs to point of having to re-install everything before you actually have clue what your doing with them. But maybe I'm just thick.

  12. Khaptain Silver badge

    The mightiest of the seven sins

    Greed - it'll get them every time..

    ( Danté quoted Pride as being the worst sin, personally I would suggest Greed at least for 1st world countries.)

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: The mightiest of the seven sins

      Yup, you only have to look at how many people willingly hand over their life savings to help Nigerian Oil heirs. I'm going out on a limb here but it is a combination of greed and stupidity rather than wanting to help that nice ambassadors son get his inheritance that gets them on the front page of the newspaper.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: The mightiest of the seven sins

        Seriously, has anyone actually handed over their life savings to Nigerian Oil heirs? Really?

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: The mightiest of the seven sins

          Sadly yes, people have even stolen money to send. Hard to believe but greed is powerful and some folks are both weak and stupid.

  13. Frumious Bandersnatch

    :(){ :|: & };:

    That is all. :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: :(){ :|: & };:

      Forkbombs only work on Linux.

      BSDs laugh at them

      1. phil dude

        Re: :(){ :|: & };:

        ok anon, educate us, how does BSD do it?

        To the original poster, thank you for making me laugh so hard I nearly spilt my tea!!

        It seems a bit silly but simple workaround is to make /proc/sys/kernel/pid_max < /proc/sys/kernel/system_pid_max


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have never understood why anyone would take anything on /b/ seriously. Ever.

    If you believe 'helpful' advice interspersed in the piles of scat pr0n, then you'll be deserving all you get. It's not quite the same thing as Experts-Exchange.

    1. SolidSquid

      People don't take things on /b/ seriously, they take the things on /b/ and post them elsewhere to make it more plausable, then start re-tweeting/reposting it elsewhere so it seems like a trending topic. Any reference back to 4chan is hidden so it's harder to pick up that it's fake

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        And if you believe anything that's posted on a community help site then your a moron.

        If I had a penny for every time somebody has suggested on a random community site some poor idiot gets told to reformat a computer or reinstall windows instead of doing something sensible, then while I might not be a millionaire I certainly would be able to afford to eat well off of that money for a few days!

        A personal favourite of mine is the advice to stick your computer in a DMZ so you don't have to configure a firewall which can be found on pretty much any gaming site.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When you do this, do they post you the Bitcoin or pay it directly into your bank account?

    1. Bloakey1

      A man in a Mac drops it off in a dead letterbox underneath the local bridge. Watch out for the troll when you retrieve it.

  16. i like crisps


    A DEADLY combination of Judo and Sudoku....

  17. i like crisps


    ...that's why its caught people out.....we're all suckers for trying to make a fast buck.

  18. Arctic fox

    "....If you follow tech guidelines from.....then you're an......."

    Well, if they buy their tech from..... oh, alright I won't go there, but it is incredibly tempting.

  19. T. F. M. Reader

    Given that only the unwashed would try sudo rm -rf /* ...

    ... and this is, apparently, a problem, should one conclude that every clueless Mac luser is automatically added to /etc/sudoers on the first login or something?!?!

    1. Slap

      Re: Given that only the unwashed would try sudo rm -rf /* ...

      Unfortunately the truth is that the vast majority of mac computers have only one account, and that is the account the user created upon first turning the machine on. This is always an admin account and therefore always part of the sudoers list.

      I actually think that I'm the only mac user that has a managed account for day to day computing and an admin account for well, you know, admin thingies.

  20. Tom 35

    Is it compatable

    with waterproof iPhones?

  21. Aaron 10

    Pwn n00bs

    One particular 4chan thread made me laugh. Someone was trolling about how he could hack anyone's computer. One anon gave him his IP address: The troll told the thread how he was able to see "this guy's" files -- not realizing they were his own! He was so happy to be able to delete the \windows\system32 folder on the "remote" system. We didn't see any more posts from him...

    1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Re: Pwn n00bs

      OK, he gets into this system (his own) and the first thing he does is delete system files? That is pretty funny, he really did get what was coming to him 8-)

      (N.B. for anyone who is wondering, although is standard localhost address, 127.x.x.x all actuallly connect to localhost.)

    2. jbuk1

      Re: Pwn n00bs

      Unless this person was on a Windows 2000 box then I guess you've never heard of Windows file protection?

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    I thought "sudo rm -Rf /*" was the command that magically made iphones waterproof. (Yes some idiots a few months ago believed -- I think because people on 4chan said so -- that some ios update would magically make their non-waterproof iphones waterproof.)

  23. Charles Manning

    Don't be taken in by this negativity

    If you have a Mac then please don't be taken in by all this negativity being spewed by the anti_Mac brigade.

    They are all just jealous that Windows doesn't have a bitcoin mining function. Ignore their spitefulness and mine away.

  24. Old Handle
    Thumb Down

    I'm sure the XBone thing actually got some people, but I'd be surprised if many fell for this one.

  25. ecofeco Silver badge

    The Derp is strong... most people.

  26. SVV

    But you can't screw up a Mac, unlike Windows......

    And there I was thinking that my Mac was like a Fisher Price toy that couldn't be damaged....

    Unless they come with a manual that talks about the *nix teminal window and says "ON NO ACCOUNT USE THIS UNLESS YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING" then although I despise this unfunny attempt to make non techie people's lives worse because of their supposed inferiority because, hey, they don't understand the unix command line, then Apple should admit that they make massively customizable personal computers that you can screw up royally if you do things you don't understand, just like all the others.......

  27. nuked

    "Apple Mac" - their problems started here.

  28. Joe Gurman

    The real laugh here evidenced on most Mac online tech forums, is that even when led by the hand or other appendage, most Mac users won't open a terminal window and enter a shell command if their lives depend on it, so ironically, they're almost all safe from this wheeze.

    Jokes told in Linux just don't have the same punchlines when told to a native OS X-speaker.

  29. codeusirae

    sudo rm -rf / *

    Unless the user is a member of sudoers group, then that command would have no effect. See also "Protection of the filesystem root" ...


    never type Google into Google, you can break the Internet ..

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    old joke is old


  31. Alan Brown Silver badge

    In the old days

    We'd just tell people that they could access all the best porn by holding down ALT and pressing F4 at the same time.

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