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Chrome & Safari suddenly can't load most sites

My kid's macbook was able to browse all sites till about 2 days ago, it give
"Cant Connect to Server" on both Safari & Chrome.  

Only a few sites could still connect: google.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com

Even sites/links that are the return results of the search engines could
not load.

I'm no Apple product user so I can't ascertain if there's tools that block
non child-safe sites or there's a firewall working.

I have a couple of other Thinkpads that connect to the very same home
Wifi broadband that could load all sites, so don't think it's the Wifi or
broadband related
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sunhux
Asked:
sunhux
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6 Solutions
 
strungCommented:
Do your kids sign in with a non-admin account? If so, parental controls might be activated. Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Users and Groups. Click on the Admin account and open "Parental Controls".

Also, it is possible the firewall has been turned on. (Most people leave it off.) Check:

Apple Menu > System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Firewall

It is also possible that they have downloaded a Trojan that is highjacking the DNS. You can check this by downloading, installing and running a free anti-virus program, like Avira:  https://www.avira.com/en/free-antivirus-mac
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serialbandCommented:
That's usually a DNS error.  It may possibly be DNS hijacking, but it's also possbile that DNS messed up on its own.  You can either reboot, or reset DNS.

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
https://support.apple.com/en-bw/HT202516

You should probably install an Adblocker, before you let your kids get on the internet.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
My Thinkpads & that MacBook should be using the same DNS : if the Mac has
DNS issue, shouldn't the 2 Thinkpads & 1 Dell face the same issue?

My teenage kid's original Mac's screen cracked, so the insurance company
give us this loaner set which worked for 2-3 weeks till about 3 days ago,
it stopped browsing most sites
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strungCommented:
You can certainly check to see if it is using the same DNS as the other computers. Go to System Preferences > Network > Advanced > DNS to see what DNS servers are being used. While you are in the Network prefs, check the "Proxies" tab to make sure no proxies are set.
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serialbandCommented:
The DNS on a Mac can sometimes mess up.  Sometimes you just have to reset the DNS to fix it.  You may also try resetting the SMC and the PRAM.  That fixes a lot of simple issues with Macs.  I just had to do it with a system that lost USB and SDCard port access to get them working again.

SMC reset:
Turn off Mac.
Plug in power cord.
Hold left shift control option, then press and hold the power button.
Release.

PRAM reset:
Power on your Mac.
During bootup, press and hold command option p r
Wait for it to chime 3 times for a full PRAM reset.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Just checked what Strung suggests earlier:
Parental control has always been Off for the Admin as well as Student accounts
while Firewall has always been Off too : I login using Admin account this time.

None of the proxies are checked.

Doing PRAM reset now ... will update

Thing is all accounts are without password : hope nobody hacked into them
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strungCommented:
Did you check to see if the DNS the Mac was using was different from the other computers?
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strungCommented:
You could also try manually setting the DNS to the google public DNS servers:

8.8.8.8
8.8.4.4
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
PRAM reset : by holding down  Command, Option, p   &   r keys down all at the
same time : it chimes 3 times & after I let go, it chimes a fourth time: still no joy
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strungCommented:
Please check the DNS as my previous several posts. It is possible your kids downloaded a Trojan that has changed the DNS.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
DNS on the Mac is the default gateway ie the broadband router's IP which is what
the other laptops are using too.

Anyway, I manually set the DNS to 8.8.8.8 & 8.8.4.4 : still cant' browse.

Apple Appstore connects though on this MAC & I could see list & search
the various apps : before I invest in an AV, just want to be sure as most
of it are not free for MAC OSX
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Havent tried the SMC reset : worth trying?

Btw, I noted a "JunOS Pulse Secure" app that pops up : I guess this was loaded by the school:
I click on Connect  on this app but it did not help too.  Now I cancel it
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strungCommented:
There are a number of free AV programs for Mac:  Avast and Avira are two.
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serialbandCommented:
Try opening the terminal and see if the following commands work,

ping 8.8.8.8
ping www.google.com
nslookup www.google.com


Next, try those commands with other sites.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
SMC reset did not help too.

Is there a good free AV in appstore?   Malwarebytes?

I've manually delete away all DNS & rekey in 192.168.1.254 (ie the
default gwy ie the broadband router) : still no joy
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strungCommented:
JunOs sounds like a VPN application. I wonder if that is causing the problem?

Could you please post a screenshot of your main Network prefs window?

To create a screen shot on a Mac, type command-shift-4, The cursor will turn to a cross-hairs. Move the cross-hairs to the top left of the Network prefs window, click and drag to the lower right and release. You should hear a sound like a shutter clicking and the screenshot should appear on your desktop in a file called "Screenshot..."
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Though I could search in Appstore, whenever I click on "INSTALL APP", it
came back with a message "Could not complete purchase, could not
connect to the server" :
looks like access to appstore has issue too
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strungCommented:
See if you can browse to http://www.trilliumphotoclub.org

If you cannot, then open Terminal (just search for it using the magnifying glass at the top right of the menu bar)

and type in  ping trilliumphotoclub.org

If your DNS is working correctly, it should show that trilliumphotoclub.org resolves to 192.186.201.195 and should return the pings.

Also, in terminal type:

traceroute trilliumphotoclub.org

and post the results back here.

Also try traceroute 192.186.201.195
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
I still could login to gmail all these while (ie during the above changes),
 but upon logout, it will display a message "Site could not be reached":
the gmail logout page cant be displayed I guess.

Google & Yahoo search pages could load though their search results
won't load when I click on the links (in the returned results)
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strungCommented:
Could you please download and run Etrecheck: https://etrecheck.com/#download and post the results here?

If it won't download to the Mac because of the problems you are having, download it to another computer and transfer it to the Mac with a thumb drive.

Etrecheck will do a software and hardware inventory of your Mac which can be useful to us in diagnosing problems.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Can't load   http://www.trilliumphotoclub.org  ,   it gives
"This site cant be reached" like most other sites

In the Terminal (guess it's a BSD Unix) prompt, ping the trillium site resolves & responds ie to:
192.186.201.195

In fact pinging to any URLs (cisco.com, experts-exchange.com) all resolves with roundtrip
timings given.

At the Terminal prompt, I issued "netstat -rn" and the Internet IPv4 routing table looks Ok
(tho I don't know how to read the IPv6 routing table) : reason is years ago, I had a very
nasty static/persistent route which stops me from browsing any sites on a Win XP but
it doesn't look like the case with this MAC
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strungCommented:
Can you browse to http://192.186.201.195. ?
Also can you post the trace routes I suggested?
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Gee, I've never tried so much things on a Mac in my whole life.
Luckily I'm Unix trained.

Serial's suggestions: yes, both pings & nslookup resolve correctly
ping 8.8.8.8
ping www.google.com
nslookup www.google.com

Tried browsing by IP & it gave "this site cant be reached" so I guess it's not a DNS issue
http://192.186.201.195

Give me a while to set up an ftp server so that I could transfer the tool over to the Mac
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strungCommented:
So it sounds like either a VPN or a firewall issue.

Try rebooting into safe mode by booting while holding down the shift key. If you can then browse normally, we know the problem is a log on item.

If you can browse normally in safe mode, download and run Etrecheck and post the results back here.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
I got the EtreCheck.zip plus Aviraxxx.exe ftp'ed over (in binary mode):

Unzipped the 'Etrecheck.zip' into /var/tmp.  How do I install/use it?
What about the exe Avira file?

I'll take screen shots of 'netstat -rn' & traceroute & ftp over in a while
as I have to go to the gents for a while
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strungCommented:
Move Etrecheck into the Applications folder and double-click on it.

If the Avira file you downloaded is a .exe file, that is a PC version and won't run on a Mac. The Mac version is here:

https://www.avira.com/en/free-antivirus-mac

But before you do anything, try the safe booting as I mentioned above.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Btw, how do you want me to run the traceroute?  

traceroute 192.186.201.195  > /var/tmp/trace.txt
& send over the trace.txt

Figured how to run Etre :
cd ./MacOS
./EtreCheck

It found about 6 Adwares, I'm going to click "Remove".

But where do I find the output/report of this EtreCheck ?
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strungCommented:
There should be a "share" button at the top left of the Etrecheck window. You then send it by e-mail to your other computer and post it here.  See screenshot.

In the meantime, do try the safe boot to see if you can then browse.
Screen-Shot-2016-09-26-at-10.20.39-A.pdf
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Booting up in Safe mode works: I could now browse all sites:
cisco.com, drama.net etc

You still need the Etrecheck output to fix the issue (when I
boot into normal mode) or you know how to fix the VPN or
firewall?
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strungCommented:
It would be helpful if you posted the Etrecheck.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
In Safe mode, the screen is flickering every now & then : looks like certain
drivers are not loaded; so I'll still need to go into normal mode
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strungCommented:
Going into safe mode was just a diagnostic. It tells us there is a problem with a log on item. Now we have to figure out which one. Etrecheck will help that.

It may well be one of the drivers you say did not load that was causing the problem.

You definitely don't want to run in safe mode normally.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
attached.

Did not manage to save earlier runs of Etrecheck & thus rerun this last round after
it's working

https://www.avira.com/en/free-antivirus-mac
I did go to above link earlier & it gave me the exe when I click Download
ECoutput.docx
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Tim LapinComputer Consultant (Desktop analyst)Commented:
I had a similar problem with my Mac at home.  Chrome and Safari would time out all the time.  Firefox seemed to be better.

I thought I had traced it to my copy of Sophos Antivirus.  Specifically, it looked like a web security sweep that was interfering but I could never be quite sure.

In your case, the Etrecheck list shows one or two odd things.  I am curious about the JAMF daemons that are listed.  One is running, the other is not.  Do you run JAMF software as some sort of parental control?  If not, can you remove the software?
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strungCommented:
From the Etrecheck it looks like two things may be causing your problem:

1. Jam Software - see: http://www.jam-software.com
2. Junos (Juniper) Software

There are suggestions for removing the Jam software here:

https://jamfnation.jamfsoftware.com/article.html?id=153

You can disable Juniper as per here:  https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6090340?tstart=0
which says delete the file called "net.juniper.pulsetray"  from "/Library/LaunchAgents" .

Better to use the uninstaller if you can find it. Try doing a spotlight search of Juniper or Junos or Pulse

I haven't tried any of these, so can't guarantee they will work.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Thanks, things are working fine now & I'm now hastening the insurer to deliver the
actual set to us as the current loaner set from the dealer may have 'weird'
stuff in them.

>Do you run JAMF software as some sort of parental control?
I never install it, it just come with the loan set
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strungCommented:
Glad to help. Perhaps that software was installed by the previous person they loaned the laptop to.
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Tim LapinComputer Consultant (Desktop analyst)Commented:
You are welcome.  Definitely clear off those apps if you don't use them.  Once activated, their preferences will kick in, probably with unintended side effects.
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strungCommented:
Don't forget to close out the question.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Thanks so much to all who has assisted esp Strung with the speed/numerous responses.

Closing this thread
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