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Chrome & Safari suddenly can't load most sites

Posted on 2016-09-25
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Last Modified: 2016-09-26
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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Question by:sunhux
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40 Comments
 
LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 320 total points
ID: 41814767
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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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41815286
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41815309
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41815325
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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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 41815341
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816009
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816011
Did you check to see if the DNS the Mac was using was different from the other computers?
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 320 total points
ID: 41816012
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816015
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816026
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816027
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816036
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816037
There are a number of free AV programs for Mac:  Avast and Avira are two.
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LVL 27

Assisted Solution

by:serialband
serialband earned 90 total points
ID: 41816047
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816055
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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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:strung
strung earned 320 total points
ID: 41816057
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816058
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816067
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816070
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)
0
 
LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816080
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816084
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
0
 
LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816098
Can you browse to http://192.186.201.195. ?
Also can you post the trace routes I suggested?
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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816112
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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LVL 53

Accepted Solution

by:
strung earned 320 total points
ID: 41816121
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816131
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816141
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816148
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 ?
0
 
LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816164
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816177
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816183
It would be helpful if you posted the Etrecheck.
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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816184
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
0
 
LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816200
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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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816256
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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LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:Tim Lapin
Tim Lapin earned 90 total points
ID: 41816279
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?
0
 
LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816282
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.
0
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41816323
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816326
Glad to help. Perhaps that software was installed by the previous person they loaned the laptop to.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Tim Lapin
ID: 41816368
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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LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 41816501
Don't forget to close out the question.
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Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 41817056
Thanks so much to all who has assisted esp Strung with the speed/numerous responses.

Closing this thread
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