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I am required by my VPN software to have Sophos anti-virus installed and running. However, when I'm NOT on VPN, I don't want it running at all - I want it dead.

However, killing the tasks is ineffective:

ps -ax | grep -i soph
40972 ??         0:07.34 /Library/Sophos Anti-Virus/SophosAutoUpdate.app/Contents/MacOS/SophosAutoUpdate -d
41069 ??        28:08.48 /Library/Sophos Anti-Virus/InterCheck.app/Contents/MacOS/InterCheck -d
41078 ??         0:02.42 /Library/Sophos Anti-Virus/SophosAntiVirus.app/Contents/MacOS/SophosAntiVirus -d
$ sudo kill 40972 41069 41078 41084
$ ps -ax | grep -i soph
44344 ??         0:00.03 /Library/Sophos Anti-Virus/SophosAutoUpdate.app/Contents/MacOS/SophosAutoUpdate -d
44345 ??         0:00.02 /Library/Sophos Anti-Virus/SophosAntiVirus.app/Contents/MacOS/SophosAntiVirus -d
44347 ??         0:03.03 /Library/Sophos Anti-Virus/InterCheck.app/Contents/MacOS/InterCheck -d

It just automatically restarts. What do I need to do to prevent that?

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It is possible there is a preference in the Sophos software to turn it off? –  daviesgeek Sep 17 '11 at 19:28
Not as far as I can tell; if it's there, it's hidden. –  keflavich Sep 17 '11 at 22:17

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

This means that there is another monitor process which relaunches it.

You can check out who is the parent process: select the process in activity monitor and use the Info button, or via terminal with ps -ax -O ppid if I recall correctly.

  • It might be another process by Sophos but with a stealth name, or maybe even your VPN software. In that case you can just kill'em all.

  • The other possibility is that the process is being kept alive by the launch daemon launchd. In this case you will find an entry (a plist XML file) for your antivirus in either ~/Library/LaunchAgents, /Library/LaunchAgents (likely) or /System/Library/LaunchAgents (I dearly hope not).

If the second is the second, you can either:

  • Edit the file, and change the KeepAlive parameter, either removing or changing it (you can do nifty things, see the docs for more).

  • Just ask launchd to do the stopping for you. Unfortunately you can't just tell to launchtl stop since the process would just respawn. You'll have to use
    sudo launchctl unload /path/to/the/plist file

share|improve this answer
Thanks Agos, that's exactly the advice I was looking for. However, I can't find the darn thing! There are no PIDs with numbers near (the original, pre-killed) Sophos Anti-Virus that I can associate with it. Nothing turned up in the LaunchAgents directories (though all I did was a simple regex check in /System/). Is there any log file in which launchd would record restarting a process? I've checked system.log and others without luck... –  keflavich Sep 17 '11 at 22:17

I'd comment on Agos' post, but I'm too new to do that. So:

As far as I remember they should have a launch agent in /Library/LaunchAgents. I'd just ask you to do a ls /Library/LaunchAgents, ls /Library/LaunchDaemons and ls /System/Library/LaunchDaemons. Something will show up.

Also you could open /Applications and check Uninstall Sophos.app with Show Package Contents then check out the uninstall script.

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Thanks Ghost. The directory Agos left out was /Library/LaunchDaemons, which has the plist file. I gave you a +1, but Agos the answer, since he got most of it. I greatly appreciate the assistance! –  keflavich Sep 18 '11 at 20:41
Make sure you run spotlight to look for Sophos files left behind after the 'uninstall' mdfind -name Sophos –  chiggsy Sep 18 '11 at 22:24
@chiggsy why would he do that? He doesn't want to uninstall the application but prevent it from restarting every time he kills it. –  GhostLyrics Sep 27 '11 at 17:55
That's it? That's all he wants? –  chiggsy Sep 27 '11 at 18:48
man launchctl

launchctl list |grep -i 'sophos'

to unload a daemon permanently, but not uninstall it

launchctl unload -w /full/path/to/file.plist
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This is the "better" answer because it will also prevent it from loading ever (-w) –  Dustin Sep 28 '11 at 0:32
sophos hides. This doesn't work on sophos. –  Ben Mar 6 at 18:57

You can also control which Launch Agent and Daemons run and when with the useful app Lingon, available through the Mac App store and online.

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