I've recently noticed that I have the following network interfaces setup on my mac:

Ethernet Airport Firewire vmnet1 vmnet8 gif0 stf0

Obviously Ethernet, Airport, and Firewire are enabled by default. I think vmware setup vmnet1 and vmnet8. Where did gif0 and stf0 come from? I'm sure I did not setup these interfaces myself, so now I'm getting paranoid about spyware.

What applications might have automatically setup these interfaces? How do I disable networking through them? Or is this a common setup and I shouldn't worry about it?

/edit: gif0 appears to have the ip address and stf0 appears to have the ip address Neither one of those is even remonetly similar to my actual ip address. What's going on here?

/edit 2: ifconfig reveals that neither interface has the flag "up" so they are not in use. Thanks for the help jjungnickel.

1 Answer 1


Those are Tunnel-Interfaces. They are commonly used to provide IPv6- or VPN-Services. They are usually always active, but not connected unless you set up your system to use them.

You can determine if an interface is enabled but not active by observing its flags using ifconfig <interfacename> to not contain UP.

You can look up the definition for those interfaces on the terminal with man gif or man stf, respectively.

  • Thank you for the clarification. Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly are IPv6 services?
    – Zach
    Commented Jun 19, 2011 at 19:54
  • IPv6 is the next generation of the internet protocol (IP) that is designed to succeed the version that is currently in use. To allow smooth migration and enable early adoption, there are a few services and protocols that allow to encapsulate IPv6 in IPv4 Packets (and vice versa). Those usually operate using aforementioned stf/gif interfaces. For detailed information regarding IPv6 see Wikipedia Commented Jun 19, 2011 at 20:02

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