I'm running OS 10.11.1 on my Macbook Pro.

I should also preface my question with the admission that my knowledge of the Mac OS is practically zero.

I was looking at (not editing) the hosts file in my /etc folder on my standard account that I use for everyday internet browsing. While going to the /etc folder, I noticed the existence of a hosts.equiv file.

For every previous incarnation of my Macbook that's run Mavericks/Yosemite/etc, I've never noticed a hosts.equiv file before in the /etc folder.

Running man hosts.equiv in Terminal lets me know that it's a list of trusted hosts/users for remote authentication...which I have absolutely no use for or knowledge of how to even implement.

My question is: the mere existence of the hosts.equiv file isn't evidence that my machine is compromised, right? When I open the file with Text Edit, there's nothing listed in it.

1 Answer 1


If you are concerned that a file isn't installed by Apple then check the package receipts-

pkgutil --file-info /private/etc/hosts.equiv
volume: /
path: /private/etc/hosts.equiv

pkgid: com.apple.pkg.BSD
install-time: 1324303327
uid: 0
gid: 0

mode: 644

You can then check the BOM file-

lsbom /private/var/db/receipts/com.apple.pkg.BSD.bom | grep hosts.equiv
./private/etc/hosts.equiv   100644  0/0 0   4294967295

Note the last 0 is the file size and the last field is the check sum of the installed file. Now check the check sum of the file-

cksum /private/etc/hosts.equiv
4294967295 0 /private/etc/hosts.equiv

Note the check sum is the same as what is recorded in the BOM file and cksum reports the file size as zero bytes.

  • I should also clarify that I was looking at the hosts.equiv file in the /etc folder, not the /private/etc/ folder. Is there a major difference?
    – oats58459
    Oct 29, 2015 at 19:57
  • But regardless, I've tried running the commands you've listed:
    – oats58459
    Oct 29, 2015 at 20:07
  • But regardless, I've tried running the commands you've listed: pkgutil --file-info /private/etc/hosts.equiv volume: / path: /private/etc/hosts.equiv pkgid: com.apple.pkg.Essentials pkg-version: install-time: 1444627255 uid: 0 gid: 0 mode: 644 I've tried running lsbom with /private/var/db/receipts/com.apple.pkg.Essentials.bom | grep hosts.equiv but I always get a no such file or directory found error. Running cksum /private/etc/hosts.equiv gets me 4294967295 0 /private/etc/hosts.equiv man hosts.equiv
    – oats58459
    Oct 29, 2015 at 20:17

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