Bitcoin Hoax Dupes Apple Users Into Destroying Their Macs

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Looking to capitalize on the surge of Bitcoin’s popularity, some mischievous pranksters from 4chan’s random image board are trying to convince Mac users to trash their computers.

The hoax claims that Apple has included Bitcoin mining software on all Macs since 2009, but you just need to enter a simple terminal command to unlock it. Of course, there is no secret Bitcoin mining app hidden in OS X, so what does the terminal command sudo rm -rf/* in the picture actually do? Oh, it just basically reformats your hard drive.

Convincing Mac users that a secret mine of wealth is secretly locked away in their computers sounds like a hard sell, but The Daily Dot reports that at least two people have already fallen for the prank. 

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This isn’t even the first bricking prank 4chan’s random image board has pulled off this month. Over the weekend some Xbox One owners were duped into believing a special code would unlock backwards compatibility with the Xbox 360, but it really just bricked their new machines.

Of course if you really do want to turn your Mac into an expensive Bitcoin mining rig, there are some apps for that.

  • RobGcf

    You would think people would be smart enough to google the commands and find out what they do first, but nooooo. Instead they take the word of somebody totally anonymous. To be more accurate, that doesn’t reformat your hard drive. It systematically deletes everything on it. ‘sudo’ allows your user account to operate with superuser credentials. ‘rm’ means REMOVE, aka delete. -r means recursive, crawling the directory structure downward from where it starts. -f (e.g. -rf) means FORCE, which means it won’t ask if you’re sure. Lastly /* means start at the root level (/) and * means all files.

  • jeffythequick

    Greed’s accomplices are stupidity and ignorance.

    However, this does illustrate an issue with with exclusively (ha!) GUI systems. The population that uses them, in general, forgets what the commands do, and there you have it… removing everything off your root directory, recursively, with root permissions, and with no questions asked. U*IX systems are known for their power, and this just illustrates their destructive power. In essence, the computer is saying, “you told me to do it, so I’m going to do it.”

    Game Over.

  • DJBabyBuster

    Anyone stupid enough to fall for this probably doesn’t bother backing up their computer either :)

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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