[svlug] "Mysterious" network activity(?)

Joel Seidman joel_seidman at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 14 09:33:15 PST 2003

Hi all. 

I have been lurking since I installed Red Hat 8.0 on a new home
computer a few months ago, and am impressed with the breadth and depth
of information I've seen. Here's a question I haven't figured out how
to even search archives for. I am asking here before trying other

This is an isolated home computer with no networking except dial in to
my ISP. I wanted to have dial-up work automatically and finally got
that to work. (Won't mention the problems I had doing that!)

At boot, pppd starts up in "demand" mode (doesn't dial yet). Then when
I type a URL into my browser, pppd dials the phone. That works as
expected. But even if I haven't started a browser, about a minute or so
after I log in to an account (either root or user), the phone is dialed
anyway. If I subsequently hang up, it happens again maybe an hour or so
later. I conclude that some unknown (to me) background process is
deciding to contact something or someone on the network. What is it? Or
how would I go about figuring out what it is?  And how can I prevent
it? Hopefully it's all very "innocent", but, call me paranoid, I don't
feel comfortable with my computer doing stuff like that without my

Please keep in mind that, though I'm a computer programmer
professionally, I am pretty much a newbie to Linux, so I don't know
about all the logs and tools available. The answer may be staring me in
the face but I don't know where to look.


-- Joel

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