[lug] Filename star

Walter Pienciak walter at frii.com
Tue Dec 28 20:11:59 MST 1999

On Tue, 28 Dec 1999, Subba Rao wrote:

> I have noticied a meta character named file in the root's home directory
> and another user's home directory. They were created on December 23rd.
> The file ownership permissions are perfectly normal. The dreaded
> meta-character is '*'.
> To remove this I did,
> $ rm -i *
> and got rid of it. I cannot imagine doing,
> $ rm *
> I don't know how this file got created. What is the best way to trace the
> creation of such files? I want to know the process that is creating it.
> External login is impossible to this box. It has to be one of the several
> tools I have downloaded and compiled.
> How do you search for files, with meta characters as their names?
> Any tips, ideas and experiences appreciated.


To find all files named * on your system, you can do

  find / -print | grep \*

To find out what is creating them, well, that's going to be more fun.
No one knows your system the way you do, and so most suggestions will
be general.

- Does the user, group, or time of creation give you any clue as to
  the culprit?  For example, if the files are owned by various users,
  which of those programs you mentioned do they have in common?  If
  if all such files are owned by one user, which one?  nobody?  you?  root?
  Which of those programs you mentioned run as that user?

- Are they created again and again?  At the same time?  Always?  Look
  in your crontabs.  At different times?  What were you doing then?

If you really start going insane, run that find command out of cron
$SOME_REASONABLE_FREQUENCY and pipe the results to mail.  Maybe if you're
notified quickly of its creation, you'll be able to remember exactly
what was occurring on the system when the file turd was dropped.

    find / -print | grep \* | mail your_username

And if the files are always being created in the same directories, you
can tune the find command and go a bit easier on your hard drive.

No guarantees, but maybe this will give you some ideas.


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