Until only recently, an infected Mac was unheard of, but viruses and malware have both grown smarter and are able to find exploits where they previously didn’t appear to exist. One common way that Mac computers get infected with malware is that they use Launch Agent scripts. The script tells your Mac to load the malware and unbeknownst to you, you have an infected machine. Since the Launch Agent is there, it repeatedly loads/executes the malware. Of course, once it’s running, it can always install or copy more items on your Mac and it is already a little too late to do anything about it. All this is possible with a simple Launch agent. Automatic Launch Object Detection for Mac OS X is a free Mac utility that monitors folders on your Mac and alerts you each time a new launch agent is added.
Automatic Launch Object Detection or ALOD monitors seven launch agent folders on your system; /Library/LaunchAgents, /Library/LaunchDaemons, /System/Library/LaunchAgents, ~/Library/LaunchAgents, /Library/StartupItems, and /System/Library/StartupItems. The app uses a script to notify you of changes in any one of these folders.
Once you’ve installed ALOD, it will itself add a launch agent and you will receive a notification for it. The alert notifies you which of the seven folders the new item has been added to and asks you if you want to view it or not.
To stop the app from monitoring one of the folders, right-click a folder and select Folder Action Setup. A dialog box will open, listing all actions associated with the folder. Find add – new item alert without timeout.scpt and remove it.
What this app does can also be done manually, by adding this same script in the dialog you used to remove it. The only problem would be that you would have to add it individually for each folder. There is no interface for the app and it will ‘run’ at start up without having to launch it each time. In order to uninstall it, you can either remove it from the folders individually or remove the laucnhagent that it adds.
As far as monitoring your system for malware goes, ALOD will monitor it for changes only, and not for the nature of the items added. That part is up to you. Normally, only apps that you install should be adding launch agents and any activity in these folders that occurs otherwise should be investigated.