Web Page Consuming Excessive Memory in Safari and SymDaemon CPU Usage

When I returned to my office from a meeting I found a MacBook Pro laptop with OS 10.8.5, aka "Mountain Lion", extremely slow to respond and the system's fan was running much louder than usual. Checking the system with the Activity Monitor application found in Applications/Utilities, I found that one Safari tab was consuming over 1 gigabyte of the system's memory. I had previously configured Safari to show the process ID (PID) for each tab, so when I ordered the Activity Monitor display by memory consumption by clicking on the "Real Mem" column header and checked the PIDs associated with prcesses running on the system, I found the culprit was a tab with a Mac Rumors page, Microsoft Allowing OneDrive Users on Free Tier to Keep 15GB Free Storage and Camera Roll Bonus - Mac Rumors. I don't know if the problem was caused by a JavaScript memory leak or some other issue.

Safari - high memory usage

The process, with PID 1586 named "Safari Web Content", was also using a lot of CPU cycles. I closed the tab associated with that PID, which freed a lot of system memory, but the fan noise remained and I then found SymDaemon consuming an excessive amount of CPU cycles with Activity Monitor showing the "% CPU" value for it at over 100%

SymDaemon high CPU usage

I've seen the Symantec Endpoint Protection daemon ramping up the CPU utilization on numerous occasions causing the CPU temperature to rise and the fan to make a lot of noise as its RPMs increase to try to bring the CPU temperature down. I usually kill the SymDaemon process through the Activity Monitor; the daemon will restart shortly afterwards. This time I downloaded a "Stop and start Symantec Endpoint Protection on OS X" script by Steve Jansen. I made the script executable and then ran it to stop the SymDaemon process. The CPU utilization returned to normal levels and the fan quieted within a few minutes.

$ curl https://gist.githubusercontent.com/steve-jansen/61a189b6ab961a517f68/raw/sep -o sep
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100  1249  100  1249    0     0   2394      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 10322
$ chmod 755 sep
$ sudo ./sep stop
./sep: unloading Symantec Endpoint Protection daemon
./sep: unloading Symantec Endpoint Protection shared settings daemon
./sep: closing Symantec Endpoint Protection UI widget as root
launchctl: Error unloading: com.symantec.uiagent.application

I then reran the utility with the "start" parameter to restart SymDaemon.

$ sudo ./sep start
./sep: loading Symantec Endpoint Protection daemon
./sep: loading Symantec Endpoint Protection shared settings daemon
./sep: launching Symantec Endpoint Protection UI widget as root

The CPU utilization and fan noise remained normal when the SymDaemon process restarted.

The sep script, which is a Bash script, can be downloaded from GitHub here or from this site using the links below. The sep.zip file also contains a README file.



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Created: Wednesday January 6, 2015