Creating a custom Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac package and deploying via script

First, some necessary explanation.

We use Sophos Anti-virus on Windows and OS X computers, managed by a central Sophos Enterprise Console (SEC). Clients get their settings from the SEC after installation, including the critical AutoUpdate settings. Now Sophos would have you believe, on the basis of this (woefully outdated) document that you can use Sophos Update Manager for OS X (login required) to simply inject your AutoUpdate (and other) settings and get a neat, distributable metapackage.

This, in our case at least, is a filthy lie. Or at least a half-truth in dire need of a shower and shave.

You can prepopulate all your settings in the metapackage, and it will run. Until you try to alter your AutoUpdate settings on the SEC and distribute them. For reasons unknown to us, the clients don’t get the message. We learned this the hard way, after shift in the address of our SEC left us directing clients to uninstall and reinstall the software just to get updated settings. Ugly.

After a few calls to technical support, it seems you have to distribute not a simple metapackage file, but rather an entire directory with several ancillary files that Sophos requires to correctly configure trusted communications with the console. Ugly.

So here’s our entire process for creating and distributing a custom installer for Sophos. This process assumes a reasonable level of familiarity with: Sophos Enterprise Console, basic shell scripting for OS X, Sophos Anti-virus for OS X, and the Casper Suite. If anything requires clarification, I’m happy to expand. As always, YMMV.

  1. Download and install Sophos Update Manager (SUM) on your OS X box. This requires a MySophos login.
  2. Launch SUM and authenticate. Provide your Sophos EM credentials in the usual and customary locations.The “Download Updates To” location is fixed to /Sophos Anti-Virus/ESOSX for inexplicable reasons, but can be modified using special instructions from Sophos. I’ve sanitized my copy of these directions a bit and pastebinned them. This is a total hack, for which I take no responsibility, but it may be useful to you since it lets you use a local CID and put it where you like. I prefer to copy the SEC’s authoritative CID.
  3. Continuing with my way, uncheck Check for updates from Sophos, then click Apply, then quit SUM.
  4. If you have rights to your SEC: Open SEC (either on a Windows box or a VM). Click Update Managers in the toolbar. Right-click on your update server, and select Update Now. Download status will change to “Downloading binaries”. When this process completes, your CIDs will contain up-to-date binaries, and you may exit SEC. If you don’t have SEC rights, ask for them, because you should have them. In the meantime, ask your SEC administrator to update the CIDs.
  5. Back in OS X, you need to get a copy of the CID for SAV Mac. If, like us, you have this location shared and you have access, just connect to your console’s fileshare and navigate to the CID subdirectory specified by your SAV subscription (usually ending in ESOSX or ESCOSX). Copy the entire contents of this this folder into /Sophos Anti-Virus/ESOSX/ on your Mac with SUM installed, replacing all contents of the target directory. Authenticate as required. You may find it easier to delete the contents of the target first, especially on 10.7 or 10.8. For reference, you should be seeing these files: cidsync.upd, customer_ID.txt, manifest.dat, master,upd, root.upd, sdf.xml and Sophos Anti-Virus.mpkg. If you don’t have rights or a convenient way to access the CID, ask an admin to send you a zipped copy of it, and proceed from there after (again) asking for a better setup.
  6. Relaunch SUM and authenticate. Switch to SAV Preferences. Configure all your preferences as you wish, but DO NOT TOUCH THE AUTOUPDATE TAB, or you won’t be able to save your settings! If you so much as open the AutoUpdate tab, SUM will demand that you fill it out, and refuse to save if you don’t (necessitating a restart from step 1). Apply, then quit SUM.
  7. Copy /Sophos Anti-Virus/ESOSX to your desktop.

At this point, you can redistribute the directory as a zip or DMG file and run the installer from it, but the entire contents of the directory must remain together for the installer to correctly configure its connection to the SEC.

Now to make this thing distributable via JSS (or, less desirably, DeployStudio). A package won’t work, since the ancillary files have to stay with it. Composer won’t work, because each install keys itself securely to the SEC, and redistribution breaks that link. Luckily, though, we already put the zipped installer in an HTTP-reachable location (for reasons outside the scope of this writeup). So rather than reinventing at least half of the wheel, I’ll use a script — distributed via JSS policy — to pull that zip file down to the client, run the installer silently, and remove itself. Here’s the commented script. If you use a DMG instead of a zip, you’ll need to change the commands and directories, of course, but the core process should still work. In DeployStudio, a postponed installation of a payload-free package using this script as a postflight should work.


# Make a working directory, after checking for and removing any leftover instances from a broken install

if [ -d /private/tmp/sophos/ ]; then
	rm -r /private/tmp/sophos/
	mkdir /private/tmp/sophos/
	logger "Sophos install temp directory created after removing old directory"
	mkdir /private/tmp/sophos/
	logger "Sophos install temp directory created"

# Get installer zip. Use whatever name you like. Our docs refer to Install Sophos, so that's what I'll use here.

curl > /private/tmp/sophos/Install\ Sophos\

# Decompress

cd /private/tmp/sophos/
unzip Install\ Sophos\

# Install. Normally, installer requires sudo, but the jamf binary runs with admin rights, and using sudo here breaks the script.

installer -pkg /private/tmp/sophos/Install\ Sophos\ Mac/Sophos\ Anti-Virus.mpkg -target /

# Cleanup

cd /
rm -rf /private/tmp/sophos

exit 0

Upload this script to your JSS, then set a policy to deploy it, and you’re done. Ours runs when a machine is first set up, then never again. Once a client is tied to the SEC, updates and even major version upgrades are typically very smooth.

I realize this seems like a lot of documentation for what may not be a very common situation. Still, figuring it out took long enough and was such a hassle that I figure if I save one person the headache, it’s worthwhile.

Automatically mount drives with ignore ownership enabled

I understand that the first comment you make is likely to be “but that’s what the OS does by default.” Which is true, but apparently only so long as the drive in question doesn’t have an OS installed. For reasons that don’t bear explaining, I carry a lot of my personal data (particularly my iTunes library) on a bootable external drive that I attach to the lid of my MacBook Pro.

At work, I like to connect the drive via FireWire, and have my local account on the MBP set to find the iTunes library on the external. It works well, with the notable exception of having to use the Inspector to set Ignore Ownership every time the drive mounts. Yes, yes…I could have modified permissions on the drive. Again, for reasons that don’t bear explaining, I don’t want to do that. Besides, that’d be easy, and where’s the fun in that?

Arek Dreyer suggested a launchdaemon or similar. This was easy enough to set up with Lingon, using a WatchPaths key set to observe /Volumes. Patrick Fergus, on the MacEnterprise list, responded to a query with a complete script.


# Ensure we have a volume name

if [ $volumeName = INSERT_VOLUME_NAME ]


echo Error: volumeName must be set

exit 1


echo Checking volume permissions status

vsdbutil -c “/Volumes/$volumeName”


echo Setting “Ignore permissions” on volume $volumeName

diskutil disableOwnership “/Volumes/$volumeName”


echo Rechecking volume permissions status

vsdbutil -c “/Volumes/$volumeName”

This I dropped into /Library/Scripts, with read and execute permissions set. Connected a test drive and bingo! Success. Patrick was even thoughtful enough to have it log its operations. Which produced an interesting related line of inquiry. Running vsdbutil -c against and drive produced an error similar to

11/17/11 12:12:31.348 PM org.myorg.ignoreownership: No entry found for ‘/Volumes/VolName’.

A bit of googling around produced a relevant message board thread, and a check of my volume status database revealed a faulty entry in slot 1. Per the advice in this post, I whacked the db and rebuilt and lo, there was proper status checking!

So now I have a daemon that automatically sets ignore permissions on my external at mount. Oh, and a clean volume status database.

(Hat tips to Arek Dreyer and Patrick Fergus.)