How To Check For Viruses On A Mac
If having read the above you are pretty sure that you have a virus or some other form of malware on your Mac then this tutorial should help you address the problem, read on for a guide on what to do if your Mac has a virus, starting off with how to scan your Mac for viruses.
Heres one thing you definitely shouldnt do if you think your Mac is infected with malware: dont Google a description of the problem and install the first thing you find that claims to be able to fix things. Sadly, a lot of software that claims to be able to fix Macs is in fact malware itself, or is simply fake and designed only to make you part with money. These apps can look incredibly convincing and professional, so beware.
Fake antivirus apps like MacDefender , which hit the headlines a few years ago, might look the part, but are actually malware in disguise.
If you think there is a virus, or some other threat, on your Mac, then there are a few thing you can do, well run through your options below.
Checking Your Mac For Viruses Wait What
You may have been led to believe that you dont have to worry about computer viruses on your Mac. And, to some extent, theres truth to that. While your Mac can definitely be infected with malware, Apples built-in malware detection and file quarantine capabilities are meant to make it less likely that youll download and run malicious software.
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Apple introduced malware detection to the Mac OS with Snow Leopard . This system consists of the quarantine of any app downloaded from the Internet, the use of Code Signing certificates to verify that an app is coming from a legit source, and regular security updates that include databases of known malware targeting the Mac OS.
Because of this system, called File Quarantine and occasionally referred to as XProtect:
And this is why Macs remain mostly virus and malware free.
To make sure your Mac malware database is always up to date youll want to verify that your Mac always automatically installs security updates and related system data files.
To do this:
Keeping Your Mac Safe
Apple does its job to provide effective security layers, but you can follow standard precautions to completely avoid malware, too. This means installing updates when available, avoiding suspicious emails and the links inside, steering clear of outdated applications, and other similar behaviors. These are just standard preventive measures. Keeping your MacOS up-to-date is still your strongest line of defense against viruses, so heres how you can do that:
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Use Activity Monitor To Find Viruses On A Mac
If you know for sure youve installed some malware such as a dodgy update or app that pretends to be something else make a note of its name. You can quit out of that app by tapping Cmd + Q, or clicking Quit in the menu, but note that this wont stop it from starting up again in fact it may still be working in the background.
If you dont have any idea what is causing the issues you suspect are caused by a virus on your Mac, you can use Activity Monitor to spot if an app or a task is using a lot of resources this may be the malicious software.
How To Choose The Best Antivirus For Macs
Whats the best antivirus software for Mac?, you may ask. In case you want to install additional layers of protection to your Mac, you need to identify the best antivirus software that fits your needs. Consider the softwares price, reputation or success rate, and inclusions. Paid commercial products offer more protection, but if you can’t afford them, at least install a free antivirus.
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How To Check For Viruses On Mac Automatically
Several Mac virus scanners allow you to check your system. However, its vital that you dont just google free Mac antivirus software. Many sites that claim to offer free antivirus tools host viruses themselves. And you can end up making the problem worse.
I recommend using reputable tools. My personal favorite is CleanMyMac X. CleanMyMac X detects thousands of malware threats, including adware, spyware, worms, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, etc. When it finds something suspicious, it offers immediate removal.
Heres how to scan your Mac for malware and viruses:
The Protection monitor in CleanMyMac’s Menu is another thing I love about the app. With its help, I can easily see if my Mac in under malware attack.
How to get rid of suspicious apps
I hope my simple tutorial on how to check viruses on Mac was handy. The next logical step is – to remove them! Again, If you find an application you didnt intend to install, you should get rid of it. But dont just drag it from your Applications folder to the Trash. That wont remove every trace of it from your Mac.
Applications store files in several different places in your Macs Library folders. You could track them down and remove them manually, but its quicker and easier to use a dedicated uninstaller I mentioned earlier, CleanMyMac X. That way, you can remove every application trace, and no stray files will be left behind.
Get Rid Of Virus In Web Browser On Macbook Pro
To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the virus should be restored to their default values. Although this will clear most of your customizations, web surfing history, and all temporary data stored by websites, the malicious interference should be terminated likewise. The overview of the steps for completing this procedure is as follows:
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How To Scan Mac For Viruses Manually
Application or process can stop your system from being responsive. When that is the case, Activity Monitor comes in handy. It allows you to track down troublesome apps or processes, check for the most significant energy consumers, and monitor CPU disk usage. You can also use it to detect malware.
Follow these steps to run Activity Monitor:
If you want to look for viruses hidden within apps, then try auditing your Applications folder:
Automatic Virus Removal Process For Macbook Pro
The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove MacBook Pro virus virus. This technique has substantial benefits over manual cleanup, because the utility gets hourly virus definition updates and can accurately spot even the newest Mac infections.
Furthermore, the automatic solution will find the core files of the malware deep down the system structure, which might otherwise be a challenge to locate. Heres a walkthrough to sort out the MacBook Pro virus issue using Combo Cleaner:
How To Remove A Virus From A Mac
If you suspect that your Mac is infected with a virus, the natural next step is to get rid of it as soon as possible the virus, not your computer! Viruses, like all malware, are largely curable. In most cases, youll be able to excise the intruder from your device without too much trouble. Before long, youll be sailing back to calmer seas, though ideally with a more mindful approach to Mac security.
Youll find several competing methods for how best to remove malware from a Mac, from premium malware removal tools all the way to a range of free virus removal techniques. However, the most reliable solution, and the one we recommend, is that you use a dedicated virus removal tool. Mac antivirus software is specifically crafted to identify viruses and cleanse them from your system with as little collateral damage as possible to your cherished files and apps.
Other Tips For Securing Your Mac Computer
While built-in and additional antivirus software can help, there are other things you can do to secure your computer. Beyond the unlikely event of a virus taking hold of your Mac, the most likely threats youll face are adware and spyware. The best way to avoid those and other threats is by taking basic but effective security steps:
If you practice all the above, you shouldnt have to worry about threats disrupting your enjoyment of your Mac. Of course, things do change, so keep abreast of the latest security news just in case.
Related: Want to do even more to improve your security and privacy? Check out our roundup of the Best VPNs for Mac.
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How To Tell If Your Mac Is Infected
Mac malware and adware can be pretty sneaky. But here are a few telltale signs that might indicate an infection.
- Ads and pop-ups: If you see pop-up ads when youre not online, you probably have a virus.
- Unexpected slowdowns: If your Mac was working fine and is now much slower, you could have a problem on your hands.
- Programs you dont recognize: If you see new icons that you dont recognize on your home screen or in your apps folder, that could be a sign of a potentially unwanted program infection.
- Browser redirection: If your browser is taking you to sites you didnt tell it to or even redirecting your search traffic through other engines, you may have a virus.
- Personal files encrypted: If you get a message that your files are encrypted, your computer could have ransomware. Learn about how to prevent ransomware.
Scan Mac With Cleanmymac X
Use a dedicated tool like CleanMyMac X to find, neutralize and delete spyware on your Mac.
When you scan your system with CleanMyMac X, this spyware finder instantly removes malware threats . Therefore, you can rest assured, your Macs got a professional bodyguard.
Heres how to use it:
Talking about CleanMyMac X, I cant recommend its Malware Monitor feature enough. Checking your Mac in real-time, CleanMyMac X notifies you when there is a risk of spyware infecting your machine. It monitors Launch Agents and other places on your Mac for any unauthorized presence. Thats a bit like a gatekeeper.
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Do You Need Virus Protection On A Mac
There is a common misconception that Macs are virus-proof. There is some truth to this, but not because Apple has superior technology. Instead, since Windows is by far the most used operating system on the planet, it is the logical target for a malicious actor. Greater opportunities to attack a Windows operating system vs a macOS one means that Apple deals with fewer sophisticated malware attacks. For desktops in particular, Windows owns nearly 78% of the market.
Signs Your Mac Is Infected With Malware
While some types of malicious software can remain undetected for months or even years, the presence of others is instantly noticeable. Look out for the following red flags indicating its time to check the Mac for malware:
- Your Mac is slower than usual. This could be a sign of someone using your machine for mining cryptocurrency or running DDOS attacks not something youd normally partake in.
- You receive security alerts without scanning your Mac.Scareware could be the culprit here. Its a kind of malware capable of pressuring you into installing more malware.
- Your browser has a new homepage or extensions you havent added. This is a sign your browser has been hijacked and is directing you to malicious third-party sites.
- You are bombarded with ads. A classic indication of adware. While not too dangerous, this type of malware generates profits from ad clicks. Of course, none of the proceeds go to your pocket.
- You cant access personal files and see a ransom/fine/warning note. Among numerous signs of malware on Mac, this is the most definite. It could be a result of a Trojan horse or a case of ransomware malicious software used for extortion.
- Your friends receive spam from your accounts. If your friends start receiving spam from your social media accounts or email, your Mac may have been infected with a virus.
Before we put up a fight, lets make sure our enemy is real.
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How Do You Know If Your Mac Was Infected With A Virus
All of these infections have one thing in common: they infect Macs through processes outside of the App Store. In some cases, pirated software is to blame in others, it’s software from sources that shouldn’t have been trusted.
Put simplyif you never install software from outside the Mac App Store, you don’t have much to worry about. Sure, there are some browser-related exploits from time to time, and Java is an ongoing concern, but if macOS and browsers are up to date, such infections are pretty unlikely.
And if you do install software from outside the Mac App Store, but are careful to research software before installing it , you also don’t have anything to worry about.
On the other hand: if you’ve pirated Mac software or installed plugins at the request of a site offering pirated movies, you might have problems. Have you used a tainted USB drive or downloaded a sketchy email attachment? Viruses can spread in lots of unexpected ways like this.
So is your Mac infected? Let’s look at the signs.