Why Virus Is Good For Mac

Why Virus Is Good For Mac

Ask most Mac users about antivirus for Mac and they’ll tell you that macOS doesn’t get viruses and so there’s no need to worry about it. Sadly, that’s not quite true. While there’s been no serious outbreak or epidemic of Mac viruses in the wild, macOS has been hit by malware quite a few times. Just recently Meltdown and Spectre malware exploited flaws in Intel chips and affected Macs.

Check mac for virus free

While malware and viruses aren’t the same thing, the steps taken to combat them are similar enough that we’re going to use both terms interchangeably.

The good thing about AVG is that you can scan your system for threats related to Mac, Windows, and Android so that you don’t spread viruses or malware to other systems. Also, thanks to the simple and minimal design, using AVG to scan or create scanning schedules is pretty easy and straightforward.

Technically, a virus is a bit of code that infects your system and can cause all sorts of havoc. Malware is a much wider term used to describe anything malicious that finds its way onto your Mac from apps you download think they were something else and which steal data, to code that arrives on your Mac because you clicked on a link on a website and which shows you adverts or threatens to hack your computer if you don’t pay up.

How do I know if my Mac has a virus?

Viruses display a number of different symptoms, depending on the kind of malware they are. It could be that your Mac starts behaving strangely and displaying odd things on screen. Or you may see a message telling you that your Mac is infected and that you should call a premium rate number to get rid of it. If you see that, don’t call the number.

Here are a few signs that your Mac has a virus:

  1. Your Mac suddenly starts running very slowly or applications lag much more than they usually do.
  2. You see adverts pop up on your Mac randomly.
  3. Websites you visit show strange adverts that are unconnected with anything you’ve browsed or searched for.
  4. You find a piece of software, like, say a browser toolbar that you didn’t install.
  5. Websites that don’t normally show adverts have banners on them.

If your Mac displays one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has a virus or has been infected with malware. It’s a sign that it might do, however. And it’s well worth getting to the root of the problem. You can do that by installing an antivirus program and using it to scan your Mac. It will alert you if it detects any any known viruses or malware.

What do I do if my Mac gets a virus?

We’ve covered that in detail in a separate article here. In summary, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do.

Don’t google your symptoms and then download whatever comes at the top of the search listings. One common host for malware is fake antivirus software, and often the websites that house these apps are optimized for the very symptoms they cause. So instead of downloading a solution, you make the problem worse. If you want to scan your Mac for malware, try using CleanMyMac X. It can detect thousands of threats, including adware, worms, spyware, ransomware, and more.

It comes with an malware monitor that works in real-time. If some dubious app attempts to get into your Launch Agents, you'll see an alert and instructions on what to do next.

How can I protect my Mac from viruses?

1. Clear your browser cache

If the malware has come from a website you downloaded, you don’t want any traces of the site or and files it’s deposited left on your Mac. You can quickly and easily clear the browser cache for Safari and Chrome using CleanMyMac. Unlike many independent antiviruses this program is notarized by Apple, so check it out.

Tip: CleanMyMac can also remove extensions for those two browsers — extensions are sometimes infected and if you get a virus it may have come from one of those.

2. Make sure your Mac’s firewall is switched on

  1. Go to System Preferences and click on the Security & Privacy pane.
  2. Choose the Firewall tab.
  3. If the green light next to the word Firewall is showing, your firewall is on. If it’s not, click Turn On Firewall.
  4. Click on Firewall Options and check the Enable Stealth Mode box.

3. Use a VPN

Keeping your firewall on will help protect your Mac, but it won’t keep out every piece of malware. If you regularly use your Mac on a public Wi-Fi network, you should consider using a VPN tool. By connecting your Mac to a VPN, you create a secure tunnel between your Mac and websites you visit, and your data is encrypted. If the Wi-Fi network is compromised, your data and your Mac will be safe.

4. Don’t click the link

Email messages are a very common distribution medium for malware. Never click a link in an email unless you’re certain you know who the message is from. Phishing, as it’s called, can catch anyone out if you’re not vigilant. We’ve all had emails that look legitimate and that ask us to click a link to access a form or read an important message. Don’t do it.

5. Trust in Gatekeeper

Recent versions of macOS has a couple of very helpful tools that protect your Mac. One is Quarantine. If you’ve ever downloaded an application from the internet, you’ll have seen it in action. It pops up a dialog box telling you that you’ve downloaded it and where it’s come from — assuming it’s been digitally signed by its developer. Apps that don’t have a signature, supplied by Apple, don’t even get that far. You must then click to approve the app before it can be opened. Don’t ignore this box when you see it. Check the app you’ve downloaded is the one you expected to download, before you agree to open it.

6. Xprotect yourself

The other macOS tool is Xprotect — it scans files you’ve downloaded when you open them and looks for known malware. If it finds anything, it will warn you. If you see it, follow its instructions.

7. Avoid known offenders

Both Flash and Java have been used in the past to spread viruses — usually by hackers who create fake installers that pretend to be updates and lure you into downloading them. But outdated versions of Flash (the MacDownloader malware used a fake Flash update as a host) and Java can leave your Mac vulnerable to malware. The safest approach is to avoid installing them altogether. There’s very little reason, now that most of the web uses HTML 5 video, to have Flash installed on your Mac.

8. Keep your browser up to date

Safari updates are installed with macOS updates, while other browsers like Firefox and Chrome will alert you when your browser is out of date and a newer version is available. Don’t ignore the warnings. Update your browser immediately. Often, these updates will include security features designed to keep you safe from malware.

9. Backup your Mac regularly

If you backup your Mac you can restore from that backup in the event that a virus causes real damage to your system. And if you use Time Machine, you can boot your Mac into the recovery partition and restore from a snapshot that was taken just before your Mac became infected. That makes it very easy to get back up and running again.

10. Secure personal data

You could use macOS’ FileVault to encrypt every file on your Mac. But it consumes resources and hits your Mac’s performance. For most of us, it’s overkill. But you should make sure that all sensitive or personal data stored on your Mac is encrypted. One way to do that is to use a password manager. As well as passwords, most of these apps allow to encrypt and safely store credit card details, bank accounts, and text notes. You should also use secure, difficult to guess passwords for everything, from your Mac user account to your Wi-Fi network.

As you can see, the best virus protection for a Mac is to be alert, and to use common sense. If you notice your Mac behaving strangely, take action immediately, even if it’s only launching Activity Monitor to find out why your Mac is running slowly.

Apple virus protection in macOS, in the form of Gatekeeper and Xprotect will help, but they won’t stop every possible piece of malware. You need to be vigilant, backup your Mac regularly and minimize the risk by removing Flash and Java.

The chances of your Mac becoming infected with a virus are slim. By employing the advice here, you can reduce that risk even further.

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You may have heard it's said that Macs don’t get viruses. That there’s no Apple virus. You may even have said it yourself. Sadly, it’s not true. According to the Apple Insider portal, the number of detected Mac viruses jumped up 60% in 2019. And, it’s not just viruses you have to be wary of. There are all sorts of different forms of malware, from bits of code that download themselves and show you adverts for things you have no interest in, to really nasty bugs that steal your personal data.

How do I know if my Mac has a virus?

Before you remove a virus from a Mac, you need to be sure it actually has one. We’ve covered that in more detail in this article but here are a few pointers.

  • Your Mac starts behaving erratically and doing things you don’t expect;
  • Your Mac starts running very slowly as if something is hogging the processor;
  • You start seeing adverts on your desktop;
  • You find software or applications you didn’t install.
  • An app asks for your administrator password

These symptoms may mean your Mac has a virus, although there could be other explanations.

How to remove a virus from a Mac

Thankfully, there are lots of ways to do it. And Mac virus removal doesn’t have to cost money.

1. Delete browser extensions

One of the most common types s of malware comes in the form of browser extensions. Even extensions that aren’t particularly malicious can be annoying, and if you didn’t deliberately install them, they’re malware. Here’s how to get rid of unwanted browser extensions.

Safari

  1. Launch Safari.
  2. Click Safari in the top menu, then choose Safari Extensions.
  3. Look down the list and click on any extensions that look suspicious. Read the description of the extension. If you don’t remember installing it, click Uninstall.
  4. Repeat until you’ve removed all the extensions you don’t want.

Chrome

  1. Launch Chrome.
  2. Click on the 3-dot icon in the upper right corner.
  3. Select More Tools and choose Extensions from the menu that appears.
  4. Look over the extensions in the browser window and click Remove on any that you don’t recognise.

Firefox

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  1. Launch Firefox.
  2. Click the 3-line (hamburger) icon at the top right corner.
  3. Choose Add-ons.
  4. Click the Extensions tab and remove any you don’t recognize.

2. Uninstall apps

Malware comes in lots of different forms. And it even comes disguised as security software to help you get rid of viruses! Devious, huh?

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Why Virus Is Good For Mac

If you’ve inadvertently downloaded an app that turns out to be a virus, you need to uninstall it immediately. There are a couple of ways to do this. Here’s the hard way.

  1. Go to your Applications folder and drag the app to the Trash.
  2. Go to ~/Library folder and look in the Application Support folder for any files related to the app and drag those to the Trash.
  3. Look in the other folders in ~/Library, especially Launch Agents and Launch Daemons and remove any files related to the app from there. But be careful, if you remove files used by legitimate apps you could cause lots of problems.
  4. Repeat Step 3 for your Mac’s main Library folder.

The easy way: Uninstall apps in a few clicks

  1. Download and launch CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click Uninstaller.
  3. Check the box next to the application name.
  4. Click Uninstall.

If you don’t know the name of the application, it’s more difficult. But if you use CleanMyMac, all you have to do is scroll through the list of applications and look for any you don’t recognize or don’t need and remove them. CleanMyMac removes every trace of an app, including files that you may overlook when you remove applications manually. This is particularly important for viruses, so it’s much better to use CleanMyMac.
What's makes this method even better, is that CleanMyMac X also shows you app leftovers that remained after the main app is gone.

3. Use a malware removal tool

While the above steps work very well in lots of cases, sometimes the Mac virus removal means using a dedicated application to scan and remove malware from your Mac.

There are lots of these applications available, and many of them are either free or allow you to at the very least scan your Mac for free to find out whether you need to take action. Be careful, however. It’s important to choose a tool from a reputable vendor. If you just google ‘Mac antivirus tool’ some of the results may well be for tools that are themselves malicious and instead of removing viruses from your Mac will infect it. We recommend using CleanMyMac X.

It can identify thousands of malware threats, including adware, spyware, ransomware, worms, cryptocurrency miners. And if CleanMyMac finds something suspicious, it will offer immediate removal. Here’s how to perform a full system scan:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X (free download) and launch the app.
  2. Click on the Malware Removal tab.
  3. Click Scan.
  4. Click Remove.

4. Escape the virus: Create a new user profile

Usually, viruses are attached to a particular user profile on your computer. In this way, they are able to seize control of your admin profile. But you can start if from scratch and create a new user on your Mac. Don't worry, you will be able to transfer all your important data from one user to another.

Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, click Users & Groups.

  1. Click the lock icon , then type in your admin password.
  2. Use the plus sign to add a new user profile.

To move your important information from one user to another, you will need to access the Shared folder.

  1. Click on the Finder > Go to Folder..
  2. Paste in this: /Users

Can you see the Shared folder? Here you can copy the needed files from your old user account. Hurray, you've started a clean, virus-free life!

Bonus tip: Clean up your login items

Login items are apps that launch automatically upon startup. Malware programs would often sneak into your login items without you knowing. How to prevent them from launching?

  1. Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences.
  2. Click Users & Groups.
  3. Click on the Login Items tab

From here you can manage them using the [+] and [—] buttons.

How to disable the invisible agents

Some small supporting applications never show up in the Login items. They are called the Launch agents and may as well be hacked by viruses. You can find them with the universal Mac cleaner, CleanMyMac. This app is notarized by Apple, so you are safe using it.

  1. Download the cleaner here — the link to a free edition.
  2. Launch the app and go to the Optimization tab.
  3. Click Launch agents

How many apps do you see there? Remove any flash players, automatic updaters, or everything else that you find suspicious. Even if you deleted the main app itself, its launch agents may still occupy your drive. Here is what I have:

To prevent your Mac from infection, the above app has a real-time monitor tool. It checks whether no harmful apps place their code in your Launch Agents. It monitors several such locations that could be gateways for viruses.

How to get rid of a virus on a Macbook Pro (or any other Mac) if all else fails

If you’ve run through all the steps above and are still having problems trying to remove a virus from a Mac, the next step is to restore from a Time Machine backup. The benefit of restoring from Time Machine is that you can do it quickly and easily by booting into the recovery partition and you can choose to backup to a state just before your Mac started behaving erratically.

The downside of this option is that any work you’ve done since the backup you restore from will be lost. You could manually copy files from your Mac to another drive or cloud storage service before you restore and then copy them back afterward. However, if one of those files is infected, you risk contaminating your Mac all over again. If there are documents you really need and that aren’t backed up elsewhere, use one of the antivirus tools above to run a scan on them before you copy them to another disk. That way you’ll know they’re safe.

Here’s how to restore from a Time Machine backup

  1. Make sure you’re connected to your Time Machine backup drive.
  2. Restart your Mac, holding down the Command and R keys until you see the Apple logo. When the macOS Utilities screen appears, choose Restore from a Time Machine Backup. Click Continue.
  3. Choose the last backup before your Mac started misbehaving or you suspect you were infected with a virus.

Your Mac will now return to the state it was in when you made that backup.

If you don’t have a Time Machine backup to restore from, the last resort is to reinstall macOS. This is a ground-zero approach. You’ll need to wipe your startup drive completely clean and start again. That means reinstalling all your applications and copying all your data back to your Mac afterward. If you have a recent backup of your data, from before your Mac became infected, you can use that to copy data from after you re-install. If not, you’ll need to back up important files now — but scan them with an antivirus tool first to make sure they’re not infected.

To perform a clean install of macOS, you’ll need a bootable installer disk. Creating one is beyond the scope of this article, but there is a comprehensive guide here.

Once you’ve made your bootable installer, plug it into your Mac, go to System Preferences, choose Startup Disk and select the disk you just plugged in. Restart your Mac, holding down Command-R and do the following:

  1. When the macOS Utilities screen appears, select Reinstall a new copy of macOS. Click Continue and then Continue again when the next window appears.
  2. Agree to the terms and conditions and select your Mac’s internal disk.
  3. Click Install. Wait for your Mac to restart.
  4. Your Mac will start up as if it’s a new Mac and you’ll need to go through the process of setting it up from scratch.
  5. Once you’ve set it up, copy back the files you need from the backup and that you know aren’t infected.

As you can see, there are many different ways to remove a virus from a Mac, depending on how badly infected it is and what kind of virus it is. The main thing to remember is if you suspect your Mac is infected, don’t worry. It can be fixed!

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Why Virus Is Good For Mac
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