- 1 Mac Virus Removal, The Ultimate Removal Guide – Updated October 2017
- 1.1 Need Personalized Virus Removal Assistance?
- 1.2 Macs Are More Secure Than PCs – Reality or Myth?
- 1.3 Basics to Make Your Mac Secure
- 1.4 How Apple Protects Your Mac from Malware
- 1.5 Is Antivirus Software Required for Your Mac?
- 1.6 Identifying Mac Viruses and Malware
- 1.7 Removing Malware and Viruses from Your Mac
- 1.8 Damage Repair
- 1.9 How to Remove Malware from Your Mac for Free
- 1.10 Protecting Your Mac from Malware
- 1.11 Tips to Stay Secure
- 1.12 My Mac Has a Virus – What Should I Do Next?
- 1.13 Friendly Reminder
Mac Virus Removal, The Ultimate Removal Guide – Updated October 2017
Generally, Macs have been considered safer and have not really been targeted by malware and virus attacks as rampantly as PCs have and as a direct result, haven’t needed a mac virus removal service.
In fact, it is a very famous notion that “Macs don’t get viruses.” This belief is probably because of a combination of factors that includes the restrictive nature of the macOS, the absence of .exe or executable files in the macOS which is one of the primary reasons that Windows PCs get affected by viruses and the fact that Macs are more niche and fewer people own Macs as compared to Windows-based PCs.
However, things have changed quite a bit in the last few years and Macs have become quite popular, with more people owning them. As a result, Macs have also been targeted more frequently by malicious attacks. Since 2012, there has been quite a rise in different types of viruses and malware threatening Macs such as adware, keyloggers, spyware, ransomware, backdoors, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), etc. This has caused a rise in malware removal for Macs.
Macs Are More Secure Than PCs – Reality or Myth?
With viruses and malware on the rise, Windows PCs are not the only systems that are being attacked. Macs are no longer immune and the security of Macs has become very important and not something you can overlook. Although the macOS is far more secure than Windows, it is a good idea to look at the security of your Mac more seriously. Macs are generally considered more secure than PCs due to a number of reasons such as:
- The operating system of Mac is Unix-based, which offers a number of in-built security features. And, since it is a Unix-based operating system, the macOS is sandboxed i.e. even if the virus or malware enters your Mac, it cannot spread to the heart of the system. Although Macs are not completely unhackable, they are less prone to virus attacks when compared to Windows PCs.
- Apple has also included several security measures which make attacking a Mac rather challenging.
- The Gatekeeper, a built-in software, blocks all software from running on your Mac that has not been approved digitally by Apple, without your permission.
However, despite all this, Macs are not completely safe and have not really managed to escape the threats of virus and malware attacks completely. In fact, as of October 2017, there has been a 230% increase in Mac malware attacks since early 2017.
Basics to Make Your Mac Secure
Keeping your data secure and maintaining privacy is of the greatest concerns for you as a Mac user. Making your macOS secure is very simple. You have many tools available in System Preferences and Safari and many 3rd party apps to keep your Mac safe.
Threats to your Mac can come from three areas:
- Via the internet
- Any person who has direct access to your Mac
- External devices, especially pen drives and hard disks
So, you must take proper steps to protect yourself and minimize all these threats.
How Apple Protects Your Mac from Malware
You cannot download any malware. This is a way in which Apple protects you from it. The Mac has anti-malware protection built into the macOS. XProtect, the Mac malware scanner works in the background and does not require any user configuration.
Updates happen automatically on the Mac and since it is written into the OS, it does not slow down the working speed of the computer. The macOS also blocks any downloaded software that has not been digitally signed, i.e. the process by which the developer is approved by Apple. This is taken care of by the application known as the Gatekeeper.
Even the software that is approved by Apple is sandboxed, where the apps are isolated from the system components of your Mac, your apps and your data so that they are not able to access anything on the system that can cause damage. Safari is equipped with anti-phishing technology that can detect fraudulent websites and if you visit a suspicious page, then you will get a warning.
Another way that Apple keeps your Mac safe from needing virus removal for your Mac, is that plug-ins like QuickTime, Adobe Flash Player, Oracle Java, etc. will not run if they are not the latest version. In addition to Gatekeeper that will keep the malware away from your Mac, your data is made secure and safe by encryption by FileVault 2. Although as you may have experienced, it doesn’t prevent a ransom virus from encrypting your files.
Is Antivirus Software Required for Your Mac?
Although it is not essential to install an antivirus software on your Mac, installing some free anti-virus apps can give you ample peace of mind. Some of the free of cost antivirus software for Macs are:
- iAntivirus by Norton
- Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac (Home Edition)
If you do install an anti-virus, consider upgrading to the more robust paid version to better protect your files and privacy. You’ll experience better protection and less need for malware removal for your Mac.
Identifying Mac Viruses and Malware
Malware and viruses reduce the efficiency of your Mac and these programs run in the background on your system and perform several tasks like copying your sensitive data or your keystrokes, etc. This ultimately results in the reduction of the processing power rendering your Mac with extremely reduced performance.
Some of the signs that you need Mac virus removal are:
- You hear your speakers repeat a message about an infection with instructions to call the phone number on the screen.
- Your Mac runs very slowly compared to its normal working speed.
- The sudden appearance of many popups from nowhere without you taking any action to initiate them.
- Programs start up suddenly that you have not started or you don’t recognize.
- When using your internet browser, you are redirected to a website that you don’t recognize or have not entered in your address bar yourself. Redirection usually occurs when the malware forces the searches that you are making and redirects you to advertisements that are installed by the creator of the malware by taking over your default search engine.
- You can constantly hear the sound of the hard drive in action.
Any one of these signs could mean that your Mac has a virus, while more than two or three of these symptoms indicate strongly signs of a virus infection.
Some of the common malware that attack Macs are:
Malware and viruses can hide in many places in your Mac. They can be hidden in your browser, in a file that you have downloaded or in your background processes. So, it is vital that you look everywhere for these threats as they are usually well hidden.
You can check if your Mac has a virus, adware, spyware or any malware by using softwares like Avira, BitDefender, AVG, Avast or
Kaspersky, which scan your computer and check for any malicious software that may be hiding in the background processes or might have been installed. Using any of these softwares, you can scan your Mac for malware and viruses.
Removing Malware and Viruses from Your Mac
If you feel that your Mac has been infected with some malicious malware or virus, you must get around to cleaning your system immediately before it causes a lot of damage.
Until your Mac is clean and virus free, do not run any sensitive data, websites or programs. The malware hidden in your Mac can keep track of your keystrokes and get complete access to your valuable information. If you feel that your Mac is infected, do not log in to your banking website and make any financial transactions, avoid sending any emails and avoid entering any personal information or passwords on your system.
To clean your Mac, you need a complete and comprehensive solution. Viruses, adware and malware can be present in external devices too such as your USB drive, external hard drive or SD card. So, you must scan these also as they can be a host for malware and viruses. You can use one of the softwares we mentioned above to scan all the external devices that are connected to your Mac; they provide a complete solution to locating and removing all kinds of adware, spyware and viruses from your Mac.
Even after they are removed from the system, malware and viruses can cause long-term damage to your Mac. And so, you must backup all the data and files on your Mac before you try to remove any malware or virus from your computer.
To completely repair your Mac, you must take the following precautions:
- All the major programs such as the web browser, utility programs, email clients, etc. that you make use of may need to be reinstalled.
- Remove all plugins, add-ons or toolbars from the web browser unless they are from a 3rd party that you trust like Apple or Google.
- Delete any applications that have been downloaded from the App Store that look suspicious.
- If you have visited any online services then change the password to this and also your computer’s password.
- Delete all the files and applications that you do not use, as they may be a potential carrier for malware and viruses.
- For any service that supports it, enable the 2-factor authentication process.
How to Remove Malware from Your Mac for Free
By following a few simple steps, you can remove malware from your Mac.
- Exit from the browser you are using by using the Command + Q on the keyboard or clicking on the “x” icon in your browser.
- Go to the Downloads folder and delete any installed files that you do not recognize, by dragging them into the Trash.
- By right-clicking and selecting “Empty Trash”, delete the files in the Trash Bin.
If you feel that there is malware already installed on your Mac, then you can follow the virus removal for Mac steps below to remove it:
- Check the name of the app if it is open.
- Close the app window.
- Open the Utilities folder by using Command + Shift + U.
- Open the activity monitor and check all the processes.
- Check the name of the app that you do not recognize and select “Quit Process.”
- Drag the app that is not required into the Trash and empty the Trash Bin.
Protecting Your Mac from Malware
Once you have removed any malware from your Mac, to ensure that it does not resurface again, keep your Mac safe by using the following steps.
- Make sure that your Mac is up to date by opening the App Store application and clicking on the “Update All” option.
- The automatic update option must be turned on. Click the App Store icon after opening the System Preferences and select the option “Automatically Check for Updates.” Ensure that “Install System Data Files”, “Install macOS Updates” and “Security Updates” are all selected.
- Ensure that your Mac allows apps that are only from trusted sources and developers by selecting the option under System Preferences > Security and Privacy > General.
- Check that the option listed under “Allow Apps Download From” is either set to the Mac App Store or Identified Developers along with the Mac App Store. If the option is set to “Anywhere”, then unlock it by selecting the “Lock” icon and change the option to Mac App Store or Identified Developers and Mac App Store.
- Then install the Mac Antivirus software.
Tips to Stay Secure
Scanning Your Mac and External Drives
If you have removed any malware or virus from your Mac and your system is clean, you must be careful and prevent this from occurring again in the future by staying secure. Keep scanning your Mac and your external drives once a week for a few weeks. This can protect your Mac from the threats that may arise in the future too.
Encrypt All Your Information and Files
You can install an applications such as Hider 2, which helps to secure all the data on your Mac by encrypting it. Even if you get any malware or virus on your Mac in the future, the malicious programs will not have any access to your data or files that have been encrypted using Hider 2. This is a fantastic defense that you can put up against Mac spyware or adware like keyloggers that usually attempt to steal personal and sensitive information.
Follow Safe Internet Browsing
You must also practice secure and safe Internet browsing habits. Avoid visiting websites that you do not trust and avoid downloading files from untrustworthy and dubious sources. If you want to download a file; however, and you are unsure about its safety, then use a tool that can scan the file and alert you if the file contains any viruses or malware before you go ahead and download it. Always update your browser and install any Apple security updates as soon as they are released.
These are some great tips and methods that you can follow that will help to keep your Mac safe from attacks by any malicious malware or virus that can completely destroy your system or hijack your sensitive information/data. Plus this will help you to avoid the need for malware removal for your Mac. Also, it is a good idea that to have the latest antivirus software installed on your Mac that can keep your system safe and secure. Following the steps outlined will ensure that your Mac remains protected against malwares and viruses, and the chances of you being attacked by one is minimized.
My Mac Has a Virus – What Should I Do Next?
As a Mac owner, you know how important it is to remove any viruses that can steal your identity, invade your privacy, slow down your experience or annoy you with pop up videos that say your Mac is infected.
If you need Mac virus removal our certified experts can give you the peace of mind and remove any offending virus.
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