In the early 2000s, Mac computers had earned a reputation as a virus-free alternative to PCs. Years later, they still hold this vaunted security status. Except now, it’s no longer true.
Just because you’re using a Mac doesn’t mean you’re safe from malware. In fact, it’s this belief that has turned the macOS environment into the perfect target. In 2019, Mac computers had twice as many viruses as PCs — mainly because their users had thought themselves safe.
Are you? If you think malware has infected your Mac, it’s time for a security check. Here’s how to get rid of virus on Mac.
Does My Mac Have a Virus?
Sometimes malware is so subtle that you won’t notice any changes in your computer’s behavior. However, most types of infection do come with surefire signs of trouble.
If you discover software you didn’t install, there’s a good chance it’s a virus hiding in plain sight. Keep in mind that some updates may include genuine macOS software. In that case, it’s worth Googling the app to discover whether or not it’s legitimate.
Rather than strange software, you could see visible signs of virus infection while searching the web. Adware, a type of virus, injects advertisements on your web browser to generate income for its creator. You’ll know you’re a victim of adware when every website seems to be covered in advertisements.
Smart viruses do a better job of masking themselves on your device. While you won’t notice new software or pop-ups on your Safari web browser, you’re likely to experience performance issues. That’s because some types of viruses, such as keyloggers and trojans, consume a significant amount of computer resources and bandwidth.
Are you having trouble running an application that used to work fine or suffering from constantly buffering videos? Your Mac could be infected.
How to Get Rid of Virus on Mac
Just because you think you’re infected doesn’t mean you actually are — and vice versa. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want your personal information ending up in the hands of hackers.
And to that end, you’ll want to know how to detect and remove a virus from your computer. There are a few ways to go about this, so we’ll cover the basic strategies.
1. Uninstall New Software
Malware can hitch a ride on third-party downloads, even on the App Store. If you started suspecting a virus after a recent download, your best bet is to delete the offender.
To uninstall the program, navigate to the Applications folder found within Finder. Then simply move the app into the Trash. With this method, some portions of the app are still on your computer.
What you need is a full uninstall. Under your Finder menu, scroll over Go, and select Go to Folder. Search “/Library.” You should find a massive collection of folders.
Find the folder named after the offending application and throw the entire collection into the trash.
See if your computer’s strange behavior continues. If not, you’re probably safe. Otherwise, the malware may still be infecting your computer, or this specific application wasn’t the culprit.
2. Check Your Extensions
If your Mac’s strange behavior stems from your web browser alone, the virus is likely tucked away as a browser extension. You’ll know you’re dealing with a browser hijacker when your homepage changes randomly or you’re inundated with advertisements.
Mac virus removal starts by navigating to the preferences drop-down menu on Safari. Find the Extensions tab and search through the contents.
If you didn’t download an extension or don’t know what an extension is, it’s best to uninstall it. You should see an uninstall button under the extension’s name while you have it selected.
Once you’ve cleaned up your extensions, restart your Safari browser and see if things have returned to normal.
3. Search on Activity Monitor
For furtive malware, the Activity Monitor may be able to help. This is an especially useful tool when your Mac starts chugging and you believe a virus is the cause. Find the Activity Monitor tool through Finder or by clicking on Launchpad which is found on your dock.
When the activity monitor is open, you’ll find a list of every app and process currently running on your device. Click the %CPU tab and organize the list according to computer resource consumption.
Look for processes or apps you don’t recognize near the top. The reality is you probably won’t recognize many of them, so you may need to search their names online to ensure they are legitimate. If the CPU tab seems fine, repeat this process with memory and network use to cover all your bases.
4. Download Antivirus Software
Even if you follow through with manual Mac malware removal, it’s not a bad idea to run a virus scan just to be safe. While Windows computers come with pre-installed antivirus scanning software, Macs do not. You’ll need to find a third-party tool to get the job done.
There are plenty of options out there. Do some research rather than downloading the first thing you find online as it’s a popular tactic to disguise a virus as antivirus software.
Once you install the antivirus program of your choice, perform a full system scan. The software should detect and remove any viruses lingering on your Mac.
Getting Rid of Viruses
Most people’s lives revolve around internet use. And even if you practice the most rigid of security strategies, you’ll eventually pick up a virus every now and then. Don’t pretend that your Mac is invulnerable to infection, because, if anything, it’s at least as susceptible as a PC.
Think your computer has malware? Now that you know how to get rid of virus on Mac, you can remove the offender in a matter of clicks.
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