How to Check For and Remove Malware From Your Mac

How to Check For and Remove Malware From Your Mac

If you notice some unusual things on your Mac, like unexpected popup ads or not being able to browse certain web pages, these could be signs that malware is populating your hard drive. The thing about malware is that some can be easily recognized while other infections are harder to detect. The presence of malware could also make your Mac slower than usual. Read along to learn how to check for and remove malware from Mac.

What is the Difference Between Viruses and Malware

Before I discuss the signs that your Mac could be infected by malware, let me just distinguish a perennial question asked by many, “What is the difference between malware and a virus?” Although they are different entities, the terms malware and virus can be used interchangeably. To distinguish between the two, malware refers to malicious software or apps that masquerade as legitimate ones.

In reality, though, their objective is to attack your data. Viruses, on the other hand, are small programs that infect files on your Mac. They do so by injecting malicious code into the files until the infection spreads through most of the files on your Mac.

What are the Signs that There Are Malware on Your Mac

Various indicators will tell you that your Mac is being attacked by malware. One of them is when your Mac starts running slower than usual. This could mean that someone is using malware to launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack or perhaps mine cryptocurrency.

Another sign that your Mac is being attacked by malware is when more pop-ups and other ads appear than usual when you’re browsing the internet. If this is the case, adware, which is one form of malware, could be inhabiting your Mac.

Speaking of browsing the internet, one sign that your Mac is being attacked by malware is when there is a new homepage or extension on your machine that you don’t remember installing. This means that someone could be trying to redirect your browser to a malicious website.

Finally, if you are unable to access your files on your Mac while at the same time, you keep getting ransom or warning notes, then malware is attacking your computer.

How to Check for and Remove Malware From Your Mac

Now, that you know the different signs that malware could affect your Mac, it’s time that you learn how to check if there is malware on your Mac.

Check for Unwanted Applications on Your Mac

To check if there is malware on your Mac, check for apps that you haven’t used for a while. Also, check for apps that you don’t remember downloading. As much as possible, uninstall these apps.

  1. Open the Finder app.
  2. Click Applications, then scroll through the apps.
  3. Delete apps that you don’t recognize.
  4. Empty Your Mac’s Trash folder.

Check Your Mac’s Download Folder

Malware could be downloaded on Mac unnoticed. So, it would be best to check your Mac’s download folder to check for apps or files, most especially disk images that you don’t recognize, and delete them as quickly as possible. If you are not sure whether a downloaded file is legitimate or malware, select its icon and hit the spacebar. This will open up the info box for that file.

Check For Suspicious Login Items on Your Mac

Malware starts operating when you start up your Mac. So, to prevent malware from doing its jobs, check for suspicious login items on your Mac.

Time needed: 2 minutes

Follow the steps below to remove login items on your Mac.

  1. Click the Apple icon on your Mac’s Menu Bar.

  2. Click System Settings (or System Preferences) > General.

  3. Click Login Items.

    Mac Login Items screenshot

  4. Select the suspicious items.

  5. Click the minus sign to remove the suspicious items.

    Add or remove Login Items

How to Remove Malware From Your Mac

So, now that you know how to check for malware on your Mac, you should also begin to know how to prevent it from thoroughly infecting your machine. If you think that your Mac has malware that is already affecting its performance, there are various ways that you can remove it.

The best way of removing malware from your Mac is to run a malware scanner. This software not only properly identifies and detects malware, but more importantly removes it as well. There’s a plethora of malware scanners available, either free or paid. But for best results, I would suggest using a more powerful paid malware scanner.

A good example of a malware scanner that can also remove unwanted software is Intego’s VirusBarrier, which comes packed with its Mac Internet Security package. This package includes defenses against Mac malware. It is easy to set up and offers real-time protection not only against malware but also from viruses and phishing attacks.

Once you’ve installed Mac Internet Security on your Mac, the VirusBarrier will automatically scan for malware and viruses and remove them right away. It will also clean up your Mac of any traces of those viruses and malware.

Intego’s Mac Internet Security Package is available for a $19.99 annual subscription. You can only use it on one Mac, but there are also options to cover two or three 2 or 3 Macs.


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Final Words

When it comes to ensuring that your Mac is running smoothly and properly, you should always be vigilant whenever there are variations in how it performs. Use the guide outlined above on how to check and remove malware on Mac if you suspect that your machine is being attacked by malware. If you’ve determined that there might be malware running on your Mac, it would be best to have it scanned properly by a malware scanner so that the malicious malware would be eliminated right away. Please don’t wait for more harm to you and your Mac before you move to get a malware scanner.

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