A Comprehensive Guide on How to Tell If Your Mac Has a Virus or Malware A Comprehensive Guide on How to Tell If Your Mac Has a Virus or Malware
News    11/14/2019

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Tell If Your Mac Has a Virus or Malware

Is your mac acting like it's under attack? Maybe it is! Here's how to tell if your mac has a virus or malware, and what you can do about it.

Are you a Mac user? Do you notice your computer working sluggishly for no apparent reason? Do you suspect that someone is trying to hack into your files?

Though Mac computers are one of the most durable, it doesn’t mean they are impervious to malicious attacks. In reality, viruses and malware can penetrate Macs. These things can cause all sorts of problems affecting your Mac’s overall performance and your files’ safety.

The key is learning how to tell if your Mac has a virus. 

How do you do it? What are the signs that you need to watch out for? Continue reading below as we give you the lowdown on viruses and malware and to detect them.

How Do They Get Inside?

Before anything else, let us first discuss how viruses and malware get inside your Mac. This is important, especially if you wish to prevent them from affecting your computer in the first place.

Generally, viruses penetrate your Mac with a little help from none other than you. Viruses enter your Mac through the links that you click, the apps that you install, or the programs you download.

As for the malware, they enter through various third-party browser plugins. These include Java, Adobe Reader, and Flash. Malware can also enter via an email that tries to appear coming from a legitimate source.

The moment you open the email and click a particular link, the malware enters your Mac’s system.

There are four kinds of viruses that affect Mac computers:

  • Adware
  • Trojan
  • Ransomware
  • Macro viruses

Adware carries advertising pop-ups that can be benign or malicious. Some work in tandem with spyware to steal your data. 

Trojan horses enter through fake updates like the Adobe Flash update. Meanwhile, Ransomware attacks by locking up your computer. To unlock it, the virus demands you to pay a certain fee. 

Lastly, Macro viruses perform functions like accessing webcams and taking pictures. They can also corrupt files, send files, or format your hard drives.

Learn How to Tell If Your Mac Has a Virus

Now that you know how viruses and malware enter, you need to know how to tell if your mac is already carrying one. Check out these essential tell-tale signs below to learn how to tell if your Mac has a virus:

1. Random Popups and Scan Reports 

If you see pop-ups appearing randomly with no cause, there is a possibility that a virus is causing it. These pop-up alerts say that they come from a particular application. The catch is you did not even install the said app.

What they do is they try to trick you into registering for a licensed version of a specific product. Another instance to look out for is pop-ups that appear even if you’re not browsing the internet.

2. Redundant Ads Appear

Meanwhile, redundant ads can also surprise you while you are surfing the web. These ads come from a Mac adware. What they do is change your browser settings.

This opens up a virtual layer that sits on top of the current page you are browsing. This attack is one of the most annoying ones. It affects your internet navigation and will fill different areas of your screen with several advertisements.

Some of these ads come in the form of banners with coupons. Others manifest in the form of in-text links. They can also be interstitial ads that will open a new window once you click them.

Some of them may come with the label “Brought to you by MacShop.” This message helps them fool users into thinking they are legit.

Also Read: SEO for Podcasts – Smart Guidelines That Help

3. Speed Is Slower than Usual

The speed of your Mac that is slower than usual can be a sign that your computer is carrying a virus. Some Mac viruses turn a host into a part of a botnet. A botnet receives random commands from cybercriminals who mine cryptocurrency or engage in DDoS attacks.

Because of the continuous network communication that comes with the attack, the virus uses your Mac’s GPU or CPU. In turn, your computer performs slower than average. In some cases, you may also notice some of your applications lagging.

4. No Access to Personal Files

Are you trying to access one of your files but couldn’t seem to open it? Then a Ransomware may be causing the apparent loss of access. 

The KeRanger and MacRansom are examples of Ransomware that made some noise recently. They encode the users’ data. After that, they leave ransom notes using decryption terms.

Check the lock screen and see if there is a notification indicating the presence of prohibited material. This warning will try to dupe you into believing that they come from a law enforcement agency.

The clincher, however, is they will ask the user to pay a fine or else, the agency will file a formal case.

5. You End Up in Unwanted Sites

Another sign of a hijacking attempt is when your browser keeps on redirecting to unwanted websites. The attack normally uses an aggressive plugin. This plugin replaces the custom configuration of your Mac’s internet surfing.

It changes the configuration with rogue values without getting your approval. What happens next is that your browser directs the traffic to junk sites. This can occur every time you launch the browser or whenever you open a new tab.

The most common destinations are fake warning pages. These are the pages that tell you that there is an infection, and you need to clean it up ASAP.

Also Read: How To Find The Best Payment Processor

6. Malware Scanner Confirms It

If you have a malware scanner in place and it confirms the virus, you better believe it. Thus, it is a must that you download at least one of the more reliable ones. 

Malwarebytes for Mac is one of the most dependable options. It can scan your entire system in a matter of seconds. It can also remove adware and other potentially harmful programs.

Another is the BitDefender Virus Scanner. It works by pinpointing the infected items when you run them through the Finder. Best of all, you can download this app for free.

You may also click this link to learn how to remove malware.

Keep Your Computers in Excellent Shape

Knowing how to tell if your Mac has a virus is crucial. Cybercriminals are getting smarter, and the only way to beat them is to remain two steps ahead.

We invite you to read our different posts on computer care. We discuss topics that will help protect your computers from attacks. We provide tips that will help keep your Macs and Windows in excellent shape.

Tips to Prevent virus and malware from Infecting Your System:
  1. Enable your popup blocker: Pop-ups and ads on the websites are the most adoptable tactic used by cybercriminals or developers with the core intention to spread malicious programs.
    So, avoid clicking uncertain sites, software offers, pop-ups etc. and Install a powerful ad- blocker for ChromeMozilla, and IE
  2. Keep your Windows Updated: To avoid such infections, we recommend that you should always keep your system updated through automatic windows update.By doing this you can keep your device free from virus.According to the survey, outdated/older versions of Windows operating system are an easy target.
  3. Third-party installation: Try to avoid freeware download websites as they usually install bundled of software with any installer or stub file.
  4. Regular Backup: Regular and periodical backup helps you to keep your data safe in case the system is infected by any kind of virus or any other infection.Thus always backup important files regularly on a cloud drive or an external hard drive.
  5. Always have an Anti-Virus: Precaution is better than cure. We recommend that you install an antivirus like ITL Total Security or a good Malware Removal Tool like Download Virus RemovalTool


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