How to check for a virus on your Mac

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No device is safe from malware, and we all want to protect our machines to keep them safe from harmful threats. From suspicious login items to a strange download link, hackers use different approaches to target MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros and iMacs.

Luckily, stopping viruses has become much easier to do with antivirus software for macOS. Running a quick scan or knowing how to regularly check your Mac can prevent infections and keep your information secure.

Read our guide on how to check for a virus on a Mac and stop your device from becoming infected.


Can your Mac get a virus?

Yes, your Mac can get a computer virus. You may think you don’t need protection for your Mac. However, all computers are vulnerable to malicious software, regardless of the operating system (OS).

Apple is well known for its high level of security precautions on its devices. Despite this, MacBooks, iPads and iPhones can still become infected.

More people are using Macs than ever before. This increase in usage has led to a rise in malware and viruses specifically designed to target Apple devices.

Even if you know how to look for a virus, it’s always safer to keep your Mac secure with effective antivirus software.


Signs of a Mac malware infection

Knowing the tell-tale signs of a malware infection helps to protect your device and personal data. Unfortunately, some viruses and malware are undetectable, and some may take time to identify. Other viruses can be discovered immediately.

A few of the critical signs for Mac users to look out for include:

Slower performance than usual
Sometimes a hardware problem can cause a Mac to run slowly. However, this can also be a sign of a severe issue. Hackers often use people’s devices to run DDoS attacks or mine crypto-currency, so be aware of a suddenly slow running system.

Changes to your browser homepage
Noticed a new browser extension or a change to your browser homepage? It may also direct you to a malicious third-party site. A Mac virus can alter how your browser displays.

Seeing lots of ads and pop ups
Nothing is more irritating than pop-ups and endless ads. If you notice annoying ads, it could be down to adware. Often cyberattackers use adware to slow computers, install spyware or viruses and hijack browsers.

Unprompted security alerts
Noticing security alerts on your system without running a scan could be a sign of scareware. This malware usually asks you to click a button or call a number, tricking you into installing malicious and unwanted software.

Redirecting to suspicious websites
Being redirected from one website to another isn’t just an inconvenience. It might also be a sign of a malware infection.

Unable to open personal files
Of all the signs of malware, not being able to open your files is the biggest red flag. Ransomware or a Trojan horse can cause this to happen. Cybercriminals who get hold of your personal information can use it to extort money.



How to check Macs for malware and remove it manually

We all know that malicious files and software are dangerous, but sometimes it can be challenging to spot them. If your Mac is infected, don’t panic. Doing a regular security check helps you to detect malware and protect your data.

Clear your downloads folder
Make sure you keep cleaning and emptying your downloads folder. Every file you download onto your device ends up there. Visit the ‘Downloads’ folder in Finder and clear your history.

Delete any apps you don't recognise
Remove suspicious apps installed on your Mac as soon as you find them. Go to your ‘Applications’ folder in Finder and delete apps that you don’t recognise. Make sure you empty the Trash after.

Check for new browser extensions
Keep an eye on your browser extensions. These are great for improving your browser experience, but can let malware infections into your Mac computer. On Safari, go to the ‘Extensions’ tab in Preferences to remove any extensions you suspect.


What is malware protection?

One of the best ways to protect your device is with Mac malware protection. Malware comes in many forms and has been having a devastating impact since the 1970s.

Some of the main types include viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, scareware, adware and crypto miners. Often malware can spread before you know it from emails, pop-ups, ads, drive-by downloads and more.

Keeping up with new developments is easy if you’re using antivirus software. It allows you to protect your Mac from malicious files and software. As malware threats are constantly developing, your security needs to do the same.


Tips to protect your Mac from malicious software

There are several ways that you can improve your online experience and protect your devices. The best way is to use reputable antivirus software. With ESET’s market-leading antivirus software for macOS, you can keep your Mac safe and malware-free.

Antivirus software for Macs is now essential for users. ESET’s malware detection software helps to protect your valuable data from a potential attack.

ESET Cyber Security Pro software works to protect you from:

  • Spam and phishing threats
  • Adware
  • Malicious malware
  • Spyware
  • Trojan horse viruses
  • Ransomware

There are also some other actions you can take to protect your Mac. Always check your downloads and ensure you only ever open a download file from a source you trust.

You should also be cautious of suspicious emails or fake profiles online and be careful whenever you use your browser. It’s a good idea to avoid browsing smaller websites without SSL (shown as a little padlock in the address bar) as they could have poor backend security.

If you’re worried that your Mac is infected, speak to a professional. Discover more about how to improve your online security or get in contact with ESET today.