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(3) Virus Alerts! How to Check Your Mac For Malware (And How to Get Rid of It)
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(3) Virus Alerts! How to Check Your Mac For Malware (And How to Get Rid of It)

The Internet is one of the most powerful tools that you can take advantage of. Unfortunately, it also comes with its share of risks.

Although Apple computers are renowned for their defense against virus infections, it’s not impossible for them to get one. Fortunately, though, there are ways to check for issues and then resolve any you may have.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about how to check for malware.

What Exactly Is Malware?

The above term refers to any type of software that aims to cause damage to a user’s machine, compromise someone’s sensitive data, etc. Malware is what people refer to when they use the term ‘computer virus.’

Malware can be created for a specific purpose (such as to hack into a bank’s database) or as a general means of stealing personal data.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common types.

Trojan Horse

Often referred to simply as a ‘Trojan,’ this type of malware infects computers under the guise of being a harmless type of file. Once it’s gained access to the machine, it typically installs other malware, logs a user’s activity and sends it to the hacker, or actively destroys data.

As you may be able to tell, it’s one of the most dangerous types of computer viruses to experience.

Adware

As the name implies, adware is a malicious form of software that aggressively displays ads on a user’s computer. In many cases, the ads will appear on the screen even when the Internet browser has been closed.

Other adware functions are similar to generic online ads or pop-ups with the intent of collecting data from you.

Ransomware

A single ransomware attack has the potential to cripple a small business and can be just as devastating to an individual.

Ransomware seeks to hold sensitive data for ‘ransom’ by encrypting it and then demanding payment from the user before they’re able to regain access. If they don’t comply with the hacker’s instructions, the data is often deleted or left encrypted indefinitely.

In extreme cases, the hacker may even leak the sensitive information to people in the user’s contacts list. For businesses, this could mean giving trade secrets to industry competitors.

How to Check for Malware

There are two primary ways you can check for the presence of malware on your computer:

  1. Manually
  2. Through the use of anti-virus software

As long as you’re careful about how you browse the Internet and have discretion when using email applications, you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Still, it’s recommended that even a causal Mac user manually checks for malware at least once per week.

Continue below to learn more about each method.

Checking Manually

When you check for the presence of malware on your own, you’re actively looking for any unfamiliar applications or extensions on your computer. If you didn’t install them (and didn’t give another program permission to), there’s a significant chance that malware is responsible.

To check manually, go to your Applications (either through Finder or by using Shift + Command + A) and browse through the list of applications that are installed on your computer.

Afterward, repeat the same process for the extensions on the web browsers you actively use. 

If you find an application/extension that you don’t recognize, delete it immediately and then empty the Trash.

You can also take a look at your Activity Monitor application— if there’s an unfamiliar app using a disproportionate amount of energy, it may be related to a malware infection.

Antivirus Software 

See Also

Through the use of antivirus software, you’re able to actively monitor your computer and protect against threats. In the event that your machine does become infected with malicious software, your antivirus protection will discover it during its next scan.

Those who use their computers heavily should perform a light scan daily and a thorough scan once per week. It’s best to do so during times where you’re not actively using your machine to prevent any interruptions.

Removing Malware From Your Computer 

As previously mentioned, you may be able to remove malware from your Mac by manually deleting it. Some types of malware, though, are notoriously difficult to get rid of.

They aim to integrate themselves into your Mac’s system and become as hard to remove as possible. This is often achieved by the software making copies of itself, changing permissions, concealing its presence, etc.

Luckily, it’s possible to use an application that specializes in the removal of malware. This type of software knows how to target common threats, quarantine them from the rest of your computer’s files, and then remove them from your machine entirely.

When looking for a provider, it’s best to research one that has plenty of positive reviews from past users. Otherwise, you may find that the problem is only superficially solved.

This could also result in the compromise of your personal data, as people behave far differently on their computers when they believe there’s no reason to worry.

You can visit this resource to learn more about Apple malware removal

Understanding How to Check for Malware Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn’t have to be.

With the above information about how to check for malware in mind, you’ll be well on your way toward making the decision that’s best for you.

Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.



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