Can Mac Have Viruses? How Can You Remove Them?

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As far as most Mac users are concerned, the possibility of encountering a common threat such as malware or a virus on their computers might not even exist. It paves the path for cybercriminals to manipulate the naivety of the user and allows them to wreak havoc on the users’ Mac computers.

If you’ve clicked on this article, the chances are that you’ve stumbled into some security trouble with your Mac computer. Before we can get into explaining to our users the necessary security steps that they need to take to circumvent Mac viruses, we’d like to answer the age-old question, which is, “Can Mac computers even get viruses?”

Can Macs Get Viruses?

While using Mac computers either for work or entertainment, Mac users often tend to forego the significance of the danger that these threats pose to their Mac PCs. Furthermore, in some unfortunate instances, users have been so absorbed in the misbelief that Mac computers can’t be susceptible to the same type of vulnerabilities as a Windows PC, which makes them seek security help when it is too late.

Until this point in the article, we’ve only made mention of the inclination present within many Mac users to deem their computers as being free from susceptibility to any virus or malware. However, it is worth mentioning that this misplaced belief is rooted in the fact that for most iOS-based devices, such as the iPhone or the iPad-this is true.

Despite the chances of an iOS-based device acquiring malware or a virus being next to zero, the possibility of a Mac computer falling prey to the virus is still relatively high. Although there hasn’t been a full-out malware epidemic, as was the case with Windows computers, there has still been a spike in recent reports of Mac viruses. Further shining light on the threats faced by Macs are findings from a recent report from Malwarebytes, which states that Mac computers’ outpaced Windows PC in several threats detected per endpoint.’

Although Mac computers offer their users a greater level of security than the typical Windows PC, primarily through the stringent security protections built within the macOS, they are still a prime target of cybercriminals. Moreover, there’s a higher chance that a Mac user won’t be familiar with the threat of Mac malware or viruses- which allows the malicious agents to wreak as much havoc as they please, without the fear of being discovered.

How Can Users Check If Their Mac Has Been Infected With a Virus?

As the threat landscape continues to evolve and harbor increasingly highly complex vulnerabilities, cybercriminals have started to get very sneaky with their attack methods. When it comes to Mac viruses, they are discrete bits of codes specifically formulated to be invisible, which makes their detection extremely difficult. However, there are a few key signs that point towards your Mac computer being infected with a virus, which consist of the following:

  • Your Mac computer suddenly starts behaving strangely; that is, the applications have started to lag, and the computer’s overall performance has been slowed down.
  • While using your Mac, you are now receiving an influx of unwarranted advertisements.
  • While browsing the internet on your Mac computer, you start being redirected to suspicious-looking websites, which also contain unwarranted adverts that have nothing to do with your browsing habits.
  • Your Mac computer automatically installs software and applications you did not ask for. These applications appear suspicious and are intended to install malware on the PC.
  • Websites that don’t usually contain advertisements are now bombarding the Mac computer with adverts for unrelated products.

What Should Users Do If Their Mac Is Infected With a Virus?

If your Mac computer starts displaying any of the tell-tale signs that we’ve mentioned above, the chances are that you’re dealing with a virus. Fortunately enough, there are plenty of ways through which Mac users can eradicate the virus on their computers, and most of these steps don’t even have to cost any money. Some tried and tested ways to rid a Mac PC of a virus include the following:

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Delete All Browser Extensions

When it comes to wiping your Mac computer clean of any unwanted virus, you’ll have to begin by starting at the source of the problem. For most Mac computers, the most prevalent source of these viruses is malicious browser extensions. Even if these extensions aren’t malicious in nature, they can be pretty pesky, which is why it’s suggested that you delete as many unnecessary ones as possible.

Here’s how you can rid your Mac computer of unwanted browser extensions: 

Safari Browser

To uninstall all unwanted browser extensions from the Safari browser, all you’ll need to do is launch the browser and go to the ‘Extensions’ tab. Once you’ve clicked on the extensions tab, you’ll need to look at the list of extensions and uninstall all extensions that look shady, or you don’t remember installing them.

Google Chrome Browser

After launching the Google chrome browser, you will have to click on the three-dot icon on the top right corner of the page. Select the ‘More Tools’ option from the drop-down menu and click on ‘Extensions.’ Go through the extensions and click on Remove for all the extensions you do not recognize.

Firefox Browser

Launch the Firefox browser, and click on the hamburger (three-line) icon at the top-right section of the page. Click on the ‘Extensions’ tab and remove any unwanted extensions from the appearing menu.

Delete All Suspicious Applications

One quality of Mac viruses that you need to remember is that they are very good at disguising their true identity. In the instance that a Mac user has inadvertently downloaded a virus disguised as an application, it is critical that you uninstall the app immediately.

To uninstall malicious applications from your Mac computer, you will need to go to the folder titled ‘Applications’ and drag the suspected application to the ‘Trash.’ Once you have sent the suspected app to the Trash, you’ll need to assess all other applications as well.

Go to the ‘Library’ folder on your Mac computer, search the ‘Application Support’ folder for any remnants of the corrupted application, and send them into the Trash. Additionally, carefully scrutinize all the applications installed on your Mac, and remove any shady-looking apps, as well as those you don’t remember installing.

Create a New User Profile

For the most part, Mac viruses are specifically designed to attach themselves to a particular user on the computer, which allows them to take control of a specific admin account. However, users can easily circumvent the virus by starting from scratch and creating a new user profile. Furthermore, since data can’t be exchanged from one user to another, you won’t have to worry about data loss.

To set up a new user profile, go to the ‘Users & Groups tab via the ‘System Preferences; option situated on the Apple menu. Once you’ve reached the ‘Users & Groups section, click on the lock icon and enter your administrator password. By clicking on the ‘+’ sign, you’ll be able to create a new user profile.

Once you’ve set up your new user profile, access the ‘Shared Folder’ and share important data to the new user profile that you have set up.

Conclusion

 Hopefully, at the end of the article, our readers have grasped the fundamentals of Mac viruses and have shed away the misplaced belief that Mac computers are free from malware and viruses. With that being said, in the instance that you find your Mac infected with a virus, the security tips mentioned above will surely get rid of the problem.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.