Test Mac For Viruses

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how to get rid of malware on macComputer viruses hold a sweet spot between boring, everyday occurrences, dating back to the 70s, and dramatic, science fiction fueled monsters that will haunt us in our new information-driven world.

One may ask, “Do you need antivirus to protect your Mac?” The reality is, all computers, even Macs, are vulnerable to malware (short for malicious software). While Apple takes a lot of security precautions, how secure your Mac is depends on your knowledge of how to check for viruses and how to remove them.

Whether you want to know how to remove virus from MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iMac, learning to keep your information safe first is necessary and easy, with a few tips from the professionals.

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  2. The free version of Sophos Home gives you virus protection for three Windows PCs - using the company's high-scoring anti-malware tool - plus a 30-day trial of the company's malware-removal tool.

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How to scan your Mac for a virus

The Best Mac Antivirus Protection for 2020 Despite what you may have heard, your Apple computer is not immune to malware. We test the top contenders to identify those offering the best Mac. That is why a good Mac virus scan performed on a consistent basis is essential for your Mac. It should be added that typically, apart from finding Mac malware and viruses with ease, such apps help you keep your Apple computer at the most powerful state.

Why checking your Mac for viruses is important? If a computer virus was the only thing to watch out for, this world would be a simpler place. Malware, adware, spyware, malicious files, worms, trojans, phishing software, you name it, you should check for it. The old way of thinking was that because there are more PCs than Macs in the world, the “virus people” would focus on them instead of Macs. But, we’re not in the 2000s anymore. In fact, in 2018, Apple moved to the fourth position in global laptop shipments. This means, Macs are no longer shiny white boxes that are meant for fun and entertainment.

Not only do we run our businesses off Apple devices and different versions of macOS but we also store family photographs, send out sensitive info — and, thanks to cloud computing, each device is synchronized. Unfortunately, this means your Mac could be a far juicier target than the PC sitting in some corner cubicle.

Know what a Mac virus is

Most of us are familiar with recognizing what a virus looks like thanks to its atrocious design and alarming vocabulary. However, not all viruses take the shock-and-scare approach to getting on your Mac. The latest adware could look like an Adobe Flash Player installer, but is, of course, fake. Not only does it trick you into thinking it's something as normal as Flash, but the installed adware then pretends to be a virus scanner. It shows you bogus problems and encourages you to fix them by giving over sensitive information.

Other forms of viruses could look like Microsoft Office files (e.g. Excel sheets, Word documents), Adobe Photoshop add-ons, as well as music and movie files that you get from BitTorrent or other file sharing programs. But the most common file format that a virus takes is a .dmg file, because it was created by Apple itself to help install good software on your computer. Your task in securing your Mac is to look out for .dmg files showing up when you’re trying to install something. If you’re ever trying to download something you know is supposed to be an image, music, movie, or document, but you get a .dmg file instead — that is as red as a red flag gets in terms of viruses. Do yourself a favor and delete that file immediately.

Keep Mac virus sources in mind

When it comes to having your Mac infected by a virus, we probably expect the attack to come from a stranger. Truth be told, a lot of viruses come from our friends, family, and colleagues, who unfortunately became the primary victim and are now unintentionally passing their viruses to you.

A popular malware virus of 2017 was embedded into a Word document — a Mac Word file, not a PC one. In 2018, Apple discovered flaws in their Intel processor chips that could lead to two kinds of very ambitious strains of Mac viruses too. It’s wild to think that even iPads and iPhones can contract malware.

How to check for malware

In an ideal world, scanning for viruses and the other methods for malware removal should be automatic and happen nearly continuously. In reality, you can consider yourself reasonably safe if you scan your Mac close to once a week. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to make sure you are as protected as possible.

A good start to scan your Mac for viruses is to see whether you have applications installed that you don’t recognize:

  1. Go to the Applications folder via Go > Applications in Finder or using the shortcut Shift + Command + A.
  2. Scroll through the list and delete any unknown applications.
  3. Then empty the trash.

The second step you should do is check for browser hijackers and adware extensions:

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences. See what the Homepage URL is currently set to and correct if needed.
  2. Then proceed to the Extensions tab and uninstall any you don’t recognize, as they could spy on you, save your private data, and redirect you to their malicious websites.

How to run a Mac virus scanner and stop viruses from stealing your information

It’s a common misconception that viruses only happen to people who are gullible, ignorant, or technologically illiterate. The stigma is that hackers prey on people, when in reality, they prey on behavior.

Our basic assumption with Macs is that we expect Apple and our applications to have done all the security work for us. In truth, every user has to adjust their own behavior when using their Mac.

Do you use public WiFi? Consider getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt the connection between your laptop and the external network. Shimo is a great VPN manager app that will help you here. While using it, raw information (whether sensitive or not) can’t be fed to any malicious programs lurking on your Mac, and hackers on the same network won’t be able to decode anything you’re working on.

Speaking of encryption, Macs using OS X Lion or later come with the option to encrypt their hard drives using FileVault 2. Although encryption won’t prevent viruses from entering your computer (for that, you’ll need a scanner), it would still be very helpful in stopping viruses from stealing your information. To turn on FileVault:

  1. Go to System Preferences
  2. Select Security & Privacy
  3. Navigate to the FileVault tab
  4. Choose Turn On FileVault

Keep your Mac secure and virus-free

Trademark signs of something being wrong with your Mac: slow processing memory, a bloated disk space, intense CPU usage, and network speed lag. Unfortunately, viruses don’t live in an easy-to-find location like your computer’s desktop. They can be embedded within an application, most notably, your favorite web browser, where it’s easier for them to view what you’re viewing and track what you’re typing. If you kept on seeing weird websites taking over your search bar, it's a sign that your browser has been hijacked. Other applications can get corrupted or infected too, especially if they have particularly weak security systems. Another example could be an email app you use or an open-source application that is behind on their patch upgrades. Check out how to get rid of malware on mac.

If you think one of your applications is infected, a typical knee-jerk reaction would be to delete the whole thing and redownload it. Often, this will do the trick, but there are simpler solutions available. Clearing the application's cache should always be your first step, and, if there are optional hidden files, consider removing them as well.

Scan your Mac for viruses with CMM X

Run an instant malware scan to identify and remove suspicious files from your Mac. There’s no tool that can do it better than CleanMyMac X.

Test Mac For Viruses

To remove any application’s cache and get rid of Mac malware from the Library folder:

  1. Use the shortcut Shift + Command + G to Go to Folder
  2. Type ~/Library/Caches and choose Go
  3. Delete any particular files inside the folder

If you are unsure about deleting cache files manually, use an app like CleanMyMac X:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac
  2. Go to System Junk and click Scan
  3. When the scan is complete, choose Review Details
  4. Select User Cache Files and pick the caches you’d like to delete
  5. Click Clean

In addition, CleanMyMac now features a Malware Removal function, using which should become your weekly habit.

  1. In CleanMyMac, choose the Malware Removal tab
  2. Click Scan
  3. Follow the instructions given. Hopefully it should say your Mac is clean most of the time.

Unfortunately, not all viruses are easy-to-understand files that just sit on your computer. Sometimes they are root certificates that intercept your passwords and messages, and send a copy to hackers. To effectively secure yourself from this, only download apps with valid developer certificates. Which ones are those? It’s hard to know but Apple built a feature that could help you here.

  1. Go to System Preferences
  2. Select Security & Privacy
  3. In the Allow apps downloaded from: select App Store and identified developers

You are well on your way to being protected from malware now. But, the truth is, simply avoiding viruses is not enough. You need to be proactive — it’s time to get a virus scanner.

Check viruses like a pro

If you want complete Mac security, there is no better tool than CleanMyMac X, which can effortlessly scan for all the latest viruses, malware, spyware, and more. Just launch the app on the regular basis and click the Smart Scan option to inspect your Mac for any suspicious activity, besides other suggested features for optimization and cleaning out old files.

Remove viruses from Mac completely

Using a tool like CleanMyMac makes getting rid of viruses, of all shapes and formats, very easy. After the scan, it tells you what it’s found and gives you the option to remove it completely right then and there. Additionally, it will give you all kinds of other great options on how to optimize your Mac’s performance.

As mentioned above, hackers who want to steal your information don’t target you specifically, they target your behavior. So, with this in mind, change your behavior when it comes to using your Mac in potentially unsafe ways. Recognize that viruses come and go, all the time, and across many different file formats. If you get a virus, you’re not ruined.

Arm your computer with encryption tools (like FileVault and a VPN), so that your information can’t be stolen. Practice a healthy dose of skepticism when downloading files. But, most importantly, get professional apps that bring you the most results, like CleanMyMac or Shimo — all of which are available on Setapp for your to try free. So get a scan now and see what it says.

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The laboratory experts at AV-TEST examined 12 MacOS solutions for home users and business users in terms of their protection, performance and usability. Many of the packages demonstrated their quality and reliability.

Protection for MacOS

12 packages for home and business users put to the test.

The Mac world is more and more in the focus of malware authors. In June 2018, newly-recorded malware for MacOS has already been tallied at 37,000 samples – and thus approaching the entire 2017 level of 43,000 samples. While this represents fewer cases than in the Windows world, the number is in fact 100 times higher than Mac experts predicted even a few years ago.

8 products for home users, 4 solutions for business users

Among the 12 tested security solutions for Mac OS High Sierra are 8 for consumers and 4 for corporate users.

Solutions for home users:

  • Avast Security
  • Avira Antivirus Pro
  • Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac
  • F-Secure Safe
  • Intego VirusBarrier
  • Kaspersky Internet Security
  • Symantec Norton Security
  • Trend Micro Antivirus

Solutions for business users:

  • Bitdefender Endpoint Security for Mac
  • McAfee Endpoint Security for Mac
  • SentinelOne Next Generation Endpoint Security
  • Sophos Central Endpoint

Home and business users have a wide variety of excellent and certified protection software to choose from

' tabindex='0'>Protection for MacOS

Home and business users have a wide variety of excellent and certified protection software to choose from

8 out of 12 protection solutions examined detected all malware samples without exception

' tabindex='0'>Protection for MacOS – the detection rates

8 out of 12 protection solutions examined detected all malware samples without exception

Flashback was so successful, new variants of it are constantly cropping up

' tabindex='0'>TOP 5 malware for MacOS

Flashback was so successful, new variants of it are constantly cropping up

By the end of 2018, the number of new malware will more than double compared to 2017

' tabindex='0'>MacOS malware development

By the end of 2018, the number of new malware will more than double compared to 2017


Protection for MacOS – the detection rates


MacOS malware development

How to clean your mac of viruses

All security packages were examined on identical iMacs running MacOS High Sierra 10.13.3. The products were evaluated in terms of their protection, performance and usability. In each category, the laboratory awards a maximum of 6 points. Thus, the top score is 18 points. The products for consumer users from Bitdefender, Intego, Symantec and Trend Micro achieved this score. In the category of corporate solutions, the products from Bitdefender, McAfee and SentinelOne attained the best result.

Top detection for most solutions

Test Mac For Virus

In the test, each solution was required to detect, block or delete more than 500 of the very latest attackers. In the case of the products for home users, 6 out of 8 packages tested detected 100 percent of the malware samples. Only Avira and F-Secure had minor detection problems.

With respect to solutions for business users, Bitdefender and Sophos managed to achieve the 100 percent mark. The endpoint packages McAfee and SentinelOne followed close behind with 99.8 and 99 percent detection.

In everyday scenarios, many protection packages run in mixed networks and exchange data with Windows. That is why the laboratory tested the detection of Windows malware samples in a non-rated supplemental test. Among the consumer packages from Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab and Trend Micro, the rate was nearly 100 percent. Regarding corporate solutions, the packages from Bitdefender, McAfee and Sophos reached similar high results.

In a second non-rated supplemental test, it was determined how well the solutions detected so-called 'potentially unwanted applications' – or PUA for short. While these programs do not cause any damage, they do exhibit peculiar behavior. This includes tools with lots of advertising, ambiguous messages or even strange privacy statements. Some manufacturers see no direct threat in PUA, which is why they also do not classify them as dangerous. Among the packages for home users, Avast, Avira, Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab, Symantec and Trend Micro detected over 2,500 PUA 95 to 99 percent.

Concerning solutions for corporate users, Bitdefender, McAfee and Sophos unmasked PUA at 90 to 99 percent.

Going easy on client PCs

A security solution constantly has to work in the background, monitoring processes and scanning files. Most solutions perform their work without slowing down MacOS – but not all. In the test category of performance, the lab examined how heavily each individual package affects the speed of the system. For the measurements on a reference system, numerous applications were launched and operations performed. In addition, files were copied locally and into the network. All the times required for the routines were written down and served as parameters for comparison. Afterwards, all the respective steps were repeated with active security solutions.

For consumers, the security packages from Bitdefender, Intego, Symantec and Trend Micro put their best foot forward and received a maximum 6 points as a result. Kaspersky Lab still managed to achieve an excellent 5.5 points. Avira and F-Secure slightly slowed down the system and only achieved 5 points. Avast slowed down MacOS too heavily: only 4 points.

For corporate products, the solutions from Bitdefender, McAfee and SentinelOne demonstrated that their effects on system performance are hardly measurable: 6 points. Only the package from Sophos caused a dip in performance in the client, which led to a reduction to 5 points.

Protected the Mac in the test in all categories without errors – this earned the maximum 18 points

Types Of Tests For Viruses

' tabindex='0'>Bitdefender Antivirus

Protected the Mac in the test in all categories without errors – this earned the maximum 18 points

The package for home users worked without a glitch – 18 points

' tabindex='0'>Intego VirusBarrier

The package for home users worked without a glitch – 18 points

The client-server solution excelled in the test with the highest achievable point score

' tabindex='0'>McAfee Endpoint Security

The client-server solution excelled in the test with the highest achievable point score

In the test, the business solution reached a top score with 18 points

' tabindex='0'>SentinelOne Next Generation Endpoint Security

In the test, the business solution reached a top score with 18 points

How To Clean Your Mac Of Viruses


Blood Tests For Viruses

Intego VirusBarrier


SentinelOne Next Generation Endpoint Security

High degree of reliability, no false alarms

If protection packages overreact, a normal application program can be quickly labelled as a threat. False alarms like these are unsettling to consumers and possibly lead to downtime costs in companies. That is why the lab examined the following: dozens of applications were installed under each installed security solution. In addition, over 4,000 benign programs had to be scanned in the false positive test.

Hats off to the results: All security programs – for home and business users – performed their routines without one single false alarm. Thus, the lab consistently awarded the maximum 6 points.

Well-armed in case of emergencies

Test For All Viruses

More and more Mac users are opting to stay on the safe side and using security software for MacOS. The current statistics on malware growth also recommend this.

Current Mac Viruses

Consumers have a wide selection of excellent security software. A total of 4 programs reached the maximum point score of 18. They are from Bitdefender, Intego, Symantec and Trend Micro. Following close behind is the package from Kaspersky Lab, which also comes recommended with 17.5 points.

Test Mac For Viruses

Yet also among the endpoint solutions for companies, 3 products, from Bitdefender, McAfee and SentinelOne, earned the maximum point score. Sophos affected performance slightly in the test on the client PC and had a point taken off as a result. Nonetheless, it still earned an excellent 17 points.