Are you getting strange pop-ups and having difficulty navigating your Mac’s internet browser? Are you furrowing your brow and saying “I think my Mac has a virus” frequently?
You may have heard that Macs are virus immune. In reality, there has been a 400% increase in Mac virus threats from 2018 to 2019.
Don’t worry, it’s not permanent damage. We’ll be discussing how to check if your Mac has a virus and what to do about it. With a little detective work, we’ll get your Mac squeaky clean again!
Read on to sleuth these viruses out.
How to Check if Your Mac Has a Virus
Viruses on Macs can manifest themselves in unusual ways. You may be wondering how to tell if Mac has a virus at all! The first step is noticing slower processing and strange things happening to your Mac after a download.
The appearance of your web browser and new browser restrictions will make you scratch your head. You may have applications or toolbars you didn’t install. Random advertisements may pop up on your screen.
The Trojan Horse method is the most common way for Macs to get these viruses. You download a “trustworthy” application, but this program is seeded with malware that activates upon download. The other common culprits are Adware, Spyware, and Ransomware.
If you’re noticing any of the above or other strange restrictions, you’ve successfully sleuthed out a potential virus. Now that you understand how to know if your Mac has a virus, let’s isolate and get rid of it.
1. Delete Strange Files and Downloads
Before you seek out antivirus software, there’s quite a lot you can do on your own. The first thing to do is find and throw out odd files in the trash.
Look through your entire application folder and ask yourself if you know what the app is or where it came from. Delete anything suspicious to you, especially recent apps you don’t remember downloading.
Unfortunately, this is often the first step to clean up your Mac. The virus often has infiltrated deeper folders that you’ll have to search for and destroy.
2. Search Your Library
Viruses love hiding. They’re the cockroaches of the tech world. Once they’ve infiltrated your system, it can be difficult to find their source.
Viruses can auto-update from your ~Library folder. That means that even if you delete their file, they can regenerate the malware. Open a Finder window and press COMMAND + SHIFT + G to search all your files. Type in /Library/LaunchDaemons and /Library/LaunchAgents to pinpoint areas of contamination.
Not all of these Launch Daemons and Agents are bad. In fact, they’re how many useful applications run. However, this is a viruses’ favorite hiding place.
3. Delete Other Admins
Another good option of how to know if your mac has a virus is if your computer has other admins in control that aren’t you. This is a common method a virus uses to stay hidden in plain sight. Admin controls give viruses a lot of jurisdiction and power on your digital landscape, and it’s time you took it back!
Select System Preferences by clicking the apple on the top left of your screen. From there, go to Users and Groups.
You will likely see an unidentified third-party user that has been added by the virus. Delete this third party and gain full control of your computer back. It helps to do steps 2 and 3 simultaneously to prevent the virus from reinstalling itself.
4. Delete Browser Add-ons and Extensions
Now that we’ve gotten rid of the brains of the operation (the Library and Admin control), your browser is ready for cleansing. A great feature of popular browsing systems is the ability to customize your experience with extensions.
Unfortunately, extensions are the perfect way for viruses to slip in undetected. You’ll have to do a clean sweep of all your browser downloadables.
In Chrome and Safari, they’re called extensions. In Firefox, they’re called Add-ons. Navigate to these pages to find what you’ve installed. If you don’t recognize the extensions, delete them just like you deleted unusual applications.
5. Recovery Mode
By now, the question of how to check if your Mac has a virus has been answered. You’ve tried everything, but the virus is still reinfecting your files. It’s time to use the final trick up your sleeve as a Mac user.
Sometimes the best way to get rid of an unrelenting virus is to reinstall Mac OS. This will restore your Mac to its previous form if the malware becomes too intense to cleanse from the system.
This is for emergencies. At this point, your Mac is hard to operate and almost unusable. The only way out is to start from scratch. Along with some file recovery software, you can outsmart the virus and delete its infiltration methods.
6. If All Else Fails, It’s Antivirus Time
You’ve shaken the dirt loose from your Mac, but the pesky virus is still lingering like a bad cold in January. It may be time for a paid service.
There are tons of free antivirus software as well as monthly subscription-based services. The most important thing to look for is trustworthiness and reputation in your software.
Instead of snooping around on your own in your files, a programmer has developed a full cleanse for your system. This eliminates human error when clearing out files. It ensures that nothing will be missed or overlooked.
Clean Your Mac Today!
Cleaning up your Mac is a frustrating yet rewarding process. When you’ve finally expelled the virus from your computer, you’ll feel like a tech wizard. Rest easy knowing that your Macbook is safe.
Stay updated on our tech news and other methods on how to check if your mac has a virus. Viruses are evolving day by day to trick you in new ways. Stay on top of internet safety with our blog!