Download Malwarebytes for your computer or mobile device. Whether you need cybersecurity for your home or your business, there's a version of Malwarebytes for you. Try our free virus scan and malware removal tool, then learn how Malwarebytes Premium can protect you from ransomwar. Overview Generally, the removal program that comes with Sophos should be used to uninstall it. For instructions, take a look at Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac: How to uninstall. Having tried the regular uninstaller or if you deleted built-in removal program, this article provides a standalone tool to remove the installed Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac. Protect your Mac from malware. MacOS has many features that help protect your Mac and your personal information from malicious software, or malware. One common way malware is distributed is by embedding it in a harmless-looking app. You can reduce this risk. Sophos Home for Mac Antivirus - Free Download. Includes a 30 day trial of Sophos Home for Mac Premium, with advanced ransomware scanning in real time. Download Free Mac Antivirus Scanner & Malware Removal. Remove malware from Mac manually: The Activity Monitor. If you know which app on your Mac is.
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- How To Check For Virus On Mac
Although 2020 will surely go down as “virus year,” viruses on Mac are not going anywhere. Just recently, a fake Adobe Flash Player updater named Shlayer has infected 10% of all Macs in the world (according to Kaspersky’s lab).
Even newer malware type, Tarmac, is increasingly sweeping the Mac world. All it takes to contract it is to open a pirated website or even click a link on Wikipedia. At least that’s been the case with Shlayer, which had its malicious links planted inside Wikipedia’s external resources.
In this Mac Malware removal guide, we’ll tell you how to get rid of malware on your Mac. We’ll also cover how to tell apart different viruses on Mac: adware, scareware, and others. We’ll be using the manual methods as well as some respected antivirus tools for Mac. Let’s go.
What is malware
First off, let’s point out that the term “malware” is a broad term for all unwanted intrusions. It’s also not synonymous with the term “virus” because the latter is only a model of distribution i.e. how an app self-replicates. Here are common types of malware you can encounter on Mac:
- Download managers — download unauthorized objects
- Spyware and keyloggers — steal users’ personal data
- Backdoor infections — apps that remotely seize control of your computer
- Rootkit — infiltrate admin privileges
- Botnet — turn your Mac into a shadow bot
- Trojan horses — apps disguised as legit software
- Ransomware — lock your Mac’s screen
- PUP — potentially unwanted programs
Among these, PUPs are the most numerous type. According to Malwarebytes, Windows platform is no longer a hotbed for viruses — the macOS is. The has been a 400% spike in macOS-specific malware infections with an average of 11 threats per number of Mac devices — the same figure for Windows is only 5.8.
Mac malware: The symptoms
Oftentimes a malware app would trick you into believing it’s perfectly harmless. Such apps are known to disguise themselves as antiviruses, extractors or video players. But how to check your Mac for viruses? Here are some of the tell-tale signs:
- A sudden drop in Mac’s performance or frequent freeze-ups.
- Pages that you visit get obscured with ads.
- Unexpected Mac reboots or apps starting for no reason.
- Your browser installs suspicious updates automatically.
How Mac can get infected with malware
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By clicking on fake Flash Player updater. Or by installing a seemingly useful browser extension. As of 2020, a trojan browser extension NewTab infected 30 million Mac computers. This malware disguised itself as a parcel tracking helper but was in fact spreading ads. So how to protect your Mac from malware? You can start by studying typical infection gateways.
How to remove a virus from Mac
Just as with any disease, to doctor a virus you need to remove the infected part of your software — as simple as that.
1.Remove malware from Mac manually:
The Activity Monitor
If you know which app on your Mac is malicious, you’re half-way through the problem. First of all, you need to close the app and then root it out from the system processes.
- Open Activity Monitor (type its name in the Launchpad).
- Locate the problematic app in the Processes.
- Use [x] button to quit the process
Now go back to your Applications and move the app to the Trash bin. Immediately empty the Trash.
This method is simple, but for the best malware removal results, you’d have to invest a bit more time. There are still parts and pieces of the virus app scattered around your system folders. It’s a bit like killing a dragon that re-grows its head after you’ve chopped it off. To remove malware from your Mac completely, it’s better to use a powerful uninstaller.
Do a quick search for virus-infected .DMG files within your Downloads. The potential culprits could be recently downloaded files, especially media-related ones. Delete them and empty the Trash bin.
2. Get rid of malware using CleanMyMac X
CleanMyMac X has a 10-year reputation of guarding Macs around the world. The app will scan your Mac for any vulnerabilities and offer immediate removal if it finds something suspicious. CleanMyMac detects thousands of malware threats, including viruses, adware, spyware, ransomware, cryptocurrency miners, and more. The app’s database is regularly updated to keep all those “-wares” away from your Mac.
Here’s how to remove malware from your Mac:
- Download CleanMyMac X — it’s free to download.
- Click Malware Removal tab.
- Click Scan.
- Click Remove.
3. Remove Mac malware from your Login Items
Most adware or spyware will try to sneak inside the bootup process. Good news, you don’t have to be Kaspersky to prevent this.
- Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences.
- Choose Users & Groups section.
- Make sure if your username is highlighted.
- Open Login Items tab.
Now use the “—” sign to disable all the suspicious apps (like Mac Defenders) that you’ll find. Restart your Mac for the changes to take place.
4. Get rid of pop-up ads on Mac
Advertising pop-ups are browser-related, so whatever browser you are using, be prepared for a thorough cleanup. First off, don’t buy into whatever the ad is telling you. Some scary alerts would mention 343 viruses found on your Mac forcing you to immediately install a “Mac Defender” or “Mac Security” tool. Just ignore it and don’t click anywhere on the pop-up. Use [x] button and if it doesn’t close the ad, Ctrl + click the browser icon to quit the browser completely.
Hold the Shift key when starting a new Safari session. This way all your previous tabs (including the ad pop-up) will not be reopened.
How to block pop-up ads in Safari
- Open Safari preferences (in the top menu).
- Go to the Security tab.
- Tick “Block pop-up windows”.
How to get rid of pop-ups in Chrome
- Open Chrome Settings (a three-dot icon)
- Click Privacy and security
- Go to Site settings > Pop-ups and redirects
- Locate the Popups tab and block them from appearing
Additionally, make sure your browser’s homepage is set to standard Google page or other trusted source.
5. Clean up extensions to remove adware from Mac
Apple lists several browser extensions as potentially malicious. The list includes:
- Amazon Shopping Assistant by Spigot Inc.
- Slick Savings by Spigot Inc.
This is just to give you an idea of how different these adware extensions could be. But if you’re looking at how to remove malware from the Mac Safari browser, follow this path.
Remove extensions in Safari
- Go to Safari Preferences
- Choose the Extensions tab
- Select an extension and click Uninstall
Disable browser extensions in Chrome
And here’s how to remove malware from Mac Chrome. Open Chrome and click Window in the top menu. In the bottom of the list choose Extensions. This opens up the list of all your installed extensions. Now use a trash bin icon to remove the ones you suspect are adware viruses. Right after that, your Chrome experience should get much less distracting.
Just to be doubly sure, we recommend you to remove all the extensions you'll find. Later you can re-install each one separately.
- Go to Safari Preferences > Security.
- Uncheck Enable JavaSript.
6. Launch Agents and Daemons: Where else to look
So far we’ve covered browser Extensions, Applications, and Login Items trying to remove malware from your Mac. But these are not the only locations where malicious agents may be hiding. Another type of system services that could be affected by malware are the so-called Launch Agents and Daemons — yes, the name does derive from the word demon. These are small helper programs that stealthily run in the background, like software updaters or automatic backups.
While Launch Agents and Daemons are two different entities, both can be infiltrated by malware. As it often happens, trojan apps would place their executable files within the Launch Agents folder. The result — the virus app launches automatically and potentially harms or steals your data.
7.How to remove daemons and agents from Mac startup
- Click Finder.
- Choose Go > Go to Folder.
- Type in:
For Launch Agents, repeat the steps above, but this time search in 2 more locations:
Inside you’ll find a bunch of PLIST files and if some of them look suspicious to you, delete them. Sure, the names of these files may not be very telling, but if you already know the problematic app that you are after, knowing this folder may help you fully extinguish it.
Don’t forget to reboot your Mac — until you do, all these files are still in memory.
One more way to remove daemons, agents, and plug-ins
If the manual path described here sounds too complicated, you can again be rescued by CleanMyMac X. This app has a special tool to remove malware Launch Agents.
- Download CleanMyMac X (it’s free to download).
- Install the app.
- Click Optimization tab > Launch Agents
- Click Perform.
By the way, this app has a real-time anti-malware monitor. It monitors for any problematic apps that try to get into your Launch Agents. If it finds such, it will notify you and offer to remove the intruder.
If all else fails
Below a few more ideas to help you remove malware from Mac.
- Switch to a different user account and do a full system cleanup.
- Restore your Mac using Time Machine (to the point before it got infected).
- Update all your software, including the macOS.
How to protect Mac from malware
As a conclusion, we’ve prepared a few basic tips to minimize your chance of catching malware in 2020 and beyond. They are just as relatable for a PC computer.
- Closely read those dialogue boxes
- Get a reliable password manager app
- Browse anonymously
- Cover your webcam when possible
- Use passphrases instead of passwords
- Create an “emergency” bootable SD card for your Mac
OK, looks we’ve covered how to remove malware from Mac including both manual and software solutions. Hope your Mac stays virus-free and may you never click on those scary Mac alerts again.
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You may have heard it's said that Macs don’t get viruses. That there’s no Apple virus. You may even have said it yourself. Sadly, it’s not true. The latest State of Malware Report by Malwarebytes describes a significant rise of Mac threats of over 400% in 2019. The report claims that cybercriminals now target Macs severely, due to increasing market share. So, do you still believe that Macs don’t get viruses? Continue reading to discover how to remove a virus from your Mac and protect your files from getting infected.
Can Macs get viruses?
Macs have been considered safer than Windows PC for a long time. Macs are indeed secure, thanks to various built-in features, such as GateKeeper, that doesn't allow installing anything not approved by Apple. But, as the Apple security features have improved, so is malware. According to the State of Malware report mentioned before, Macs are mostly attacked by adware and potentially unwanted programs (PUP), which macOS has no counteraction against. So, answering the question, yes, Macs do get viruses, and they may impact your sensitive file and data seriously.
How do I know if my Mac has a virus?
Before you remove a virus from a Mac, you need to be sure it actually has one. We’ve covered that in more detail in this article but here are a few pointers.
- Your Mac starts behaving erratically and doing things you don’t expect;
- Your Mac starts running very slowly as if something is hogging the processor;
- You start seeing adverts on your desktop;
- You find software or applications you didn’t install.
- An app asks for your administrator password
These symptoms may mean your Mac has a virus, although there could be other explanations.
How to remove a virus from a Mac manually
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to do it. And Mac virus removal doesn’t have to cost money.
1. Delete browser extensions
One of the most common types of malware comes in the form of browser extensions. Even extensions that aren’t particularly malicious can be annoying, and if you didn’t deliberately install them, they’re malware. Here’s how to get rid of unwanted browser extensions.
- Launch Safari.
- Click Safari in the top menu, then choose Safari Extensions.
- Look down the list and click on any extensions that look suspicious. Read the description of the extension. If you don’t remember installing it, click Uninstall.
- Repeat until you’ve removed all the extensions you don’t want.
- Launch Chrome.
- Click on the 3-dot icon in the upper right corner.
- Select More Tools and choose Extensions from the menu that appears.
- Look over the extensions in the browser window and click Remove on any that you don’t recognize.
- Launch Firefox.
- Click the 3-line (hamburger) icon at the top right corner.
- Choose Add-ons.
- Click the Extensions tab and remove any you don’t recognize.
2. Uninstall apps
Malware comes in lots of different forms. And it even comes disguised as security software to help you get rid of viruses! Devious, huh?
If you’ve inadvertently downloaded an app that turns out to be a virus, you need to uninstall it immediately. There are a couple of ways to do this. Here’s the hard way.
- Go to your Applications folder and drag the app to the Trash.
- Go to
~/Library folder and look in the Application Support folder for any files related to the app and drag those to the Trash.
- Look in the other folders in ~
/Library, especially Launch Agents and Launch Daemons and remove any files related to the app from there. But be careful, if you remove files used by legitimate apps you could cause lots of problems.
- Repeat Step 3 for your Mac’s main Library folder.
The easy way: Uninstall apps in a few clicks
- Download and launch CleanMyMac X.
- Click Uninstaller.
- Check the box next to the application name.
- Click Uninstall.
If you don’t know the name of the application, it’s more difficult. But if you use CleanMyMac X, all you have to do is scroll through the list of applications and look for any you don’t recognize or don’t need and remove them. CleanMyMac X removes every trace of an app, including files that you may overlook when you remove applications manually. This is particularly important for viruses, so it’s much better to use CleanMyMac X.
What makes this method even better, is that CleanMyMac X also shows you app leftovers that remained after the main app is gone.
3. Escape the virus: Create a new user profile
How To Check For Virus On Mac
Usually, viruses are attached to a particular user profile on your computer. In this way, they are able to seize control of your admin profile. But you can start if from scratch and create a new user on your Mac. Don't worry, you will be able to transfer all your important data from one user to another.
Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, click Users & Groups.
- Click the lock icon , then type in your admin password.
- Use the plus sign to add a new user profile.
To move your important information from one user to another, you will need to access the Shared folder.
- Click on the Finder > Go to Folder...
- Paste in this:
Can you see the Shared folder? Here you can copy the needed files from your old user account. Hurray, you've started a clean, virus-free life!
Bonus tip: Clean up your login items
Login items are apps that launch automatically upon startup. Malware programs would often sneak into your login items without you knowing. How to prevent them from launching?
- Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences.
- Click Users & Groups.
- Click on the Login Items tab
From here you can manage them using the [+] and [—] buttons.
How to remove a virus from Mac automatically
While the above steps work very well in lots of cases, sometimes the Mac virus removal means using a dedicated application to scan and remove malware from your Mac.
Scan your Mac for viruses
There are lots of these applications available, and many of them are either free or allow you to at the very least scan your Mac for free to find out whether you need to take action. Be careful, however. It’s important to choose a tool from a reputable vendor. If you just google ‘Mac antivirus tool’ some of the results may well be for tools that are themselves malicious and instead of removing viruses from your Mac will infect it. We recommend using CleanMyMac X.
It can identify thousands of malware threats, including adware, spyware, ransomware, worms, cryptocurrency miners. And if CleanMyMac finds something suspicious, it will offer immediate removal. Besides, it ensures real-time Mac virus protection, informing you when you’re about to install something harmful. Here’s how to perform a full system scan:
- Download CleanMyMac X (free download) and launch the app.
- Click on the Malware Removal tab.
- Click Scan.
- Click Remove.
Disable the invisible agents
Some small supporting applications never show up in the Login items. They are called the Launch agents and may as well be hacked by viruses. You can find them with the universal Mac cleaner, CleanMyMac. This app is notarized by Apple, so you are safe using it.
- Launch the app and go to the Optimization tab.
- Click Launch agents
How many apps do you see there? Remove any flash players, automatic updaters, or everything else that you find suspicious. Even if you deleted the main app itself, its launch agents may still occupy your drive. Here is what I have:
How to get rid of a virus on a MacBook Pro (or any other Mac) if all else fails
If you’ve run through all the steps above and are still having problems trying to remove a virus from a Mac, the next step is to restore from a Time Machine backup. The benefit of restoring from Time Machine is that you can do it quickly and easily by booting into the recovery partition and you can choose to backup to a state just before your Mac started behaving erratically.
The downside of this option is that any work you’ve done since the backup you restore from will be lost. You could manually copy files from your Mac to another drive or cloud storage service before you restore and then copy them back afterward. However, if one of those files is infected, you risk contaminating your Mac all over again. If there are documents you really need and that aren’t backed up elsewhere, use one of the antivirus tools above to run a scan on them before you copy them to another disk. That way you’ll know they’re safe.
Here’s how to restore from a Time Machine backup
- Make sure you’re connected to your Time Machine backup drive.
- Restart your Mac, holding down the Command and R keys until you see the Apple logo. When the macOS Utilities screen appears, choose Restore from a Time Machine Backup. Click Continue.
- Choose the last backup before your Mac started misbehaving or you suspect you were infected with a virus.
Your Mac will now return to the state it was in when you made that backup.
If you don’t have a Time Machine backup to restore from, the last resort is to reinstall macOS. This is a ground-zero approach. You’ll need to wipe your startup drive completely clean and start again. That means reinstalling all your applications and copying all your data back to your Mac afterward. If you have a recent backup of your data, from before your Mac became infected, you can use that to copy data from after you re-install. If not, you’ll need to back up important files now — but scan them with an antivirus tool first to make sure they’re not infected.
To perform a clean install of macOS, you’ll need a bootable installer disk. Creating one is beyond the scope of this article, but there is a comprehensive guide here.
Once you’ve made your bootable installer, plug it into your Mac, go to System Preferences, choose Startup Disk and select the disk you just plugged in. Restart your Mac, holding down Command-R and do the following:
- When the macOS Utilities screen appears, select Reinstall a new copy of macOS. Click Continue and then Continue again when the next window appears.
- Agree to the terms and conditions and select your Mac’s internal disk.
- Click Install. Wait for your Mac to restart.
- Your Mac will start up as if it’s a new Mac and you’ll need to go through the process of setting it up from scratch.
- Once you’ve set it up, copy back the files you need from the backup and that you know aren’t infected.
As you can see, there are many different ways to remove a virus from a Mac, depending on how badly infected it is and what kind of virus it is. The main thing to remember is if you suspect your Mac is infected, don’t worry. It can be fixed! Move on to our little Q&A section to find answers to questions many users ask.
Do you need an antivirus for Mac?
Most of the antiviruses protect your Mac in real-time, making it apparent for you when an intruder appears. So, with antivirus software, you can be sure no PUP or adware can infect your computer. Antivirus is not a must-have software, but it indeed adds up a layer of protection if you use it.
Can you get a virus from opening an email?
Email viruses do exist, but you can’t catch one just by opening an email. What you need to be cautious with are email attachments. If you don’t know who that email comes from, avoid opening the attachment. It can contain PUP and other things you don’t need on your computer.
How to do a virus scan on Mac?
To do a quick virus scan, inspect your Mac for the software you didn’t intentionally install. Some apps can come in bundles hiding malicious programs that end up appearing on your Mac. For a more thorough virus scan, get CleanMyMac X. All you need to do, is to install the app, go to Malware Removal, and hit the Scan button.
How to remove fake “Update Adobe Flash Player” pop-ups on Mac?
Try to find and delete the last app you installed before you started seeing such fake alerts. Also, remove browser extensions from the web-browser where you see such pop-up ads. Some malicious extensions can be responsible for this. If nothing helps, scan your Mac for viruses using the antivirus of your choice.
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