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How Do You Know If Your Mac is Infected with a Virus?

Sadly Mac isn’t as safe as it once was however infections are far less common on Mac systems that that of Windows.

If your Mac is not as responsive as usual, such as running slow for no reason or you are seeing more ads than you usually do then it might be a sign that your PC is infected with a virus.

Mac viruses come in different forms.

Here are some recent examples that have generated headlines:

  • OSX/Dok Malware  –is one of the most dangerous Mac viruses seen which is spread by a ZIP file phishing email attachment. When opened, it replaces the “AppStore” Login Item with itself allowing it to run every time the system boots.
  • Meltdown and Spectre – left Mac computers vulnerable from the Meltdown and Spectre flaws found on Intel chips in early 2018. The bugs allowed hackers to steal data by using a rogue data cache load.
  • OSX/MaMi – also arrived in 2018 and allowed hackers to install a new root certificate and hijack the DNS servers which gave them a way to perform “man-in-the-middle” attacks.
  • OSX/Pirrit – was discovered in 2016 and was hidden in pirated versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. It could access root privileges and automatically install more software.

All these infections have one thing in common, they infect Macs through processes outside the App Store. In some case’s pirated software is to blame however in others, it’s software from sources that shouldn’t have been trusted in the first place.  In simple terms, if you have never installed any software from outside the Mac App Store then you don’t have anything to worry about. Yes there are some browser-related exploits from time to time and Java continues to be a concern but if the macOS and browsers are kept up-to-date, then such infections are highly unlikely.

Is your Mac infected?

Let’s look at the signs:

  1. Unexpected Ads and Pop-Ups:If you’re seeing ads in places that they previously didn’t show then there is a good chance that you’ve installed something you shouldn’t have. This is particularly true if you get pop-up adverts especially when you’re not browsing the internet.
  2. Your Mac Is Slow for No Reason: if your Mac is constantly slow even when you don’t have any programs open, there’s a strong possibility that your Mac is infected.

Think your Mac might be infected?

Here are some free programs that can be used to scan your Mac and identify any potential infections:

  • BitDefender Virus Scanner is a free app that will identify infections. Although this app won’t remove the infections for you, It will point out where to delete them from using the Finder.
  • ESET for Mac – has been one of the leading anti-malware names in the world for many years now. Its Mac app can scan your entire system in less than 30 seconds and remove adware and any potentially unwanted programs.
  • ClamXAVis Mac’s version of ClamAV and is a popular open source malware detection tool.

If none of the above tools display any detections then it’s extremely unlikely that your Mac is infected.

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