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How to remove malware from a Mac

May 22, 2020 · 3 min read

How to remove malware from a Mac

Mac users have boasted that their computers are impervious to malware. But give someone enough time and energy and they’ll find a way to hack something. Malware on a Mac is not nearly as common as it is on a Windows desktop, but it can still be a problem you need to know how to deal with.

Check your Mac for updates and make sure it is running the latest software. If your Mac is running slower than usual, it could just need an update or a restart before you go exterminating. Other than a slowdown in processes, here are other signs you may have malware:

  • Suspicious icons appearing on your desktop;
  • Random crashes;
  • Annoying pop-ups;
  • Slow internet connection.

Consult this guide and try to figure out if a malware infection is the culprit.

How do I delete malware from my Mac?

If you have antivirus, get in the habit of scrubbing your Mac regularly. For those without antivirus, there are other ways you can take care of a malware infection. Malware on a Mac is quite straightforward to purge – it’s looking at the programs that are currently running and figuring out which ones don’t belong. For these next steps to work, you’re going to need to have administrator privileges.

So how to remove malware from your mac? First, we need to cleanse your downloads. You may have accidentally taken on an unwanted digital stowaway. A lot of malware likes to piggyback off a seemingly innocuous download.

    1. Open up Finder. Click on the Downloads option along the left of the window.
    2. Open all your recent installation files and look for any suspicious files that look like they don’t relate to whichever program you originally downloaded. Send them all to the Trash.
    3. Click on Applications above Downloads. Scroll down and open the Utilities folder.
    4. Click on Activity Monitor – it will be the first app in the folder.
    5. What you’ll see next is a list of everything your Mac is currently engaged with. Look for anything that you have no knowledge of activating. Double click on the app or program and click on Quit. Take note of the name of the item whose processes you just stopped.
    6. Go back to your Applications and find those troublesome malware files. Use Command + f to find those file names instantly. Move them all to the Trash.
    7. Empty the Trash!

How do I remove malware from my browser?

Some malware can lodge itself into your browser’s extensions. Fortunately, this can be easy to fix – without removing the browser if you don’t have to.

Chrome

    1. Open your Chrome app. Press Command + to open up the settings.
    2. Scroll straight to the bottom until you see the Advanced option. Click it.
    3. Scroll down to Restore settings to their original defaults.
    4. Chrome will warn you what will happen if you restore to default settings. Read it, then go ahead and press Reset Settings.
    5. Now open Chrome up one more time and return to the settings. Click on the Site settings option under the Privacy and security section. Scroll down and make sure that your Pop-ups and Ads section is automatically set to block.

Firefox

    1. Open up Firefox. Along the top of the screen should be the Help tab. Click on it.
    2. Firefox will now take you to a page that has the option to Give Firefox a tune-up along the right. Press the Refresh Firefox… button.
    3. Go back to the Firefox tab along the top-left of your screen. Select the Preferences option.
    4. Scroll down to the Privacy & Security option and make sure all 3 options are ticked.

Safari

    1. Open up the Safari tab along to the top-left of your screen and select Preferences.
    2. Under the General tab, double-check and make sure your homepage is still something you chose.
    3. Head over to the Extensions tab and click on it.
    4. Find the list of extensions that you didn’t willingly install and remove them.

How do I make sure my Mac doesn’t get malware again?

Malware on Mac can be particularly frustrating because, without an antivirus suite, the virus can be tricky to identify. Here are some general cybersecurity safety tips that will keep hackers on their toes:

  • Use a VPN;
  • Keep your Mac OS up to date;
  • Sweep your Downloads folder whenever you install a new program from the net;
  • Educate yourself on the threats you need to look out for.

If you don’t have access to antivirus, then keeping on top of the processes detailed above will guarantee a bug-free Mac.

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Charles Whitmore
Charles Whitmore successVerified author

Charles is a content writer with a passion for online privacy and freedom of knowledge. A technophile with a weakness for full Smart Home integration – he believes everyone should strive to keep up-to-date with their cybersec.


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