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How to Verify Your Mac for Viruses and Malware

How to Verify Your Mac for Viruses and Malware
How to Verify Your Mac for Viruses and Malware

 

Macs are generally considered to be one of the most secure systems, thanks to some of the strict security measures that Apple has built into its computers. However, there’s always an opportunity for malware or malicious actors to gain access to your Mac . While it may be good to rely on built-in security features to protect your system, it can sometimes be helpful to manually check if viruses or malware are sneaking onto your system undetected.

Decrease in performance

One sign that your Mac may be infected with malware or viruses is a noticeable slowdown in performance. One of the best ways to find out exactly what’s causing slow performance on your Mac’s CPU is to use an app on your Mac called Activity Monitor.

Step 1: 

Open Applications Utilities Activity Monitor or press Command+Spacebar to open Spotlight and search for “Activity Monitor.” Double-click the app to open it.

Step 2:

Under the CPU tab, in the Process Name field (which should be selected by default) , check what is listed and the percentage of CPU it requires for its operation. If you don’t know the process name, just type it into Google and it will tell you if it’s something you need to worry about.

macOS-Sonoma-Activity-Monitor
macOS-Sonoma-Activity-Monitor

Step 3: 

If you find any harmful apps or malware within Activity Monitor, click on the item and select the “X” button on the top left to exit it.

Step 4:

Similarly, open the Memory tab, Analyze the Process Name section to see if there are any unrecognized, unknown, or unusual process names that are requesting large amounts of memory usage.

Step 5: 

Forcing the malicious app to close may temporarily resolve the issue, but if malware is present on your Mac, the app may reopen and resume its malicious activities. Please Note here that for a permanent solution, you are directed to visit the Virus and Malware Scanner Apps section.  at the bottom of this guide.

Browser add-ons (Extention)

When downloading apps, you have the option to restrict your Mac to only allow apps installed from the App Store.However, the browser extension does not have such an option and can be installed from third-party websites and stores. This means that you may end up adding something malicious to your computer.

For example, if you’re using Google Chrome, click the three dots on the far right of the app , Select Extensions > Manage Extensions .

Check the extensions in your browser and delete any that seem suspicious.

Suspicious applications and downloads

You should regularly check the list of applications installed on your Mac to ensure that all applications are installed and should still be installed.

Step 1: Open the Applications folder in the left sidebar of Finder .

Step 2: Look for apps you didn’t install yourself. Right-click the app you want to remove and select ” Move to Trash.” Don’t forget to empty the trash to completely remove the app from your system.

Step 3: Naturally, files downloaded from unknown or untrusted sources may contain malware and viruses. Have you ever seen a pop-up in your web browser that automatically downloads files without your permission?  Go to your Mac’s Downloads folder and delete anything you haven’t downloaded yourself. As with any application, be sure to empty the Trash before deleting specific files.

Full Disc Access

Full Disk Access is a feature that identifies all applications with unrestricted access to your Mac. These include attackers who create harmful Trojans, spyware, keyloggers, and more.ultimately aim to gain access to this area, effectively becoming system administrators. If successful, it can cause significant damage. Therefore, if any malware or virus has actually entered your system, it may appear here.

Step 1: Open the System Settings app and go to Privacy & Security > Full Disk Access .

Step 2: Now you can check which apps have full access to your Mac’s disk. You can temporarily revoke access by toggling the toggle to the disabled position, or you can permanently remove an app from the Full Disk Access section by selecting the app and selecting the minus button at the bottom of the list.

Step 3: If an app is listed in the Full Disk Access section but you can’t recognize it, make sure you have removed it from your system using the methods above.

macOS-Sonoma-Full-Disk-Access
macOS-Sonoma-Full-Disk-Access

 

Login items

Another way to manually check for malware on your Mac is to use login items. As its name suggests, it controls which applications start with your system. Using this feature has also proven to be an effective way to check your Mac for viruses and malware.

Step 1: Open the System Settings app and go to General > Login Items .

Step 2: Check the list at the top of the app. If you see an entry that you don’t recognize, check it out on Google. If they are malware (or you simply don’t want them to load when your Mac starts), select them and choose the Minus button at the bottom of the list . If you find that an app or process is malicious, remove it using the steps above.

macOS-Sonoma-Login-Items
macOS-Sonoma-Login-Items

 

Apps for malware and antivirus detection

If you think you are infected with malware, you need to know how to remove it. In addition to the above manual methods of checking for malware, there are many Mac-based antivirus and malware scanners . One such app is his popular Malwarebytes, which allows you to scan your Mac for free (there is also a paid version).

Step 1:  Download and install the app .

Step 2: Run the scan and wait for the results.

 

Step 3: If there are any malicious files such as adware or spyware detected by Malwarebytes, select the Quarantine selected files or Delete button to remove them all from your Mac.

The premium program is also effective in eradicating malware and viruses. As a general rule of thumb, consider purchasing apps from leading digital security companies such as McAfee, Norton, and Bitdefender.

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