How to Tell If You Have a Virus on Your Mac

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Estimated reading time: 2 min

You may have heard that Macs aren’t as susceptible to viruses but it is important to know that your Mac can get infected. It is very common to end up with scareware and adware on your Mac and it can trick you into thinking your Mac has a virus when it, in fact, is the virus. The point is to scare you into buying their antivirus license, which isn’t an antivirus license at all.

It is important to note that your Mac can act up for other reasons that have nothing to do with a virus. You might have out-of-date apps or your operating system needs the latest update. Make sure that you check to update your software and your apps if you find that your Mac is slow or that it is acting up. Then, if it is still having problems, you can determine whether it is a virus. Continue reading to learn how to tell if you have a virus on your Mac.

You See Popups and Are Redirected to Sites

You might be browsing on Safari and all of the sudden, a popup appears. It tells you that it has detected a virus. It runs a scan and gives you a list of infected files. This popup claims to be a Mac anti-malware or antivirus program and it tells you to register for the licensed version to get protection right away. This is a common scenario and this type of malware usually looks very similar to the real thing.

The important thing to know is that this app would not be scanning your Mac for a virus unless you personally purchased or downloaded it. If the popup seems to come out of nowhere, odds are that it came with something you downloaded off the Internet. If you want to get an antivirus program for your Mac, you can research and find the best one. However, don’t trust a popup coming from a program that you didn’t install.

Your Personal Files Are Encrypted and You Can’t Access Them

This type of virus is much less common on a Mac than it is on a PC with Windows but it can still happen. It is called Ransomware and a cyber-criminal might use a Trojan such as MacRansom. Your personal files will be encrypted and you won’t be able to access them. With this type of ransomware, you will turn your Mac on and find a popup that tells you that your files are encrypted. They will demand a payment, often in Bitcoin, to give you the code to access your files.

You might also get a browser locker, where you sign onto Safari and you get a ransom alert that says that they are the FBI or another government agency. They might tell you that you have prohibited material on your Mac and they might say that if you pay a fine, you won’t have to go to court. The way to get rid of this type of attack is to clear your cache.

Your Mac Is Super Slow

Another type of virus infects your Mac and turns it into a botnet. A remote computer will send commands to your computer and force it to mine cryptocurrency or be a part of a DDoS attack. This causes your computer to work constantly, which will slow your Mac down. The constant communication and performance of operations makes your Mac work overtime. You will notice the fan running constantly and you might find that your computer is low on memory.

If you want to avoid getting a virus on your Mac, you need to make sure that you never click on links that are in emails. You should install apps from official sources and make sure that your software is up to date. Make sure that you have a backup of your hard drive data so that you will still have it if anything happens to your Mac. If you find a virus on your Mac, be sure to remove it right away.

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