You’ve probably heard that Macs, or any other Apple device for that matter, don’t get viruses.
Now, is that entirely true?
You see, contrary to popular belief, Macs are not virus-proof. They do get infected by viruses and malware.
In fact, Macs reportedly have the highest number of threats compared to Windows, with a threat increase of around 400 percent from 2018 to 2019.
While it’s true that Macs enjoy a superior built-in defense system and are rarely vulnerable, they are targets to cybercriminals.
However, just because your Mac is acting weird doesn’t mean a virus infects it. It could be something else like low memory or storage space because, all in all, Macs don’t get infected easily, even though they’re common targets.
Here are five signs your Mac has a virus:
How to Know If Your Mac Has a Virus
Before we get into it:
If you’re not sure about the difference between a virus and malware, let’s briefly discuss. Malware is a general term, and a virus is a type of malware that multiplies by attaching to other programs.
Now, if your Mac displays these signs, there’s a big chance it’s infected, and you should act fast.
1. Your Mac Is Unusually Slow
There are several reasons why macOS can slow down. It’s worth knowing which kind of “slow” is unfriendly.
Sometimes your Mac may get sluggish because you don’t have enough disk space. Heavy apps or apps running in the background can also interfere with your computer’s normal function.
However, if your computer is running unusually slow, it could be infected. You can tell by opening Activity Monitor, which will display a list of all running programs.
Note that you may not be able to see anything out of the ordinary in the Activity Monitor. This could mean your Mac is receiving remote commands to participate in dubious activities that drain CPU power.
2. Your Mac Keeps Rebooting
Is your Mac constantly rebooting out of the blue?
Here are two scenarios to take note of:
- Your Mac restarts randomly in the middle of whatever task you were doing, and you can’t figure out the problem.
- Your Mac restarts every time you run certain apps.
A less worrying reason would be that your macOS is demanding an update if you missed an important one.
However, the above scenarios could also mean a malware attack, which can be severe enough to render your computer unusable.
If you recently installed a third-party app, it could be that your operating system is rejecting and forcing reboots to stop it from running.
This is a good sign.
When your Mac reboots to resolve a software problem, that’s called kernel panic, one of the built-in defenses that protect your device.
Usually, you can solve the issue by removing the software that’s causing the error, that is, if you can find it.
3. Your Browser Appears Hijacked
Is your browser behaving funny as if it has a mind of its own?
Is it redirecting your browser to sites you didn’t click on or constantly opening multiple tabs or windows?
Well, bad news.
Your Mac is either infected by adware or a browser hijacker.
Adwares typically flood your computer with ad pop-ups. It could mean you fell into a trap, downloading something you shouldn’t have.
A browser hijacker is just as harmful.
It’s a malicious program that alters system settings and seizes control of your browser. It’ll then redirect traffic to phony sites and advert pages.
4. Programs Keep Freezing
There are several reasons why a Mac will freeze when running programs. If the frozen screen is not random and seems to associate with a specific app, uninstalling that app should fix the issue.
A frozen Mac may also mean that multiple apps are running in the background, which can easily overwhelm the system.
On the other hand, your Mac may constantly freeze due to malware, which you likely installed without knowing.
Usually, most Mac attacks stem from deception, where you innocently install software that is, in fact, a trojan application. These can wreak havoc on your device, resulting in issues like constant freezing.
5. You’re Getting Unwanted Download Prompts
Once more, you may find that your Mac keeps asking you to download stuff you don’t need. It’s easy to tell what is happening because the download prompts won’t stop by themselves.
Your computer may also start downloading things automatically, which is a sign of an adware infection that has successfully bypassed authorizations.
If this is happening, you likely installed malware disguised as useful third-party software.
One of the reported malware of this kind is MacKeeper.
What Should You Do About It?
If you suspect a virus or malware infects your Mac, there are some steps you can take to reclaim your computer, which all depends on the type of infection.
MacOS has a robust defense system capable of detecting and eliminating malicious programs. You don’t really need a third-party app to clean your device, as Macs do come armed to deal with threats.
Check out Apple guidelines designed to get rid of most threats your Mac may come across.
If the problem persists, the best advice would be to contact Apple Support about it. This route is better and safer than messing around with anti-malware programs from sources you’re not entirely familiar with just yet.
Final Thoughts on MAC Infection
Remember, most attacks on Macs generally happen because you opened the door in the first place.
Usually, your system would not let that happen. Still, there are no doors you can’t close with Macs.
That’s the beauty of macOS.
If you’re not sure what to do, find someone who can help, because sometimes the problem isn’t as big as it seems. Also, prevention is better than cure. If you want to maintain the safety of your Mac, steer clear of questionable sites.
In case you can’t find an app from the Appstore, try looking for it from official websites of reputable sources.
One more thing: Always keep your Mac up-to-date to receive new security patches for continuous protection.
Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at Cielo at Little Italy with five years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making Cielo at Little Italy the place to call home