It is a known fact that Apple’s computers (laptop – MacBook Pro and Air – or desktops – iMac and Mac mini) are more virus-proof compared to any Windows PC. However, no matter how good Macs are at virus protection, they are still susceptible to malware, worms, ransomware attacks, etc. Users with minimum experience often ask: “How to protect my precious Mac from viruses? Does it need an anti-virus? Which virus protection software to choose for my Mac?” This essential guide on security has all the answers on how to protect Apple Mac devises from malicious attacks.

You Should Know This about Mac Antivirus Software

Do you need anti virus programs for Macs protection? What is the best internet security app needed on Apple computer? macOS High Sierra comes with inbuilt solutions recommended for malware detection and removal on Macintosh computers. The market is saturated with third-party apps for Mac OS X virus scan on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and iMac. Most of these apps are top products with good user reviews.

Onboard macOS Virus Protection Solutions for Mac

Users of macOS High Sierra can make use of the inbuilt virus protection for their Mac. These onboard solutions not only track potential threats in the background but also guard online privacy and guarantee the safety of updates. macOS Gatekeeper app monitors your Mac to avert downloading and installing malicious software.

By default, Gatekeeper is set to cease the installation of any third-party apps to keep your Apple computer safe. Mac owners can change user preferences for Gatekeeper and other security components in System Preferences -> Security & Privacy. There are two options to get Mac applications from:

  • The Mac App Store and third-party software developers signed with an Apple ID.
  • The Mac App Store.

macOS views the applications without an Apple ID as potential security threats. However, if a specific third-party app comes from a trusted vendor, users can override the default Gatekeeper settings with sudo spctl –master-disable command.

security and privacy

Should You Use a Third-Party Antivirus on Your Mac?

If you don’t download or install suspicious apps, native macOS antivirus protection should be enough to guard your Mac. However, the inbuilt protection may be useless against viruses infiltrating your system via vulnerabilities in third-party software. In emergency cases, Mac owners have to use external antiviruses. Apps like this have regularly updated databases to deal with the latest viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, spyware, etc. Antiviruses provided by third-party vendors typically include the following features:

  • Protection from viruses and malware;
  • Prevention of ransomware attacks;
  • Phishing and spyware defense;
  • Adware elimination;
  • Background system scanning.

How to Scan Your Mac for Viruses and Malware?

Mac owners often ask, “What is best OSX file checker for my Macintosh computer? How to run malware check and detection on Mac OS like a pro?” Starting with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, users of MacBook Pro, iMac, and other Apple computers have received a system-wide malware detection. Apart from the safe Gatekeeper antivirus scanner, macOS High Sierra now ships with Malware Removal Tool (MRT), and XProtect. These tools operate in the background and get updated together with other software. XProtect or MRT also get ‘quiet updates’ to be able to block newfound security threats.

The Gatekeeper comes packed with the quarantine system, so it blocks the apps downloaded from third-party sources that trigger a quarantine alert. The standard macOS tools, however, have one major pitfall. They are unable to defend your Mac from malware infiltrating through vulnerabilities in third-party apps. Mac users need to eliminate all software that lets viruses sneak in. This is why Mac App Store is the only trusted place to get all apps. Each app uploaded to the Mac App Store passes a check before it becomes accessible to users. Downloading unknown third-party software, users endanger their precious Mac.

Regular software updates are the best option to protect your Mac computer from threats. macOS High Sierra checks for new updates on a daily basis and notifies users of the latest software versions available. The update procedure is simple: click to accept the updates and start the automatic download.

appstore settings

How to Get Rid of Viruses and Malware on Mac

Why don’t we get back to the very beginning for a moment? The first major security threat for Macs called “Oompa-Loompa” appeared back in 2006. Oomp.A was a Mac OS X worm transferred via iChat over the local Bonjour network. Over a decade later, viruses can harm the whole range of Apple devices. iPhones, iPads, Mac laptops and computers will regularly fall victims of virus attacks. As a rule, users don’t even know there was a malicious attack or can’t evaluate the gravity of a threat. How does a regular user detect viruses on his Mac? Is getting rid of malware on macOS even possible? What should you do if you catch a virus on a website?

How to Remove Malware and Viruses from Mac Manually

Is there a way to get rid of malware and viruses on Mac manually? In fact, there is a free method of malware removal. However, in particular cases, this may not work as good as special software. If you stumble upon a website suggesting there is malicious software on your Mac, do the following:

  1. Quit the browsing session. For this, use a Command-Q keyboard shortcut, or right-click on browser icon and choose Quit.
  2. Access the Downloads folder and look for suspicious files.
  3. Drag the files you don’t recognize into the Trash.
  4. Right-click on the Trash icon and select ‘Empty Trash’ from the drop-down menu.

In case you have already installed a virus or malicious application on your Mac, do the following:

  1. If the app is active, check its name.
  2. Go to the Utilities folder (Command-Shift-U shortcut).
  3. Go to Activity Monitor -> choose All Processes.
  4. Find the application in the list -> click Quit Process.
  5. Go to the Applications folder and find the app.
  6. Drag the malware to the Trash -> Empty the Trash.

Note: Like any regular application, malware can leave leftover data after manual uninstallation. Typically, residual data hides in the ~/Library folder and its subfolders:

  • ~/Library/ApplicationSupport
  • ~/Library/Preferences
  • ~/Library/LaunchAgents
  • ~/Library/LaunchDaemons
  • ~/Library/PreferencePanes
  • ~/Library/StartupItems

Manual malware removal is a tedious business, which isn’t likely to help if your Mac sustains a ransomware attack. In this case, using a built-in Mac virus protection or installing a third-party antivirus can be an option.

In Conclusion

Users of macOS High Sierra reap the benefits of utilizing onboard virus protection for Mac. The Gatekeeper, Malware Removal Tool, and XProtect run checks for security threats. The inbuilt capabilities provide enough to protect from viruses and malware if users download only safe applications from the Mac App Store. Downloading suspicious software from unknown “outside” vendors can lead to infecting your Mac with malware. In this case, using trusted third-party antivirus programs can help to get rid of viruses. To prevent malicious programs and viruses from getting on your Mac, perform regular software updates and steer clear of downloading questionable apps from unknown sources.