What is malware?
Malware, short for “malicious software,” is any type of program that interferes with the operation of a user’s computer or acts against the desires of the user. According to Wikipedia, this includes “computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs.”
Most malware is installed without the user’s consent or knowledge. However, thanks to misleading file downloads or false advertising, users sometimes intentionally install malware. This happens most frequently with fake anti-virus programs like MacDefender. It looks like a useful application, but you aren’t aware that it is hijacking your system and slowing down your computer. And while bad actors like this typically get quickly removed from the market place, there’s new ones popping up frequently.
These undesirable programs are called “Potentially Unwanted Programs,” or PUPs. Browser toolbars often fall into this category. It also includes other spammy or intentionally misleading applications. Users might want to keep them, but there’s a good chance they’re causing damage to your system without your knowledge.
Not every slow computer is suffering from a malware infection. Less-experienced computer users will often chalk up all manner of system problems to “viruses” and “malware.” Of course, this is sometimes to blame. But, more frequently, users have done a poor job maintaining their machines. As a result, there are sometimes other steps that need to be taken to return your machine to good working order.
Just because your malware scan comes up negative doesn’t mean your computer is working perfectly. If your Mac is still running poorly, you might need to do a little clean up. While Macs require less maintenance than Windows machines, keeping your hard drive full to the brim or running too many applications will still slow you down. As much as Macs might “just work,” you still need to keep your machine in good working order.
1. Download Malware from the developer’s website.
2. Look for the “Malwarebytes-Mac-3.x.y.zzz.pkg” file in your Downloads folder (or where you saved it).
3. Open the installer by double-clicking the downloaded file.
4. Follow the installer instructions to complete the installation.
1. Locate the Malwarebytes logo in your menu bar. This bar is at the top of your computer’s screen near your clock.
2. Click on the icon to open the drop down menu.
3. Select “Start Scan.” This will begin scanning your computer for malware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and viruses.
4. It may take a while to run, and you will not get a progress indicator during this time. You can tell that the service is still running if “Stop Scan” appears in the drop down menu. If you want to see more details about the progress of the scan, you can choose “Open Malwarebytes” from the bottom of the drop down menu.
Removing Malware from Your Mac with Malwarebytes
1. When the scan is finished, a window from Malwarebytes will pop up to notify you of the scan’s results. If this window doesn’t appear, you can reach it by clicking “Open Malwarebytes” in the menu bar and then clicking “Scan” in the left side of the Malwarebytes window.
2. In the “Confirm Threats Remediation” window, make sure you want to remove all the checked programs. If everything looks good, click the “Confirm” button at the bottom of the window.
3. Clicking “Confirm” will delete all the selected files from your system. When the deletion is done, you’ll see the results window. All malware detected should now be removed.
Do you need to watch out for Mac malware?
It’s true that Mac malware is not as prevalent as Windows malware and viruses. However, that doesn’t mean none exist. Enterprising hackers looking to target a vulnerable user base could do worse than Mac users. Considering the cost of hardware, many Mac users might have deeper pockets that Windows users, making them ripe targets for ransomware, data theft or corporate espionage. As a computer-using citizen, it’s your responsibility to protect yourself against even unlikely attacks. And especially when it’s so easy to do!
With Malwarebytes you can scan your Mac for malware as frequently as you would like. If you want real-time, proactive protection, you can get the Malwarebytes Premium subscription tier. This enables automated, round-the-clock monitoring for suspicious files. If you frequently download or install software, that might be worthwhile. And for users that download from sites like PirateBay, reliable malware detection is a must-have.