How to Distinguish Malware and Viruses on macOS

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  • Malware gathers information about your credit card or bank account.
  • Hackers, who are behind all this, take you from a real site to a fake one that asks you to check your MacBook or iMac for malicious software.
  • Never pay to get rid of malicious programs or viruses.

First, you should know that harmful programs differ significantly from viruses.

Malicious software does not attempt to enter your operating system without your consent, unlike a virus. Instead, it tries to disguise itself as real, useful software. It seems to entice you to install it on your MacBook or iMac, just like any other application from the App Store. Still, when it is installed, it will systematically start collecting information about you. In most cases, malware will want to gather information about your credit card or bank account, and when it gets these details, it sends this vital data to cyber fraudsters.

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It is quite interesting that most of the malicious software on macOS disguises itself as programs designed to get rid of viruses and malware. In most cases, these “unbidden visitors” are camouflaged as antivirus or anti-malware applications, which is quite ironic.

Although there is no exact list of all potentially threatening software and viruses on macOS yet, here are three names that you should watch out for and avoid at all costs:

  • MacDefender 
  • MacProtector 
  • MacSecurity 

How does it work?

Hackers, who are behind all this, take you from a real site to a fake one that asks you to check your MacBook or iMac for malicious software. Then you download the program to test the system, enter your Apple ID and password to install it.

For some time, this fake antivirus pretends to check your device and appears to find specific issues. To solve them, of course, it will ask you to enter your credit card details. If you enter your data, it will be sent straight to the attackers, who immediately use this crucial information to steal all money from your account.

How to Remove Viruses and Malware from Your Mac

Bear in mind one thing: you should never pay to get rid of malicious programs or viruses. As you might have guessed, never give or enter your financial details anywhere, whether it is applications or websites. Many proven antivirus software providers render services to protect your device completely free of charge.

So, what should you do if you log in to a specific site and receive a report about malware or virus detection on your Mac? Here’s a short guide for you to follow:

1. If you use Safari or any other browser, and you receive a warning about malicious software, a virus, or any other issue, then log out of the browser right away. In case you cannot exit the browser, close the application forcefully.

2. Then go to the Downloads folder, find all the installation files or any suspicious files and delete them.

3. If, instead of removing a file, you prefer to simply drag it to Trash, then be sure to empty Trash afterward.

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