Getting rid of a virus on a Mac is, by and large, much easier than getting rid of a virus on a PC. By updating your Mac OS X software on a regular basis, skipping the temptation to download any software from developers that you don’t trust, and avoiding giving out your credit card details to people you don’t know, you can minimize the chances that your Mac will ever become infected with a virus.
In fact, in many cases, it might turn out that the “virus” on your Mac is nothing more than a slower than usual Internet connection or simply having too many programs running in the background, which can slow down your Mac. If you are using an older Mac, you may be running up against memory constraints, which also further acts to slow down Mac performance. However, if you are absolutely convinced that there is a virus on your computer, there are three simple rules of thumb to keep in mind.
First, you should never download anti-virus software from companies and developers that you don’t know or recognize. The reason is simple: much of the anti-virus software for the Mac available on the Internet is actually malware. In other words, it’s software that’s only masquerading as anti-virus software – the true goal of this software is to get your credit card or other financial information that can be passed along to black hat hackers. Often, this malware goes by names – MacDefender, MacProtector or MacSecurity – that sound relatively harmless, lulling users into a false sense of comfort.
Secondly, you should rely on anti-virus advice for your Mac from official Apple resources – such as the Apple Support website or the Genius Bar at an Apple store. There’s a lot of advice out there on the Internet, so it’s important to stay within the Apple ecosystem. If the advice on the Apple Support website doesn’t work for you, it may be worth it to schedule a trip to the Genius Bar at your local Apple store.
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Thirdly, you should only download any anti-virus software from the Mac App Store rather than from third-party websites. The reason is clear: in order for this software to make it into the Mac App Store, it had to undergo a vetting process from Apple. This raises the probability that this software will not be a pernicious form of malware and will actually fix your Mac. Some of the most popular antivirus protection offerings include: Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac, Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac, Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac, and McAfee Internet Security for Mac.
The good news is that most Apple enthusiasts claim that their Macs don’t get viruses. That may not be entirely true – it’s still possible to get infected by computers running Windows or Linux – but if you turn on automatic updates for your OS X software and are careful about what anti-virus software you use, you can mitigate the worst risks and ensure that your Mac stays virus-free.