Tag Archives: antivirus

How to Check For Malware on the Mac

Macintosh Malware and Antivirus Support

Stay safe from virus and malware activity on your Macintosh with these simple tips.

Do you think your Mac has been infected by malware or a virus? It’s always possible, and here’s some ways to check.

Is it a virus? Is it malware?

First of all, don’t blame every single problem on malware or a virus. Many problems on the Mac appear to be virus related, but, actually are system related. If you’re not surfing underground sites or downloading software from places you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t have any virus or malware activity. In the off chance that you do get a virus or malware, here are some basic things you should do to get rid of the malware or virus on your Mac.

Let’s start with the browser.

Google Chrome for the MacOn the Macintosh, you have a few choices for web browsers. The big three browsers that most people use are Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Of these particular browsers, we prefer Google Chrome as our day-to-day browser. Google chrome for Mac is a fairly lightweight browser, has great security controls, and doesn’t seem to have the issues that the other browsers tend to have. Another great feature of Google Chrome is that it has Adobe Flash built right into it. This means you’re not hounded by the constant warnings to upgrade Adobe Flash. This is not to say Safari and Firefox are not safe, we just have a better track record with Google Chrome across-the-board. It’s wise to be careful what extensions you do load into Google Chrome. Only stick to known good browser extensions that are featured on the Google app store. if you do need to stick to using Safari as your daily web browser, you should turn off the extensions. Extensions and toolbars are a common way for malware and viruses to get into your Mac.

Use free Malware and Virus checking software

The best free software we have found to detect malware on your Mac is Malwarebytes. This software is remarkably easy-to-use, and can be run once or twice a week to check for any malware on your Macintosh based computer. We’ve been surprised a few times to find that we actually did have malware and the software has found it and deleted it every single time. This software doesn’t run automatically; you will have to run it by yourself once in a while. Another great piece of software we have found the check for viruses and malware on a Mac is from the company Sophos. This free software does run continually on the Macintosh and is also a good, lightweight piece of software for checking viruses and malware on a Mac. Apple can also detect and defeat certain malware from their end which is built into the Macintosh operating system. This is obviously not the best option because you have no control over what it finds and what it gets rid of.

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Backing up your data is a wise move

With good data backups, a good portion of malware and viruses shouldn’t affect your data. Even better, have multiple backup options so your main data backup doesn’t get infected. We prefer multiple hard drives, and Google Drive as our backup options. Apple provides the Time Machine software that can back up every single Mac for free. All you have to do is provide an external hard drive for this option to work.

Be incognito whenever possible

Most browsers today offer an incognito mode, Or stealth mode, which hides your browsing activities. If there are sensitive sites you travel to, using one of the stealth modes may help limit the malware and virus activity on your Mac. The stealth mode can stop tracking and automatically turn off cookies on these sites as you visit them, which aids in your protection.

Stay away from filesharing and torrent sites

A lot of virus and malware activity on a Mac comes from filesharing and torrent sites. You should limit access to the sites if at all possible, especially if other family members are using the Mac. A good option in this case is to use a DNS filtering service such as OpenDNS to stop people in your household from accessing these and other dangerous sites.

Everyone should not be an administrator on the Mac

If your Mac has multiple users, and all them are set up as a administrators, this is not a good situation. This simply means that anybody using the Macintosh has full privileges on the Mac. They would actually be able to install any piece of software, including malware, that they deemed fit. Changing these users to standard users is a great way to bypass this problem. By making them standard users, they don’t have the privileges that an administrator would have. Therefore, they would not be able to make any changes on the system at all. By teaching these users good browsing habits, you should be able to limit the amount of malware and virus activity on your Mac.

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Issues with AppSo crashes and high CPU use on a Mac?

High Mac AppSo UseWe had a client report today about a strange thing that has started to happen on their Mac. They complain that the computer will begin to work fine, and slowly over time, the Mac will grind to a halt and begin to crash and freeze at times. They checked the Activity Monitor and noticed a process called “AppSo” taking up huge amounts of memory and processor usage. As it turns out, chances are pretty good that this Mac has a trojan horse installed onto it, probably from installing fake online-based utility programs like “Install Mac,” or “MacKeeper.” You may also see a pop-up window that says “Please run InstallMac compatibility test and updates for the upcoming Mac OSX.” These programs typically have full access to your Mac, and then proceed to install backdoor programs to capture your data and make it appear as if your Mac is having problems (which it creates).

So, we have to first determine if we in fact are infected by these types of Trojan Horse programs. It’s pretty easy to determine by going to the “Go” menu and choosing “Go To Folder…” in the Macintosh finder. When the search box appears, type in this path:

~/Library/LaunchAgents

That is the user library, not the system library. Inside this folder, look for some files that look like the following examples:

something.ltvbit.plist

something.download.plist

something.update.plist

The “something” above may contain random names–and this is just a few examples; there could be many variations of these–such as:

MacKeepr, InKeepr, Javeview,Leperdvil, Manroling,Totiteck, etc.

BACKUP YOUR MAC FIRST! If you happen to see any or all of these files, you must move them to the trash to get rid of this Mac trojan horse. Simply move any one of those folders that contained our example above into the trash. You may have a now-empty LaunchAgents folder, and that is perfectly OK.

Let’s go to the Finder’s “GO” menu again and choose “Go To Folder…” and type in:

~/Library/Application Support

Locate any of the files in this folder that we noticed in our examples above. Remove anything that contains those names.

You can then head to your Applications folder on your Mac and locate any items that contain any of our example names from above, or, “ZipDevil.” Move these items to the trash as well.

Restart your Mac.

At this point when you come back after your restart, you should be able to empty your Mac’s trash in the Finder.

You may want to also consider checking all of your browsers for extensions that shouldn’t be there, or, look unfamiliar. This includes Safari, Chrome and Firefox. These extensions can be the door that the trojan horse used to get into your Macintosh. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to start to consider to use some Macintosh anti-virus and anti-trojan software such as Norton Antivirus or Trend Micro Antivirus.

Please leave some comments if you have issues with this procedure, or, just want to let us know that you indeed had a Macintosh Trojan Horse!


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Certificate Errors (Adware ib.adnxs.com) While Using Safari (SOLVED)

Here’s a fun one I ran into this evening on a client’s computer. When we launched Safari, and tried to go to most any website (Yahoo being the most reproducible), we were greeted to a constant barrage of pop-up windows (advertising MacKeeper), or, a certificate error pointing to a website called ib.adnxs.com, which is a form of adware (sort of a virus if you want to call it that). Doing some research on the subject, I found out that to remove this malicious software from Safari, you must remove the following components manually:

  • /Library/Application Support/VSearch
  • /Library/LaunchAgents/com.vsearch.agent.plist
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.vsearch.daemon.plist
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.vsearch.helper.plist
  • /Library/LaunchDaemons/Jack.plist
  • /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/Jack
  • /System/Library/Frameworks/VSearch.framework

You simply navigate to each of these places on your hard drive and drag those files seen above to the trash. You may have most of them and not all of them (what we witnessed), but, remove the ones that you find. It will ask for your admin password each time, which is normal. When done, restart your computer and empty the trash. Upon launching Safari, we no longer had certificate errors pointing to ib.adnxs.com any longer. Please feel free to contact Capital Mac Service if you have any difficulty finding or removing these files.