Computer viruses have become more and more prevalent over the years, and there are a lot of different ways that they can be downloaded onto your computer. If you have any computer, including a Mac, it is important to frequently check for viruses.
To scan for a virus on Mac, use various Malware or virus protection programs to scan for existing viruses and protect against possible viruses. Avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown addresses, downloading software from random websites, and clicking on ads to prevent viruses.
Checking frequently for viruses is an important step to keeping your data safe on your computer. Keep reading to learn more about specific ways to scan for and prevent viruses!
How Viruses Work
Before we talk about how to check for viruses and how to avoid getting them in the first place, it is important to know how viruses work. Knowing this will help you take more and better preventative measures against viruses. In its most basic definition, computer viruses are pieces of code that attach themselves to other pieces of software to damage a computer or steal data.
This definition covers the basics of computer viruses, but it does not talk about how they really work. Computer viruses are essentially small pieces of code that get attached to other files, programs, or links. When the infected software is activated, the virus is granted access to data in your computer.
From there, depending on the purpose of the virus, it can destroy software and data on your computer, steal data, or even just spread other viruses. When you have a virus attached to a program or a file, if you share that software, you will be, unknowingly, spreading the virus.
There are many different kinds of computer viruses, from Trojans, to Worms, to Ransomware. Trojans are viruses that hide within programs. It seems like you are downloading a legitimate program, but there is a virus hidden inside waiting to attack your computer.
Worms are viruses that don’t require the user to interact with them and can spread from computer to computer quickly. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files and requires a ransom for the user to have access to them again.
Viruses and Malware are not a joke, and they can cause billions of dollars of damage if they infect the right computers in the right way. It is essential to learn how to protect your Mac from viruses, scan for viruses, and prevent viruses on your computer.
Ways to Scan for Viruses
Now that you know how viruses work, you should be aware of how to check for them on your Mac. There are several different ways to check for viruses on a Mac. You can check for viruses through the settings on your Mac, or you can use a virus and malware protection program.
Using Mac Settings
The first way to combat viruses is through the security settings on your Mac. Macs already have a setting to prevent malware and viruses, however, you still need to be proactive when it comes to viruses. To help your Mac prevent viruses as best it can, make sure to keep the malware database up to date.
To do this, open the App Store preferences through the system preferences in your settings. Check the boxes that say “Automatically check for updates” and “Install system data files and security updates”. This will help keep your Mac updated and available. The Mac settings are not really there to check if there are current viruses, but rather they are there to help prevent viruses.
Using a Protection Program
If you are looking to check if you have viruses or not, the best way to do this is by downloading virus protection software and using the scanner. There are a TON of different brands of virus and malware protection programs out there, but it is pretty standard for them to have a way of checking for viruses.
To check for viruses with most protection software, first, open up the software. Within the options available to you, there should be an option to scan for viruses. This will run a function that does a scan for lines of code in programs and files that could be harmful. If it finds anything suspicious, it will report back to you where it is.
From there, you can delete the software or have the program get rid of any viruses. If the virus is too difficult for the program to remove, then you might need to take your Mac in to be repaired.
Ways to Prevent and Avoid Viruses
Now that you know how to check for viruses on your Mac, it is important to learn how to prevent them in the first place. Preventing viruses is a lot easier than getting rid of them once they are already on your computer. Viruses can be spread in a wide variety of ways, and knowing these ways will help you avoid viruses altogether.
One very common way that viruses are spread between devices is through emails. Emails are a great way to spread an infected file or link across many computers. If you receive an email from an unknown address, do not click on any links in the email. Viruses are also commonly spread through advertisements on websites.
There is always a host of advertisements on the sides and bottoms of websites. Avoid clicking these because it is highly likely that they will infect your computer with a virus.
Computer viruses are also often spread through software downloads. As mentioned before, these are called Trojan viruses.
A virus can be attached to software on a less than secure website and will infect not only the software that you downloaded, but also other software and files that it will gain access to. Overall, it is important to be smart about what you do on your computer.
Don’t deal with any unknown or unsafe files, websites, or downloads, and frequently check for viruses to make sure that if you do have one, it is not on your computer for long enough to do too much damage.