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A phishing scam has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender 'anti-virus' software to solve the issue.
This “anti-virus” software is malware (i.e. malicious software). Its ultimate goal is to get the user's credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes.
The most common names for this malware are MacDefender, MacProtector and MacSecurity.
Mar 08, 2017 Fallacy: Macs don’t need security software. Antivirus software has gotten a bad rap on the Mac over the years. Thanks to historically low incidence of Mac malware, coupled with the system problems that some antivirus programs have been known to cause, Mac users are skittish about installing security software.
Apple released a free software update (Security Update 2011-003) that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants.
The Resolution section below also provides step-by-step instructions on how to avoid or manually remove this malware.
How to avoid installing this malware
If any notifications about viruses or security software appear, quit Safari or any other browser that you are using. If a normal attempt at quitting the browser doesn’t work, then Force Quit the browser.
In some cases, your browser may automatically download and launch the installer for this malicious software. If this happens, cancel the installation process; do not enter your administrator password. Delete the installer immediately using the steps below.
- Go into the Downloads folder, or your preferred download location.
- Drag the installer to the Trash.
- Empty the Trash.
How to remove this malware
If the malware has been installed, we recommend the following actions:
- Do not provide your credit card information under any circumstances.
- Use the Removal Steps below.
- Move or close the Scan Window.
- Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor.
- Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window.
- Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity or MacProtector.
- Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit.
- Quit Activity Monitor application.
- Open the Applications folder.
- Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name.
- Drag to Trash, and empty Trash.
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Malware also installs a login item in your account in System Preferences. Removal of the login item is not necessary, but you can remove it by following the steps below.
What to Do when High Sierra Update Notification is not Showing on Mac App Store?Your update may not be showing possibly due to old cache files mishandled during the upgrade and this is an easy problem to fix. My mac didn't come with ios software.
- Open System Preferences, select Accounts, then Login Items
- Select the name of the app you removed in the steps above ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector
- Click the minus button
Use the steps in the “How to avoid installing this malware” section above to remove the installer from the download location.
Note: Apple provides security updates for the Mac exclusively through Software Update and the Apple Support Downloads site. User should exercise caution any time they are asked to enter sensitive personal information online.
We design Mac hardware and software with advanced technologies that work together to run apps more securely, protect your data, and help keep you safe on the web. And with macOS Catalina available as a free upgrade, it’s easy to get the most secure version of macOS for your Mac.*
Apple T2 chip.
The next generation of security.
The Apple T2 Security Chip — included with many newer Mac models — keeps your Mac safer than ever. The Secure Enclave coprocessor in the Apple T2 chip provides the foundation for Touch ID, secure boot, and encrypted storage capabilities. Touch ID gives you a seamless way to use your fingerprint to unlock your Mac, fill passwords in Safari, and make purchases with Apple Pay. Secure boot helps ensure that you are running trusted operating system software from Apple, while the Apple T2 chip automatically encrypts the data on your Mac. So you can be confident knowing that security has been designed right into the architecture of your Mac, from the ground up.
Apple helps you keep your Mac secure with software updates.
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The best way to keep your Mac secure is to run the latest software. When new updates are available, macOS sends you a notification — or you can opt in to have updates installed automatically when your Mac is not in use. macOS checks for new updates every day, so it’s easy to always have the latest and safest version.
Protection starts at the core.
The technically sophisticated runtime protections in macOS work at the very core of your Mac to keep your system safe from malware. This starts with state-of-the-art antivirus software built in to block and remove malware. Technologies like XD (execute disable), ASLR (address space layout randomization), and SIP (system integrity protection) make it difficult for malware to do harm, and they ensure that processes with root permission cannot change critical system files.
Download apps safely from the Mac App Store. And the internet.
Now apps from both the App Store and the internet can be installed worry-free. App Review makes sure each app in the App Store is reviewed before it’s accepted. Gatekeeper on your Mac ensures that all apps from the internet have already been checked by Apple for known malicious code — before you run them the first time. If there’s ever a problem with an app, Apple can quickly stop new installations and even block the app from launching again.
Stay in control of what data apps can access.
Apps need your permission to access files in your Documents, Downloads, and Desktop folders as well as in iCloud Drive and external volumes. And you’ll be prompted before any app can access the camera or mic, capture keyboard activity, or take a photo or video of your screen.
FileVault 2 encrypts your data.
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With FileVault 2, your data is safe and secure — even if your Mac falls into the wrong hands. FileVault 2 encrypts the entire drive on your Mac, protecting your data with XTS-AES 128 encryption. And on Mac systems with an Apple T2 Security Chip, FileVault 2 keys are created and protected by the Secure Enclave for even more security.
Designed to protect your privacy.
The most secure browser for your Mac is the one that comes with your Mac. Built-in privacy features in Safari, like Intelligent Tracking Prevention, help keep your browsing your business. Automatic strong passwords make it easy to create and use unique passwords for all the sites you visit. And iCloud Keychain syncs those passwords securely across all your devices, so you don’t have to remember them. You can also easily find and upgrade any weak passwords you’ve previously used (and reused and reused and reused).
Automatic protections from harmful sites.
Safari also helps safeguard you against fraudulent websites and those that harbor malware — before you visit them. If a website seems suspicious, Safari prevents it from loading and notifies you. And when connecting to unencrypted sites, Safari will warn you. So everything you need to browse without worry is right at your fingertips.
Find your missing Mac with Find My.
The Find My app combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single, easy-to-use app on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Find My can help you locate a missing Mac — even if it’s offline or sleeping — by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by nearby Apple devices. These devices then relay the detected location of your Mac to iCloud so you can locate it in the Find My app. It’s all anonymous and encrypted end-to-end so no one — including Apple — knows the identity of any reporting device or the location of your Mac. And it all happens silently using tiny bits of data that piggyback on existing network traffic. So there’s no need to worry about your battery life, your data usage, or your privacy being compromised.
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Keep your Mac safe.
Even if it’s in the wrong hands.
All Mac models with the Apple T2 Security Chip support Activation Lock — just like your iPhone or iPad. So if your Mac is ever misplaced or lost, the only person who can erase and reactivate it is you.