Mac Malware

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In the old days we Mac people had no worries when it came to computer viruses and malware. That is no longer the case. Mac malware is increasing every day. Apple’s attempt at trying to assuage the malware epidemic is contained in their Xprotect and MRT (malware removal tool) software. However, they no workie if they are not activated.


Apple’s Xprotect is helpful for keeping the worst Malware and some Adware off your Mac. Here is a good definition of Xprotect:

XProtect, officially called File Quarantine, is Apple’s anti-malware system built into its Mac OS X operating system. Like most anti-malware programs, XProtect defends Macs from infection from various types of malicious software or malware. Like most malware defense or antivirus software, it needs its definitions to be updated regularly in order for it to recognize newer threats.

I have bolded the most important part of this description. Xprotect needs to be updated regularly with up to date malware definitions. Apple does that on a fairly regular basis. For these updates to occur you need to make sure Xprotect and MRT malware protection is activated. The place to do that is the App Store Pref Pane:

You need to make sure the box is checked for “Install system data files and security updates”. I usually leave “Install macOS updates” off. Sometimes macOS updates can cause problems so I wait a little to install them. The security updates are not the same as macOS updates, they are a separate entity.

By the way, you can check if your Mac’s security stuff is up to date using a fun little App called Critical Updates from SQWARQ software:

I have previously mentioned Critical Updates in a Mac security article on Macessence. I just thought this whole topic would be a good reminder for people because there are so many bad guys out there trying to hurt the Mac.


Go check your App Store Preferences and make sure the security box is checked. Apple’s Xprotect software is not perfect, but it still is helpful to have it turned on. Then, go download Malwarebytes and use it to check your system once in a while. It will provide a more thorough malware check of your Mac.

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