The other day I got a call from my brother who said his Mac was having a lot of pop-ups and running slow. The last thing I thought was that it had a virus. And technically it didn’t, but you don’t want to hear that.
So somehow his Mac had become infected with a piece of malware called MacKeeper. This professes to be a tune up utility vital to maintaining the health of you Mac, but in reality it’s a virus. It displays advertising, stops you visiting web sites that might help you clean up MacKeeper (that is kill it) and generally makes a nuisence of itself. My brother had acquired this by visiting a TV show web site. Not being a computer person, he had said “yes” when MacKeeper offered to install itself for free and help him. It was very convincing. They have to be, these are professional thieves not some jumped up script kiddies.
So how do you clean up one of these nasty things? Pretty easy. I used BitDefender from the Apple Mac App store. It was free and actually IS a virus remover, unlike all the so called virus removers for Mac that are themselves really viruses. BitDefender detected and removed about 90% of the infected files. The rest it identified but couldn’t remove. A restart and second scan removed a few more and the remainder that it identified I removed manually with Finder. (click on Go, Folder, and key in “/Library” without the quotes and then navigate to where BitDefender said they were and delete them) Then a secure empty of the trash and they are gone for good. A few restarts and re-scans proved it, all clean.
So yes, a Mac can get a virus. Luckily the viruses out there for Mac are pretty benign. They don’t do any real harm. And they are very easy to remove. Just stick to anti-virus programs from the Mac App Store (hit the Apple icon top left, App Store) and then you know they are really what they say they are. Because it seems that it is still the case that the quickest way to GET a virus on a Mac is to try to install an ANTI-virus program.