Spyware is no fun.
Once in your device, it can access personal information including financial details. It can also record your keystrokes, web browsing habits and steal images from your webcam.
The creators of spyware are always trying to find new ways to get it on your device.
Although Macs don’t get viruses as much as Windows machines, they are still a threat to Mac users. If you feel it is on your Mac, how do you get rid of spyware?
In this post, we attempt to answer that question.
In essence, there are four types of spyware. They are:
- Adware – Adware harvests your information and uses it to serve ads and popup windows.
- Trojans – Trojans can do serious harm to your computer unleashing viruses and passing on personal data to nefarious types. They are normally downloaded by unwitting users who believe they are software or movies.
- Cookie Trackers – These track your web browsing habits and can be used by hackers for a variety of purposes.
- Keyloggers – Keyloggers track what keys you have pressed and passes this information to the hacker. Through doing this, your average nefarious type can determine usernames, passwords, and credit card information.
Removing Spyware From Your Mac
The good news is your Mac has built-in tools to remove malicious code including spyware. To get the spyware nerf party started do the following.
Update to the Lates Version
Updating may remove spyware. So:
- Go Apple menu and About this Mac
- Click software update. If there is an update ready you’ll see it waiting to be installed so install it.
- If no update is available restart your Mac. It will scan and remove malware on restart.
Check Your Applications Folder
Sometimes spyware takes the form of an app and blends in with the other apps. As you’ve probably deduced hackers don’t like to make it too easy.
Take a look through your apps and if you see ones you don’t remember installing, drag them to Trash. You may need special software to remove them completely but this is a good start.
Delete Browser Extensions You Don’t Need
Spyware is not limited to rogue apps and code on your device. Some are in a browser extension form and so must be purged. Purging these critters is browser-specific.
- Launch Safari and then Preferences
- Go to the Extensions tab and go through the list. Any you didn’t install or don’t want, click on and click the Uninstall button.
- Enter chrome://extensions/.
- Go through the list and click Remove to get rid of unwanted extensions.
As well as the above you may want to consider deleting cookies for either browser.
Restore a Previous OS
If you go through these steps and you still experience problems, you can reinstall a backup of your macOS from Time Machine or another third-party backup tool.
Don’t forget to store documents and other files you’ve created separately so you don’t lose them.
Although spyware is no fun it is not too difficult to get rid of once you know what you’re doing.