Skip to content

Common Malware on Mac and How to Avoid It

The threat of malware should be taken very seriously by Mac users. Recently, a new discovery revealed that the amount of malware on Mac in 2020 took a wide leap (but luckily, Macs are still considered safer than Windows PCs).

It is anticipated that the problem will only become worse as the Mac market share continues to grow. Well, the most common types of malware are well-known, and we also know how you can stay ahead of them. Read on to learn more but before you scroll, don’t forget to check out these 300 keyboard shortcuts for macOS to use your computer like a pro.

Some Common Malware on Mac

The most common malware on Macs include:


The purpose of cryptojacking malware is to use a computer’s processing power to secretly mine cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Monero. OSX/LoudMiner, a Mac threat from this category, was first discovered in June of 2021. Trojan-infected versions of popular Virtual Studio Technology (VST) programs were used to spread Bird Miner (another type of cryptojacking malware) as well.


Multi-component installation packages are the most common method for sneaky programs to get into Macs. A hacker’s first step is to get into a system and accumulate sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. This data is then transferred to a criminal-run Command & Control (C2) server.


OSX/MaMi is the first macOS malware detected in 2018. It targets Mac users with phishing emails and pop-up ads. After infection, DNS server settings are changed to allow attackers to reroute traffic through fraudulent servers. This is how they collect your data. MaMi can take screenshots, upload files and execute commands.


Millions of photographs, personal data, tax records, and “embarrassing conversations” have been taken by the Fruitfly virus, which uses screenshots and camera images to steal user images and data. Because of the ambiguity surrounding its nature, a preventative measure has yet to be discovered. In other words, the newer and more sophisticated versions of this malware may still be out there, despite Apple’s efforts to eliminate them.


MacOS’s first ransomware, KeRanger, encrypts a system’s data and demands payment to recover them. It was launched with a genuine Mac software certificate to bypass Apple security. After encrypting files and documents, KeRanger asks for payment in bitcoin to remove the infection. Apple has revoked KeRanger’s GateKeeper certificate to safeguard users.


Adware is the most common Mac threat according to data from AV-TEST IT Security Institute. These apps frustrate users by repeatedly showing ads or redirecting them to junk sites. Two years ago, adware called Shlayer swept the world. The malware spread through compromised Adobe Flash Player updates. Soon after entering a system, Shlayer installs second-stage malware.


Scareware makes false claims about performance and security to entice Mac users into purchasing specific software. The infamous malicious products that scareware encourages users to install include Advanced Mac Cleaner, Mac Auto Fixer, and Mac Cleanup Pro.

How to Avoid Malware

Yes, there is plenty of malware circulating around the web, and your Mac is always at risk. However, the procedures below will help you protect your Mac.

Uninstall adware

If you notice a sudden influx of ads and pop-ups, you may have installed adware. To remove it, select Applications from the Finder bar. Find the newly installed app you don’t recall installing and trash it.

Use a password manager

Making use of a password manager for Mac is one of the best ways to protect your data if malware ends up infecting your device. It will keep your most important data (login information to all accounts) encrypted and inaccessible to outsiders.

Use antivirus software

Antivirus software will keep malware out of your Mac by performing scans and removing suspicious files from your device.

Empty the trash bin

This is something you should do as soon as you delete a suspicious file from your Mac. Anything that’s in your trash bin is still on your device, so you should delete it from there as well. To do so, right-click the Trash icon on the Dock and choose Empty Trash.

Detect and stop the malicious process

As soon as you notice that your device is draining more network and battery power than usual, you should do some digging. Try finding the offending program under Utilities > Activity Monitor. If you find an item you’re unfamiliar with that’s draining more CPU and RAM than other programs, it may be malware. Force Quit is available if you locate the perpetrator.


Although Mac is considered one of the most secure PC options out there, it’s still not completely safe. New malware keeps emerging as more and more people are purchasing Macs, so you should always remain vigilant. Don’t forget these common threats that your device is faced with every day as you browse the web, and be sure to follow the tips listed above to avoid malware on Mac.

Read Next: How to Use ADB and Fastboot on Mac

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.