How to Check for Viruses Using Built-In Tools in macOS

Posted on August 10, 2020 - by Kyle Hankins - in Updating Your Security Policies

If you’re on a Windows 10 computer, learn how you can check for viruses here.

A guide to virus scanning and removal on your Mac.

Viruses and malware can cause serious damage to your Mac, which is why macOS includes built-in tools to verify the software you install comes from a reliable source. Malware damage can often go unseen as these malicious programs operate in the background of your system and expose you to more attacks that could copy, steal, or delete data currently stored on your device. They can also gain access to other systems your device has access to. 

When you put these possible scenarios into a workplace context, you can see why companies create policies specifically addressing how their employees should operate on their computers. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans are a part of many companies’ policies and their purpose is to give employees the standard method of conduct when using a computer. The policies are guidelines for how to defend your computer from attacks with standard best practices.

This article can help employees set up their devices so that malicious programs are identified and removed using the built-in tools of macOS. 

Do you need virus protection on a Mac?

There is a common misconception that Macs are “virus-proof.” There is some truth to this, but not because Apple has superior technology. Instead, since Windows is by far the most used operating system on the planet, it is the logical target for a malicious actor. Greater opportunities to attack a Windows operating system vs a macOS one means that Apple deals with fewer sophisticated malware attacks. For desktops in particular, Windows owns nearly 78% of the market.

How Macs Automatically Check For Viruses

1. Open System Preferences.

2. Click Security & Privacy.

3. Click the General tab.

4. Click the Lock icon to unlock the panel.

5. Choose the App Store or App Store and identified developers to permit downloads from only those sources. Clicking the App Store is the strictest setting as it limits downloads only to come from that location, which Apple strictly controls and monitors for malware.

These settings are designed to keep your Mac free from malicious software, but it’s important to note that it does not make it impossible for malicious software to be installed on your Mac. The best practice is to be cautious when downloading software from unknown sources.

And never, never click “install” or dismiss a warning message if something looks suspicious. Those warnings are part of your Mac’s antivirus system. You don’t want to run the risk of infecting your entire company with a virus that gets into your local network.

Following this guide can help you as an employee stay in compliance with your company’s policies and procedures.


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