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

how to check for viruses using built in tools in macos

You may have been led to believe that you don’t have to worry about computer viruses on your Mac. And, to some extent, there’s truth to that. While your Mac can definitely be infected with malware, Apple’s built-in malware detection and file quarantine capabilities are meant to make it less likely that you’ll download and run malicious software.

Apple introduced malware detection to the Mac OS starting with Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6). Because of this system, called File Quarantine (occasionally referred to as XProtect), apps that are known malware cannot be opened at all. Instead, you’ll be met with a message offering the option to toss the app in the trash.

To make sure your Mac malware database is always up to date you’ll want to verify that your Mac always automatically installs security updates and related system data files.

To do this:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Open the App Store preference
  3. Make sure that Automatically check for updates and Install system data files and security updates are checked.

This should keep your Mac free from most malicious software, although it’s important to note that it does not make it impossible for malicious software to be installed on your Mac. So it’s always best to be cautious when downloading software from unknown sources.

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This blog is meant to provide a starting point to implementing cyber security practices within your company. Due to the rapid progression of technology this is an ongoing and ever-evolving subject!