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How to Remove Mac Defender Malware

by Emily Price | May 25, 2011May 25, 2011 8:30 am PDT

Mac users were targeted in a recent phishing scam that claimed their computers were infected with a virus. Users were redirected to an illegitimate site, and encouraged to download “Mac Defender,” malware masquerading as an anti-virus program to correct the “problem.”

Apple officially acknowledged the issue yesterday, and posted instructions on how to remove the malware from your Mac if you were a victim of the scam. The company will also be issuing a OS X software update in the coming days that will automatically find and remove the malware from your computer.

Check out details on how to avoid and remove the malware below. Were any of you victims of the scam?

How to avoid installing this malware

If any notifications about viruses or security software appear, quit Safari or any other browser that you are using. If a normal attempt at quitting the browser doesn’t work, then Force Quit the browser.

In some cases, your browser may automatically download and launch the installer for this malicious software.  If this happens, cancel the installation process; do not enter your administrator password.  Delete the installer immediately using the steps below.

  1. Go into the Downloads folder or your preferred download location.
  2. Drag the installer to the Trash.
  3. Empty the Trash.

How to remove this malware

If the malware has been installed, we recommend the following actions:

  • Do not provide your credit card information under any circumstances.
  • Use the Removal Steps below.

Removal steps

  • Move or close the Scan Window
  • Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor
  • Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window
  • Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity or MacProtector
  • Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit
  • Quit Activity Monitor application
  • Open the Applications folder
  • Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name
  • Drag to Trash, and empty Trash

Malware also installs a login item in your account in System Preferences. Removal of the login item is not necessary, but you can remove it by following the steps below.

  • Open System Preferences, select Accounts, then Login Items
  • Select the name of the app you removed in the steps above ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector
  • Click the minus button

Use the steps in the “How to avoid installing this malware” section above to remove the installer from the download location.

 


Emily Price

Emily has been obsessed with computers since the early 80s when she discovered she could play Ghostbusters on her father's Commodore 64. She...

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