What are these iPhone and Mac-related fake Virus and Malware Alerts?

VIRUS WARNING!! Pity the poor IT administrator who is responsible for a fleet of workers who work from home and use their own devices. That goes double for the IT administrator who is used to working with Windows computers in the office but now has to deal with issues from users working on Macs at home. Making matters worse, many users mistakenly believe their PCs are malware-free.

This is a persistent and potentially dangerous browser-based malware that more than a few macOS users have reported. It takes the form of a phony security alert pop-up that appears to have come from Apple. You may be duped, but you should be aware that this is part of the ever-growing family of tech support scams. 

1. Why do you see these alerts?

These phony virus notifications can also transmit rogue adverts, link you to shady websites, and track your browser history.

This virus alert ruse is a persistent threat created by hackers who want to defraud unwary consumers and take their money or identities. So, the pop-up alert claims that the computer has been infected with a virus or that it has been blocked for a variety of reasons, including the user viewing pornographic photos or using unlicensed software.

This pop-up, which was created and propagated by deception, shows terrifying bogus messages on an infected computer, generating panic among users. This message is created by malware that redirects your main web browser, Safari, to a dubious website that displays bogus pop-up alerts.

It then informs you that your computer has been blocked or that deadly viruses have attacked your computer. All that happens while playing an audio warning message in the background to add to your anxiety.

After that, users will be directed to phone a fraudulent tech support number in order to receive immediate relief from the phony virus or to have their computer unlocked. However, users should not call this number under any circumstances. It is a phishing attempt to obtain financial or other sensitive information.

2. Can apple products get viruses?

This is an ongoing issue that has been around for quite some time. Can viruses infect Apple Macs?

While Apple goes to tremendous measures to keep all of its products secure, that doesn’t ensure your Mac is virus-free.

a. For iPhone

Can you get spyware while using your iPhone? Yes, in a nutshell, but it’s a rare occurrence. iPhones are more secure than Android phones, which is one of their main selling features. Viruses infecting iPhones are quite uncommon. In truth, the chances of malware infecting your iPhone are small if you don’t tinker with it. However, unusual does not imply impossible.

b. For Mac

“Can a Mac get a virus?” This is the big question when it comes to Apple equipment. The answer? Definitely.

Apple Macs, like PCs, can be infected with viruses and spyware. While iMacs, MacBooks, Mac Minis, and iPhones are not as commonly targeted as Windows PCs, they are all vulnerable.

Adware, spyware, ransomware, hardware, and software vulnerabilities are just a few of the issues that are increasingly plaguing Macs as well as PCs.

3. How to know if your iPhone has a virus

Examine your iPhone to check if it has been jailbroken. Many of the iPhone’s built-in limitations are removed when it is jailbroken, making it exposed to unauthorized software installations.

Jailbroken device?

If you bought the iPhone from someone else, it’s possible that they jailbroke it and installed harmful software on it. To see if it’s jailbroken, follow these steps:

To access the search bar, swipe down from the middle of the home screen. Then, in the search bar, type Cydia. On the keyboard, press the Search key. Now, your iPhone has been jailbroken if the app “Cydia” displays in the search results.

If that’s the case, search Google for ‘Unjailbreak an iPhone’ for instructions on how to ‘unjailbreak’ your iPhone. This is beyond the scope of this article.

In Safari, look for pop-up advertising. There could be an infection if you’re suddenly bombarded with pop-up adverts. In all cases, a link in a pop-up ad should never be clicked. That’s because clicking on adware ads on your iPhone could lead to the spread of infection.

Keep an eye out for apps that crash

Someone may have discovered an exploit in one of the apps you use on a regular basis. So, regularly update your iPhone’s apps to ensure that you’re always using the most secure versions.

Look for apps that are not well-known

That’s because Trojan apps are designed to appear authentic; some detective work is required. To do that, swipe through your home screens and directories to see if there are any apps you don’t recognize or didn’t install. It could be malicious if you notice a program that seems familiar, but you don’t remember installing. If you don’t know what it is, it’s best to erase it.

Tap the Apps button at the bottom of the store, tap your profile photo, and then tap Purchased to get a list of all the apps you’ve downloaded from the App Store. Now, if an app on your phone isn’t on the Store list (or isn’t from Apple at all), it’s most likely dangerous.

Look for any costs that aren’t explained

Viruses operate in the background, communicating with the internet using your data. Check your billing statement to see if there has been an increase in data consumption or if you are suddenly being charged for sending SMS texts to premium lines.

Keep an eye on the battery’s performance

Viruses can deplete your battery more quickly than you might imagine since they run in the background.

See the checking battery usage for more information. That demonstrates how to determine which apps consume the most battery power on your iPhone. If you come across software you don’t recognize, uninstall it right away. That could be the main app that causes battery drain and phone issues.

4. How to check your Mac for malware

In reality, antivirus software is included with every Mac. So, XProtect is a feature in macOS that checks your Mac for malware using an Apple-maintained database of virus signatures. As a result, you don’t have to do anything to use this because it’s enabled by default. If you try to run malware that you have downloaded, XProtect will detect it and prevent it from operating.

However, while XProtect is better than nothing, it is constrained in a few critical areas. For starters, because Apple isn’t a dedicated security organization, XProtect doesn’t detect as much malware as dedicated protection does. You can’t perform a scan to check your Mac for viruses with XProtect as it is a passive solution.

One of the greatest places to examine if you fear your Mac has been infected with a virus is the Activity Monitor. You’ll be able to observe what processes and apps are operating in the background, including malware.

How to scan Activity Monitor for malware on a Mac

  1. Go to Applications > Utilities and select Activity Monitor.
  2. If you haven’t already, go to the CPU tab.
  3. Sort high to low by clicking the percent CPU column, then look for high CPU usage.
  4. Do a Google search on any questionable processes you come across. You should be able to determine whether it’s malware or not. Look for any unwanted programs.

It may not appear that the best location to look for Mac viruses is in the Applications folder. After all, the majority of malware prefers to remain undetectable and difficult to reach. But it’s still worth examining for a variety of reasons, one of which is trojans. These are apps that appear to be legitimate but are actually infected with viruses.

Check for suspicious apps in the following ways:

  1. Go to the Applications folder in your computer’s file system.
  2. Look for any apps you don’t recall installing or don’t recognize.
  3. Look them up on Google to determine if they’re genuine.
  4. If they aren’t, or if you have reason to believe they aren’t, delete them and empty your trash.

Examine your login items

Malware may appear in your macOS login items list because it loads immediately when you start your Mac. Consequently, many logon items, such as LaunchDaemons and LaunchAgents, will not appear in this list. So you may need to look elsewhere to find them.

To check your login items list, follow these steps:

  1. Select Users & Groups from the System Preferences menu.
  2. Go to the Login Items section.
  3. Go over the list and mark everything that looks questionable.
  4. To remove the login item, click the minus button. Antivirus software should be used to scan for Mac viruses.

Trying to locate malware on your Mac by hand is, in the end, a losing game. Viruses that are well-designed don’t make it easy to find or delete them. Built-in tools such as XProtect are helpful, but they are no substitute for professional antivirus software. When it comes down to it, using a security tool is the best approach to detect malware on your Mac.

You’ll need to employ two different sorts of protection. Antivirus scans and protection in real-time. Manual virus scans can be done across the entire Mac or specific folders.

Real-time security is always on, and it detects and warns you if you download or attempt to run a virus.

5. Best ways to keep iPhone and Mac virus-free

Steer clear from the “Darkside” of the net!

If you receive an email from someone you don’t know requesting you to click a link (perhaps to see gorgeous babes or claim your inheritance), delete it!

Also, if you receive an email from a large corporation such as Apple or PayPal requesting your password or credit card information, do not respond!

  • Stick to Apple’s app shops.
  • Before you download or install anything that isn’t from the App Store, do some research.
  • Maintain the phone/security upgrades as well as application updates.
  • Use a pop-up blocker when browsing.
  • Javascript should be disabled in Safari.
  • Pay attention to notifications on your phone or computer.
  • Use anti-virus and anti-malware software.

Important note for Mac users:
Malware is rarely the cause of poor Mac performance. The majority of the time, it’s due to minor issues like out-of-date software. You can use MacKeeper’s Update Tracker to help you stay on top of things:

  1. Select Update Tracker from the menu in MacKeeper.
  2. Updates can be found by clicking Scan.
  3. Choose anything that needs to be updated.
  4. After that, click Update.

Conclusion

The most important thing you can do with Apple products is to be vigilant. While there are almost no viruses left to worry about these days, malware is an ongoing mess of problems across the connected world. Viruses are destructive, and once the novelty wore off, the only reason for them now is focused largely on big corporations or government entities that can be blackmailed into trading cryptocurrency to get a fix. 

Malware is the ‘hot’ item as it can use your machine behind the scenes to create large botnets or siphon personal information. This can be far worse than a simple virus messing up things. When you get that shiny new Mac or iPhone, the first thing to do is load the best antivirus/malware applications you can, and use them. But always, make sure you maintain and update them regularly.

This can’t be stressed enough: Do NOT be careless in clicking on email or attachments. If that interesting website you’ve been invited to looks’ off’, do a search for it first with a search engine. Chances are it will be a phishing site or a cesspool of bots ready to hijack your system.

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