My Mac has a virus or malware HELP!!

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  • Updated 3 years ago
I have a virus or malware on my Mac and I need help! Norton did not fix it. ClamX can't find it. Is there a software that can fix this? I called Apple and they suggested I reinstall my system software but that doesnt seem like a solution. Any help is appreciated, thanks!
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Posted 7 years ago

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Charles P Knell

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I would like to caution you about downloading free virus scanning software from the internet. It is a fact that sleeper viruses, that is, viruses which activate sometime in the future, which are also written well (so that they don't crash your computer), are not detectable by even by the most reputable virus scanning software. The reason for this is that no one yet knows about them. And, they won't unless they start causing a problem for someone. I strongly recommend that you only use recognized brand name virus scanner software. I think that you can figure out who they are, but I would certainly include Norton in the list unless you did not get it directly from Norton. Do not buy except directly from the name brand vendor.

Reformatting your hard disk and reinstalling your software may seem like a rash solution, but I agree that it may be the quickest solution. Before you do that, be certain to backup your important files so that you can restore them later.

Best Regards,
Charles_KnNell (on twitter)
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Eric Suesz

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Shy, how do you know that malware was installed on your Mac? Can you explain a bit more for us?
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The behaviors (some of many)

does automatic returns in text applications
if i do google searches it initiates search before i hit return
flickering icons on the desktop if i click on name as if i were going to change the name
just typing this is a challenge -- original twitter sent from work
I am desperately trying to fix my beloved Mac
Thank you for your help
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Also, running Mac OS 10.4.11 if that helps the cause.
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Eric Suesz

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Is it possible -- and I'm just thinking out loud here -- that a key on your keyboard is sticking or stuck "on"? in particular, it could be your Return key. I've had that key stick before on an older Mac. That might explain some of these problems. As you may know, viruses or malware on the Mac are not common at all, so let's consider a few other things, too.

I assume you've restarted. Have you run Disk Utility yet? I'd do that if you haven't already. Did your computer come with a Hardware Test disk?

Finally, what kind of Mac is it? Laptop? iMac? eMac?
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Charles P Knell

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If you want to spend time reconsidering Apple's recommendation, my suggestion is that you start over again with Apple and get a second opinion from them. It is possible that you don't have, as you stated in your original post, a virus or malware. If you want to continue to investigate on your own, you might try Googling for the words which describe your symptom. For Example:

Mac spontaneous return
Mac self-invoked return
Mac automatic returns in text applications
etc. etc. (there are hundreds of these searches that you could try)

A disadvantage of proceeding in this way is that it may require more time and effort than simply rebuilding your hard disk. If rebuilding your hard disk fails to correct your problem, that's proof that you have a hardware issue.

Technical troubleshooters use this technique to get ideas when they are working on a problem that they have not encountered before. You may find your solution. You may go down the wrong road muliple times. In the end it is also possible that you have a keyboard hardware problem. However, the real problem behavior may rule that out. You really haven't provided enough of a detailed description here to make a good guess. But, providing a good enough problem description can also be difficult if you are not highly experienced in describing computer problems.

I do hope this helps.
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Hi Eric & Charles,
Thanks for taking the time to help me. Much appreciated.

Re: the keyboard, I thought as much myself and switched keyboards with the same result. I also plugged into different USB ports in case that may help.

I know malware/viruses are uncommon, I have been using a Mac 15 + years without incident. This is not something that is normal. I have seen PCs with viruses and the behaviors are similar.

I have restarted numerous times. I ran Disk Utility. I have downloaded all the newest security updates from Mac (I read about that vulnerable port so I wanted to make sure I got that security update.)

The computer is an iMac with Intel Core duo processor. There may be a hardware test disk I havent looked for that yet. Thanks for that tip.

I have unplugged all peripherals.

Some of the red flag behaviors are:

Text returns in any application I try to type from Photoshop to stickies to Simple text. In other words I will type two letters of a word and the following letter will go to a next line followed by a tremendous amount of returns so the window increases in size. The only way to stop it is to quit the app.

In photoshop, flickering numerical values, unable to perform functions such as merging layers, changing brush size with keyboard commands, freezing up in filters and sometimes the application quits itself altogether.

Online using Firefox: the windows flicker erratically. For example, on the Google splash page the url area vibrates and the G changes to the generic world logo. When doing a search a hard return happens before I complete typing the word so I have two-letter searches instead of a complete word. I am unable to enter passwords at times. Restarting the app helps sometimes.

Charles, yes perhaps reinstalling the sys software may solve it temporarily but what if i get another virus? I have a tremendous amount of files I would have to back up before I proceed to that (yes, my fault totally)

Once this is solved I want a secure firewall and functioning virus scanning software so that I dont have to cry to you technical geniuses.

Many thanks,
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  • 60 Points
hah, sounds like you actually have a LEGIT virus for your mac! I'm running on macs for 15+ years too; JUST got a new MBP back in March, and I think I have a virus on my mac as well!

I can no longer enter the URLs for Engadget and Digg from the Safari browser, NOR Firefox, without both browsers opening tons and tons of pop-ups and NEVER the actual site I'm trying to get to...But it's only for those two sites, well, at least so far.....

In this case it was totally my fault; I downloaded the ActiveX pluggin for Mac (IF ANY OF YOU EVER SEE THAT DON'T DOWNLOAD IT!!!), ran it, and it installed. I thought it was kinda' curious that the filesize was under 1mb...... Yeahhhh, then i read reviews about it online and people similar to me say it's a virus....

Hittin' up the Apple Store tomorrow, gonna' talk to a genius there about it! :-)

I'll keep you guys posted, as well as you, Shy

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Aarron Council

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on my mac i get redirected everytime i search for something and it also says there is a virus on my mac what can i download to protect my comp for free?
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  • 60 Points i have also had a mac for 12+ years with no problems...until the other night. i had this warning below (which i did a screen capture of) pop up and then go to a screen where it looks like it's doing all sorts of scans and multiple malware and trojans are poppling up (but i don't nec think that it's true to my computer..i think it was a "site" or part of the virus). so i cancel out of that window and everything (knock on wood) has been running fine, other than that warning and window popping up again. other curious thing here is that my fiance's work PC is upstairs hard wired to cable modem and wireless router, which somehow keeps getting viruses somehow. just found out he took it to his computer guy (again) the other day right before this happened on my mac laptop and also something weird on his other wireless pc laptop. googled my netgear router to see if it's possible THAT has a virus and it says that model has been tested and supposedly does not get compromised. any ideas of what this problem is or how to solve it?? here is the message....
thanks, kerri

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arian turner

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my mac has a virus I get that message you have posted above and it is basically taking over my mac. what do you recommend I do for my computer. I have pop ups when i go to different pages and it directs me to different pages ex. if i type google it will direct me to yahoo. WHAT SHOULD I DO?????
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My mac also has a virus and it's driving me insane

I'm new at mac, only bought it about six months ago.
I read macs don't get viruses so I really didn't care what I downloaded.

So i now ended up with a freaking virus.

Sometimes it will just kill my keyboard and mouse at random times.

And when I restarted my mac one of my apps I have set to automatically run on startup opens, but the dock, menu bar and the force quit menu doesn't say it is.
So it's just there.
It doesn't bug me much but you never know what the virusll do next so i'm kinda scared right now
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Eric Suesz

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I don't think you have a virus, 19kims. Macs don't really get viruses. If you have a wireless keyboard, you should change the batteries.
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Ryan OHearn

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"Macs don't really get viruses"

That is 100% not true.