How to Get Rid of Spyware on a Mac

By Deborah Cohn

Macintosh computers are well-known to be safeguarded against malware and viruses. Mac operating systems have a reputation for security and stability, and Apple is vigilant about releasing free updates to eradicate new viruses. In fact, there is no such thing as Mac spyware. Spyware is written exclusively for Windows operating systems. There are companies that sell Mac-specific spyware-removal tools and services to unsuspecting Mac users, but don't take the bait. Spyware is a PC-only problem. That being said, no system is invulnerable to all malware. Cross-platform applications like Internet Explorer and MS Office can introduce bugs into your Mac OS. But there are things you can take to step up security. Just follow the simple steps below to protect your Mac from malware.

Step 1

Never download any files or programs you are unsure about While Macs can't actually run the executable files (.exe files) that often contain adware and spyware, other viruses are embedded in other file types. When downloading any file or program, make sure the source is secure and the site is reputable.

Step 2

Use Mac-friendly web browsers. Internet Explorer was once the mainstay even for Mac users, but it is no longer supported for the Mac and it is vulnerable to viruses. The Safari browser that came as part of the your OS is an excellent choice, as are Firefox and Opera browsers.

Step 3

Secure your Instant Messenger. Most IM programs have different levels of privacy filters. You want to set it to a fairly high setting that lets you screen any users who try to contact you for the first time. And again, don't download any files or images unless you are sure they are coming from a secure source.

Step 4

Secure your email. Use the top-tier of spam filtering available on your email program. Never download attachments unless you trust the source and know what the attachment includes. And while it seems like a drastic step, it's a good idea to disable images, which can contain embedded malware.

Step 5

Turn off/disable any macros you are using in MS Office when you are opening files you yourself didn't create. This includes files sent to you through email or distributed through a network. Even if you trust the source, any file created on a Windows OS system can transfer viruses to your Mac.