This article will help you to remove Mac Defender totally. Follow the removal instructions for the unwanted software given at the end of this article.
Mac Defender is a potentially unwanted program (PUP). The company is tied to applications which are considered PUPs and is also known to put different advertisements in their products to promote other software they have developed. Adding to that, scare messages might appear trying to trick Mac users into installing other PUPs. If you have Mac Defender installed on your Mac, then know that pop-ups and alert notifications that have no obvious source might be stemming from this software or any other similar applications.
Mac Defender Summary
|Name||Mac Defender also known as PUP.MacOS.MacDefender|
|Short Description||Mac Defender is a PUP. The application shows various advertisements and scare messages, trying to trick you to install other apps.|
|Symptoms||Pop-up boxes, messages, and alerts appear on your Mac machine. You are being lied to that there are viruses on your Mac and that you need to install a removal software within a given time frame.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installers, Suspicious Sites|
See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Mac Defender.|
Mac Defender PUP – Methods of Delivery
The Mac Defender unwanted application is being effectively distributed via freeware installers and bundled packages. You can get your Mac affected by it without even being aware, that the Mac Defender has installed on your machine with a freeware installation or bundled package. In such packages, additional components for installation are not always disclosed properly (or at all), and you can get tricked into installing apps such as Mac Defender. Sometimes this can be avoided if you check the Advanced or Custom option in an installation setup to see the full contents of what you are getting.
Suspicious sites are another source for the distribution of PUPs. Visiting such sites can end you up with a rogue program installed on your Mac. There are websites that advertise the program with pop-ups or banners that are probably their partners or belong to the same cloth of people that spread similar software.
Mac Defender PUP – More Insight
Mac Defender is a potentially unwanted program (PUP) and a previously known rogue anti-virus program. The program presents itself as an anti-malware program, but in fact pushes false positives and fake alerts. In addition, it puts various advertisements inside itself to point to other software which has similar modus operandi. Mac Defender remains a questionable software as it is also known to show such advertising pop-up messages and fake notifications.
From the screenshot posted below, you can see the main installer setup, which you could see if you have downloaded the Mac Defender PUP:
Mac Defender might show a reasonably convincing, but fake variant of the normal OS X dialog message box stating that no suitable app is installed.
The fake message box could link to the official Mac Defender website, which tries to install similar applications to Mac Defender. All these programs may have a valid, Apple-provided developer certificate, thus macOS will install them without prompting any particular warning or notification. The names of the programs might be one of the following:
- Mac Protector
- Mac Security
- Mac Guard
- Mac Shield
Mac Defender is also known as FakeMacDef for obvious reasons. The following screenshot shows a representation of Mac Defender, which has a screen that claims to have detected issues on your Mac system:
Mac Defender may try to trick many Mac users, using scare tactics, into installing more junk on their machines. If you have illogical behavior on your MacOS, experience slow-downs or have applications installed that you do not know the origin of, consider scanning your Mac with a legitimate security software and see if you can find the cause of all these issues.
Afterward, you can see a redirect link where you are prompted to register your version of Mac Defender, only to find yourself on this landing page displayed down here:
The authors of the rogue application have created the page so you can buy their software. Do not download, install or purchase any programs advertised from this or related applications. Especially, if they claim that your Mac has issues, albeit they cannot fix them unless you install another program or purchase a license.
Remove Mac Defender PUP
If you want to remove the Mac Defender unwanted software from your Mac machine we recommend that you use a specific anti-malware for Mac machines. The main goal of such a program is to scan your machine and terminate the files with malicious behavior and also clean up any malicious code in your repositories. In addition, with a specific anti-malware program, your computer will remain with a better protection and stay healthy performance-wise in the future.
About the Mac Defender Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Mac Defender how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific macOS issue.
How did we conduct the research on Mac Defender?
Please note that our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware definitions, including the various types of Mac threats, especially adware and potentially unwanted apps (PUAs).
Furthermore, the research behind the Mac Defender threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
1. macOS More Susceptible to Adware and PUPs than Windows
2. XLoader Malware-as-a-Service Now Available for macOS for Only $49
3. XCSSET Mac Malware Targets Apple’s M1-Based Macs and macOS 11
4. macOS Backdoor Malware Linked to OceanLotus Hackers
5. The State of Apple’s Privacy So Far in 2021
Before starting to follow the steps below, be advised that you should first do the following preparations:
- Backup your files in case the worst happens.
- Make sure to have a device with these instructions on standy.
- Arm yourself with patience.
Step 1: Uninstall Mac Defender and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:
3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Mac Defender:
4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.
5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Mac Defender. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.
6. Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Mac Defender. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.
7. Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove Mac Defender via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
1. Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:
2. Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:
3. Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Mac Defender. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Remove Mac Defender – related extensions from Safari / Chrome / Firefox
Step 3: Scan for and remove Mac Defender files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Mac Defender, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Quick and Easy Mac Malware Video Removal Guide
Step 4: How to Make Your Mac Run Faster?
Mac machines maintain probably the fastest operating system out there. Still, Macs do become slow and sluggish sometimes. The video guide below examines all of the possible problems that may lead to your Mac being slower than usual as well as all of the steps that can help you to speed up your Mac.
Mac Defender FAQ
What is Mac Defender on your Mac?
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your Mac to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your MacOS.
Can my Mac get a virus?
Yes. As much as any other device, Apple computers do get viruses. Apple devices may not be a frequent target by malware authors, but rest assured that the following Apple devices can become infected with a virus:
- Mac Mini
- Macbook Air
- Macbook Pro
What are the symptoms of Mac Defender on your Mac?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also most Mac threats in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your Mac may become slow and has poor performance in general.
Symtpom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Mac's Activity Monitor.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts reccomend that you check your Mac for viruses.
What types of Mac threats are there?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently infect your Mac can be the following types:
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Adware and hijackers.
- Trojan horses and other spyware.
- Ransomware and screen-lockers.
- Cryptocurrency miner malware.
What to do if I have a Mac virus, like Mac Defender?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most Mac threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them. One reccomended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you. There are many Mac anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter for Mac is one of the reccomended Mac anti-malware apps, that can scan for free and detect any viruses, tracking cookies and unwanted adware apps plus take care of them quickly. This saves time for manual removal that you would otherwise have to do.
How to secure my passwords and other data from Mac Defender?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your e-mail passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activiites with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these reccomendations, your network and Apple devices will become significantly more safe against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
More tips you can find on our MacOS Virus section, where you can also ask any questions and comment about your Mac problems.