Reader Question: "Do I have a Virus on My Mac?!"

There are some questions that I am asked more often than others. Over time, those questions morph from one common theme to another. Over the last month or so, I have noticed an increase in the number of people asked me the same question... "Do I have a virus on my Mac?!" Over the last two weeks, not a day has gone by when I haven't been asked this very question by someone.

So what is it that prompts this question? One minute, you're harmlessly browsing the Internet. The next minute, the following appears on your screen and out of nowhere.

One of the reasons I use Mac OS X as my primary Operating System is because it just simply doesn't attract viruses like Windows does. In fact, it's not even close. There are a few viruses out there that target OS X, but they aren't common at all, and when detected, Apple is very quick to protect against them. So why this? Why now?

In short, this is not a virus. This is a phishing at attack. If you look closely, you will see that the message tells you that you are having problems with your system, and to correct it, you should call the toll-free number. By doing so, a so-called "Apple support agent" will gladly take control of your computer and do who-knows-what to your system.

Before I continue, a strong word of caution... DO NOT CALL THAT NUMBER!!!!

Calling the number is bad, bad news, as you can imagine now. So, how do you fix the problem? Simply closing and re-opening Safari won't do the trick (not long-term, anyway). Nor will rebooting your computer. The fix, however, is equally as simple.

When you see a message similar to the one above, Quit Safari (Cmd+Q). If needed, you can Force Quit by clicking on the Apple logo and going to Force Quit... From there, choose Safari and click the "Force Quit" button. Once Safari is closed, press and hold the Shift key while re-opening Safari. Holding Shift while opening Safari will open Safari in Safe Mode. This will effectively clear out what is in it's cache. This will result in a clean session of Safari.

Posted on September 7, 2015 and filed under How To, Mac, Opinion.