That Macs are more secure than Windows is a myth. Experts know that and so are a lot of end-users. Still, despite the fact that more and more people now know how to protect their machines from vulnerabilities, there’s a huge number of Mac users that still fall victim to ad pop-ups, adware, and browser hijackers. If you don’t know why these internet pests are so rampant, we’ll tell you why: they generate a lot of money for their developers. These type of malicious programs are meant to collect your browsing habits so their creators can generate web traffic and collect fees for ads that show in your machine. If you are one of the many people who keeps getting annoying ads or pop-ups everytime you visit a site, this article is for you. If you don’t know what we mean, these are the telltale signs that your Mac is infected with malware:
- ad banners and pop-ups show on webpages you visit
- you’re being redirected to an entirely new page or site when browsing
- your Mac keeps on showing browser pop-ups about fake or suspect software
- your Mac has installed programs you don’t know of
Among the popular unwanted toolbars known to infect Macs include these: VSearch, Conduit, Genieo, GoPhoto, Jollywallet, Savekeep, MacShop, Yontoo, Shopper Helper Pro, Slick Savings, PallMall, Awesome Screenshot.
If your browser has one of these toolbars, chances are you have an infected machine. So what do you do now? Well, just read on!
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How to remove ad popups on your Mac
Pop-ups are not limited to showing ads as they can also be notices, offers, or phishing methods. The important thing to remember though is that most of them are browser-related so the main task for you is to know how to remove unwanted pop-ups from browsers you may be using. In general, malicious software that installs adware or ad pop-ups also install a new toolbar or extension in your browser. Some may change the default setting of your search engine to something different. In this post, we will tell you how to remove extensions, toolbars, or reset your browser to completely get rid of adware.
Remove ad pop-ups on Safari browser
Most Mac users use the default browser, Safari, on their day-to-day browsing activities. If you are one of them and you notice that your browser keeps on showing ad pop-ups, or that your search engine has been changed to a third party one, the best thing that you can do is to reset it. Here’s how it’s done:
- Open the Safari browser.
- On the Apple menu bar, click Safari and then do the following:
- Select Preferences: On the Extensions tab, look for any suspicious plug-ins. If you find any suspicious extension in the list, click Uninstall to remove it.
- Select Reset Safari: In the Reset Safari window, to restore the default settings of Safari, check all the boxes and then click Reset.
Remove ad pop-ups on Chrome browser
If you don’t usually use Safari, chances are you’re a Firefox user or a Chrome user. If it’s the latter, below are the steps to clean it up. Like in Safari, the steps below should give you ways to remove extensions and reset Chrome.
- Open Google Chrome browser.
- On the Apple menu bar, click Chrome and then select Preferences.
- In the left-pane of the Settings page, and then do the following:
- Select Extensions: If you find any suspicious extension in the list, click the Trash icon to remove it.
- Select Settings: Scroll down and click Show advanced settings. From the list of advanced settings, to restore the default settings of Chrome, click Reset browser settings.
- In the dialog box that appears, click Reset.
Remove ad pop-ups on Firefox browser
Firefox is one of the popular browsers for both Mac and Windows alike and as such, is also most commonly attacked my malware. To clean this browser on your Mac, follow these steps:
- Open the Firefox browser.
- On the Apple menu bar, do one of the following:
- Click Tools and then select Add-ons. In the Add-ons Manager page, in the left-pane, click Extensions. If you find any suspicious extension in the list, click the Remove button next to the extension to remove it.
- Click Help and then select Troubleshooting Information. In the Troubleshooting Information page, under Reset Firefox to its default state, click Reset Firefox.
- Click Reset Firefox. Resetting Firefox to its initial state will also remove all the Add-ons or Extensions.
Uninstall unwanted programs
Some third party programs may actually allow malware to be installed without your knowledge so we recommend that you regularly monitor what apps or programs are in the system. To do that, check your Applications folder to see if you have any apps that you didn’t expect and uninstall them.
You can uninstall an app by doing the following:
- In the Finder sidebar, click on Applications.
- If an app is in a folder, open the app’s folder to check for an Uninstaller. If you see Uninstall App or App Uninstaller, double-click it and follow the onscreen instructions.
- If an app isn’t in a folder or doesn’t have an Uninstaller, drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located at the end of the Dock), then choose Finder > Empty Trash.
- Make sure to empty the Trash after moving an unwanted app to permanently remove it.
How to prevent ad pop-ups on your Mac
Now that you’ve already removed pop-ups from your machine, it should always be your goal to never allow them from infecting your Mac again. If you’re wondering what to do, follow our suggestions below.
Install OS updates
By default, your Mac is set to download and install software updates on its own. If you changed this default setting before, make sure that you manually check for updates from time to time. In a lot of times, operating system updates contain patches for known bugs and improvements so it’s good if you don’t skip them.
Remember, the best way to install updates for your apps is by going to the Mac App Store. If you have a third party app that needs updates, be sure to get it directly from the developer. DO NOT just click on any ad or link to get updates. If you do, you’re most likely opening your machine for a malware attack.
If you’re not sure if an ad pop-up is legit or not, the best thing that you can do is to play safe. Try to avoid interacting with any ads, especially an ad pop-up that surfaces on your screen out of the blue. Remember, you are the first line of defense of your computer. Not only are ad pop-ups annoying but they can also do much more sinister, like slow your machine down significantly, or worse, steal your personal information. Don’t be a clicking idiot. Think before you click on anything, especially around unwanted pop-ups. Keep in mind that one tactic hackers employ to force you to click on a booby-trapped link is to create fake buttons that may appear like the close button. If you think your web browser has way too many pop-ups, simply close it and do our suggestions above.
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