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9 Ways to Know if Your Mac Has Been Hacked

Last Updated May 18, 2022

The Mac is advertised as being a device that’s hard to hack, but it can still happen. Just like with Windows and HP, hackers have found ways to infiltrate Mac’s networks and hardware. But what signs point to a hacked Mac

In this article, we will go over 9 ways to know if your Mac has been hacked, as well as how it’s possible it can be hacked and how to fix it when it has been hacked. Keep reading to learn more.

9 Ways to Know If Your Mac Has Been Hacked

Internal and external issues can all be warning signs of a hacked device. The physical inner workings of a device’s mechanical engineering can be a tell-tale sign of a hacked Mac, as are external issues such as an appearance of more ads or suddenly changed passwords.

Below are the top nine examples of a hacked Mac:

  1. A Mac that’s running slowly: A device running slower can be a clear indication of a malware issue, a software made to corrupt an operating system. 
  2. Louder than usual fans: Also due to a malware issue, malware causes systems to run hot and causes more strain on the mechanical system. 
  3. Toolbars and browser add-ons: Randomly added browser add-ons and toolbars that you did not install on your own accord can show that your Mac has been hacked. 
  4. Greater number of pop ups then usual: More frequent ads or pop ups can be a clear indication of a malware issue or virus. 
  5. A changed home page: A changed home page is a clear indication of a system ‘hijacking’, usually used to lead the user to dangerous websites to cause further damage to their operating systems. 
  6. Redirected searches: Being redirected to different search browsers is a clear indication of a virus, once again used to lead the user to more dangerous websites where information can be stolen and further damage can be caused to the operating system. 
  7. Odd webcam behavior: If the user notices saved videos or audio files they did not make to their computer, or that the webcam light is on when they did not turn it on, it’s a clear indicator that the webcam has been hacked. 
  8. Passwords no longer work: If changed passwords and then changed security questions are noticed, it’s a clear indication that the Mac user has been hacked. 
  9. Freezing or crashing device: Malware or viruses can cause extreme stress on a computer operating system and cause issues such as freezing or crashing. 

There’s still a lot more to know about a Mac being hacked, so stick around and we’ll cover everything you need to know. 

What Can Hack Your Mac? 

Now that you know your Mac can be hacked and some examples that show it has been hacked, you may be wondering what can hack your Mac.

Here are some types of viruses and malware that can hack your Mac:

Types of Viruses & MalwareHow the Virus Works
Trojans and virusesA Trojan is a type of virus, the difference between viruses and Trojans is that Trojans cannot execute and duplicate themselves like a virus can. 
                                Worms       A worm is a type of malware that can spread to other computers and infect them while still causing damage on the original device. 
RansomwareRansomware denies the user access to programs or files on their device in return for a payment. 
RootkitsRootkits allow the hacker to gain access to a device without being revealed. 
PhishingPhishing involves fooling users on the internet into giving out personal information via links, emails and websites.
PUP’s (Potentially Unwanted Programs)PUP’s are software (junkware) that you downloaded without the intent to, found often in software you did download on purpose. 
AdwareAdware viruses are the pop ups and ads that show up as you browse or work on your device.
Fake antivirus programsFake antivirus programs are programs mimicking antivirus programs in order to gain access to your computer or laptop. 
CryptominingCryptomining viruses, not to be confused with legal crypto mining, attack the users device resources to search for hidden crypto currency.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the major names of well-known malware and viruses breaking down Apple’s defenses.

Most Well-Known Viruses That Can Hack a Mac

So we know a Mac can in fact be hacked, but what exactly is hacking your device? 

The most well known viruses and malware to attack Macs in 2022 are as follows: 

  • GoSearch22 (Pirri)
  • Silver Sparrow
  • LoudMiner
  • ThiefQuest
  • GravityRAT
  • CrescentCore
  • DOK

Now, let’s take a look at how to prevent your Mac from being hacked.

How to Prevent Your Mac from Being Hacked

While Apple has put forth a strong wall of protection between your Mac and the hackers of the world with Gatekeeper and the built in antivirus xProtect, sometimes they still fail. But more times than not, when paired with known safety precautions, they will protect your Mac well.

Below, we’ll talk about what these two applications are, how they protect your Mac, and an even further precaution you can take to prevent your Mac from being hacked.

Use Mac’s Built-In Security Features

As mentioned above, Mac has two built-in security features: Gatekeeper and xProtect. But, what are they?

These two applications protect your Mac from being hacked by:

  • Gatekeeper is Apple’s strict security guard. It warns you when applications or downloads look like they might cause trouble to your systems integrity and warn you of such before even allowing you to complete the download. 
  • xProtect reacts when you download a program or application from the internet that is verified by Apple but isn’t a Mac application, such as a program that would normally be run on Windows or HP. It’s the same program that gives pop-ups warning that the application is downloaded from the internet. 

Now, let’s take a look at another method to prevent your Mac from being hacked.

Use an Antivirus Software

If Gatekeeper and xProtect fail, the other options are other antivirus softwares. Antivirus softwares are made to search for, prevent, detect and remove viruses from an operating software. 

One well known antivirus is Malwarebytes. Not only does the software have both a free and a paid for plan, but it offers a 60 day money-back guarantee, a VPN for extra protection, and works on a number of operating systems including Mac.


Now you know what to look out for if you believe someone has hacked your Mac, common sources of viruses and malware in Macs, and how to prevent your Mac from being hacked again in the future.

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