Almost 50% of macOS malware reportedly comes from single app — delete it now

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 sitting on a patio table
(Image credit: Future)

It used to be a common maxim that Macs aren’t really vulnerable to malware. While that's not true, research by Elastic Security Labs (opens in new tab) found that macOS (opens in new tab) accounts for a small 6.2% of malware infections compared to 54.4% for Windows. But there’s a catch.

The security firm found that nearly 50% of Mac malware comes from the MacKeeper app. Designed to offer security-centric features, such as digitally cleaning a Mac, and bolstering privacy, it's actually a source for 48% of all macOS malware; yes, that’s the irony bell ringing. 

“While its initial purpose is to aid MacOS users, often it can be abused by adversaries since it already has extensive permissions and access to processes and files,” Elastic Security Labs report explained. 

So that’s not to say MacKeeper is malicious in of itself, but that it can be easily exploited to be used as a vehicle for malware. As our sister site Laptop Mag (opens in new tab) points out, MacKeeper doesn’t have the most glowing of reputations when it comes to being safe and secure. As such, we’d advise you avoid this app and go for more reputable third-party security tools. 

How to delete MacKeeper

If you have been using MacKeeper, then you’ll probably want to purge it from your Mac. To do this quickly, use the Finder tool and click on Applications. From there search for the Mackeeper app

Once you’re on it, click on the plus sign, but make sure “This Mac” option is selected. Then click on the Name heading to open a menu and then click on Other

This will let you then scroll down to System Files. Click on Name once again and then select System Files again, making sure “aren’t included” is changed to “are included.” 

You’ll then be greeted by a folder in which you'll want to delete all the files. To do that, right click and select “Move to Trash.” Once that’s done, MacKeeper should be history. You can empty the Trash app in macOS to make sure you fully purge it. 

Once done you can rest a little more easily knowing your Mac machine isn’t sitting vulnerable to opportunistic hackers. But we still advise you to make use of one of our picks for the best antivirus software to shore up your Mac’s defences. 

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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.