Apple Has Made Major Updates to macOS Malware Protection in 2022

Apple has made notable updates to macOS malware tools over the course of the last six months, according to updates tracked by Howard Oakley at Eclectic Lighting Company (via Ars Technica).

macOS Malware Feature
"In the last six months, macOS malware protection has changed more than it did over the previous seven years," writes Oakley in a blog post published this week. Malware detection on the Mac is now "fully pre-emptive" and as active as "many commercial anti-malware products."

Specifically, at around the time that macOS 12.3 Monterey was launched, Apple quietly introduced a new XProtect Remediator tool for its XProtect service that checks for malware in the background. XProtect Remediator more frequently looks for malware and fixes it if malware is detected.

Apple previously used the Malware Removal Tool (MRT) and XProtect, but XProtect was limited to checking apps and code against a list of known malware and MRT ran infrequently. Apple's new solution is more aggressive and offers more protection. Xproduct Remediator is available on Macs running macOS Monterey, macOS Big Sur, and macOS Catalina, but it is not available on Macs running older versions of macOS.

The new XProtect feature is updated regularly and it runs at least once per day, but sometimes even more frequently. For some malware checks, it runs as often as every hour or two, and it is able to identify a range of malware, such as Adload, DubRobber, Pirrit, SnowDrift, Trovi, and more.

Scans are most likely to take place when the Mac is awake but not in active use, and is primarily doing background tasks like backups and receiving email. Oakley says that the new malware protections represent a "big step forward" for those who are running the most recent versions of macOS, with more information available in Oakley's full blog post.

Top Rated Comments

TheDailyApple Avatar
5 weeks ago

I guess Mac users can't feel superior anymore, computer comes with Anti Malware...
Built-in security has always been a plus for an operating system. The things users hated (and still do) is trashy third party anti-virus programs that slow your computer down, get in the way, and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Ever since Windows 10 was released, Defender has been sufficient for anyone with good internet practices. Both operating systems still need extra security for people with bad security practices or who need extra protection, but their built in systems are sufficient for most. The thing Mac users hated about previous versions of Windows (Vista and earlier) was that a trashy third party antivirus was practically a necessity.

Oh, and if you had read the article you’d know that Macs already had anti-malware built in. The point of the article is that it’s gotten better.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
max2 Avatar
5 weeks ago
Thank you Apple!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheDailyApple Avatar
5 weeks ago
This is good to hear. As Macs get more popular, there is going to be more and more malware targeting them.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
VineRider Avatar
5 weeks ago
I wish Apple was more forthcoming about what their anti-malware engines were actually doing, and when....I wish they would log the scans, log the definition updates, give the user some idea of the protection being offered.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
polyphenol Avatar
5 weeks ago
Having dealt with lots of different third-party anti-virus/anti-malware products on Windows (and a couple on macOS), I hate them all with a vengeance.

When protection is, effectively, built into the OS, you know that every developer will have had to deal with it.

When protection is one of a dozen, or more, products, you cannot realistically expect developers to have dealt with more than a small proportion.

Please can I have back the hours I have spent trying to identify why some software is not working on some machines - but is fine on others. Eventually finding that removal of anti-malware fixes it. But on the adjacent machine all is well with it installed.

(And removal of anti-malware software can be harder than getting rid of some actual malware.)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djam Avatar
5 weeks ago

Many thanks Apple but why quietly?
Apple have traditionally used Mac's "virus free" nature as a selling tool. You don't want to change that perception if you don't have to.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.6 With Security Updates

Monday September 12, 2022 9:55 am PDT by
While we have to wait a bit longer for the macOS Ventura launch, Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.6. macOS Monterey 12.6 is the sixth major update to macOS Monterey and it comes a couple months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.5. The ‌‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌‌ 12.6 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. ...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.5.1 With Security Updates

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:49 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.5.1, a minor update to the macOS Monterey operating system that first launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.5.1 comes a month after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.5. The ‌‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌‌ 12.5.1 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. According to Apple's...
safari icon blue banner

Apple Releases Safari 15.6.1 for macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina With Important Security Fix

Thursday August 18, 2022 11:15 am PDT by
Apple today released Safari version 15.6.1 for the older macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina operating systems. The update includes an important security fix for a WebKit vulnerability that could lead to arbitrary code execution, according to Apple. Apple said it is aware of a report that the WebKit vulnerability may have been actively exploited, so updating Safari is highly recommended....
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.5 With Safari and TV App Updates

Wednesday July 20, 2022 9:45 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.5, the fifth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.5 more than two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.4. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.5 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. According to Apple's...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of macOS Monterey 12.5 to Developers, Adds Support for M2 Macs [Update: Public Beta Available]

Friday June 24, 2022 12:35 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming macOS Monterey 12.5 update to developers for testing purposes, with the new update coming two weeks after the release of the third macOS Monterey 12.5 beta. Registered developers can download the beta through the Apple Developer Center and after the appropriate profile is installed, betas will be available through the Software Update...
macOS Monterey on MBP Feature

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.2 With Safari Vulnerability Fix

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:19 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.2, the second major update to the macOS Monterey update that launched in October. macOS Monterey 12.2 comes over a month after the release of the 12.1 update, which brought SharePlay support. The ‌‌‌macOS Monterey 12.2‌‌ update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. Apple has also...
macOS Big Sur Feature Triad

Apple Fixed Two Actively Exploited Vulnerabilities in macOS 12.3.1 Monterey, But Hasn't Released Updates for Big Sur or Catalina

Wednesday April 6, 2022 12:55 pm PDT by
With the release of macOS Monterey 12.3.1 on Thursday, March 31, Apple addressed two critical vulnerabilities that may have been actively exploited in the wild, but as Intego pointed out this week, Apple left macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina users vulnerable. The macOS Monterey 12.3.1 update fixed a pair of security flaws, including an AppleAVD issue that could allow an application to...

Popular Stories

USB C Over Lightning Feature

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C by End of 2024

Tuesday October 4, 2022 3:30 am PDT by
The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The proposal, known as a directive, forces all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Europe to ensure that a wide range of devices feature a USB-C port. This...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

10 New iOS 16 Features Coming Later This Year

Monday October 3, 2022 2:41 pm PDT by
iOS 16 was released to the public three weeks ago with a customizable Lock Screen, the ability to edit iMessages, improvements to Focus modes, and much more. And in the coming months, iPhone and iPad users have even more new features to look forward to. We've rounded up 10 new features coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year, according to Apple. Many of the features are part of iOS...
ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
Apple SIM Card

Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads

Sunday October 2, 2022 8:04 am PDT by
As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document. Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro...
maxresdefault

Video: AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort II

Monday October 3, 2022 12:50 pm PDT by
Apple on September 23 officially launched the second-generation version of the AirPods Pro, introducing updated Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound, and more. Right around the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features, so we thought we'd compare the two to see which has the edge. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
General YouTube Feature 1

You May Soon Need to Be a YouTube Premium Subscriber to Watch 4K Videos

Monday October 3, 2022 4:29 am PDT by
YouTube may make watching videos in 4K quality on the platform exclusive to only YouTube Premium subscribers, according to screenshots posted by users on Twitter and Reddit. On Reddit (1,2) and Twitter, some users have started to recently notice that on iOS, and presumably across other platforms also, YouTube is now saying that in order to watch videos in 4K, the user must be a paying...
dynamic island alan dye

Apple Executives Talk About iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island in New Interview

Sunday October 2, 2022 10:48 am PDT by
In a new interview, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, and Apple's vice president of human interface design, Alan Dye, sat down to discuss the thinking behind the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island and how it was developed. During the interview with the Japanese magazine Axis, Federighi, who oversees the development of iOS, said Dynamic Island represents the...