Apple macOS malware protection overhaul

According to an update tracked by Howard Oakley of Eclectic Lighting Company, Apple has made a major update to its macOS malware tool in the past six months. "macOS malware protection has changed more in the past six months than it has in the past seven years." Malware detection on Mac is now "entirely proactive" and as active as "many commercial protection products".

Around the time of the release of macOS 12.3 Monterey, Apple quietly launched a new XProtect Remediator tool for its XProtect service that checks for malware in the background, the report said. XProtect Remediator looks for malware more frequently and fixes it when it detects it.

Apple Macs were previously equipped with the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MRT) and XProtect, but XProtect was limited to checking applications and code against a list of known malware, and MRT rarely ran. 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 not on Macs running older versions of macOS. The new XProtect feature is updated regularly and runs at least once a day, sometimes more frequently, with scans most likely to occur when the Mac is awake but not active. For some malware checks, it runs every hour or two and is able to identify a range of malware such as Adload, DubRobber, Pirrit, SnowDrift, Trovi, and more.

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