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How to Tell If a Mac Has Been Hacked: Ways & Suggestions

Updated on Thursday, May 16, 2024

iBoysoft author Rivers Wong

Written by

Rivers Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


How to Tell If a Mac Has Been Hacked

Compared to Windows PCs, it seems that Mac has a rather low chance of being hacked due to its powerful security feature and Apple's built-in anti-virus XProtect. Also, the market share of those two companies plays an important role in this issue.

But it is unwise to think that Mac computers will never get hacked because there are no absolutes in this world. If your Mac has been hacked and you fail to notice that in time, the consequences will be terrible.

Well, how to tell if a Mac has been hacked? Is there a sign of it? Keep reading to figure it out.

How to tell if a Mac has been hacked

How to tell if a Mac has been hacked?

If you think your Mac has been hacked, how to tell if a Mac has been hacked? First, you should pay extra attention to the abnormal behavior of your Mac. Then, after finding that your Mac is indeed behaving abnormally, confirm it with the method mentioned below.

Signs that may indicate your Mac is being hacked

Here are some possible signs your Mac may show after being hacked:

  • Your Mac is running much slower than usual: A device running slower can be a clear sign of a malware issue. Malware will corrupt the operating system of your Mac causing a drop in running speed.
  • Passwords no longer work: If your Mac has been hacked, you may fail to access any files or programs that need passwords to open, even though you are the one who set it up in the first place.
  • File content changed: The file content is changed without knowing, and you can ensure that you are not the one who change it.
  • Greater number of pop-ups than usual: All of a sudden, when you are browsing a website or doing some work on the desktop, there are a greater number of pop-ups or ads than usual. This may be a clear indication that your Mac has been hacked.
  • Home page changed to a website that looks weird: The changed home page may be caused by malware. And it is used to lead users to a dangerous website that will further damage their operating system.
  • Any program automatically starts but you haven't run it.

It is worth saying that there are many more symptoms that a hacked Mac will show, and the above list is part of them. And other improper operations may lead to the symptoms we mentioned as well.

How to know if your Mac has been hacked?

When you notice that there is some suspicious behavior on your Mac, you can do further confirmation. Here's how to know if your Mac has been hacked:

Method 1: Check if there's some suspicious account.

  1. Go to Launchpad > Others > Terminal.
  2. Open Terminal, copy the following command into the Terminal window and hit Return.sudo -l
  3. Type your password and press Return again.type command line into Terminal
  4. Type the following command into Terminal, and hit Return to list all existing accounts on your Mac.dscl . list /users
  5. Check if any suspicious account has been created without your permission.
  6. Check whether any account has been misused by typing the command below into Terminal, and press Return.last

Apple will list the time and date of the last login for each existing account. If the most recent login happens at a time that you think is abnormal, then your Mac is likely being hacked.

Method 2: Check if there's some strange activity on your Mac.

Here's how to know if your Mac has been hacked:

  1. Go to Launchpad > Others > Activity Monitor.find Activity Monitor in Lauchpad
  2. Double-click the Activity Monitor to open it.
  3. Check if there is some strange activity going on. Pay extra attention to network activity.check if there is some strange activity going on in Activity Monitor

Method 3: Check if anyone is sharing or accessing your files without your knowledge.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of the desktop.
  2. Choose System Preferences, find Sharing and open it.open Sharing part in System Preferences

In the Sharing part of the System Preferences, you can check if anyone suspicious has found a way to access and share your personal files on your Mac with others.

Method 4: Run a sweep of your system with some security software.

The most feasible way to tell if a Mac has been hacked is to download some security software on your Mac, and let it run a sweep of your system. By doing that, you can quickly know whether some viruses or malware have made their way to the computer.

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How to protect your Mac from hackers?

Here's a checklist of ways to prevent your Mac from being hacked:

  • Download some security software, and run a deep sweep of your Mac's system frequently.
  • Update your Mac to the latest operating system. When Apple releases a new version of macOS, it fixes a few bugs and flaws, which also reduces the chance that your Mac may get hacked.
  • Avoid clicking suspicious links in e-mails, it might lead you to some dangerous websites.
  • Do not use any external devices that you can't make sure of their security.


This post shows you how to tell if a Mac has been hacked, and how to protect your Mac from hackers before it actually happens. Anyway, prevention is better than cure.