Apple just gave its security software a major boost without you knowing

college student using an iMac computer for studying
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Apple has been quietly souping up its malware protection all this time, covertly introducing a new anti-malware tool called "XProtect Remediator".

Mac blogger Howard Oakley, who first unearthered the feature, noted how macOS malware protection "has changed more than it did over the previous seven years" over the last six months.

"It has now gone fully pre-emptive, as active as many commercial anti-malware products," he added.

What's new?

Though Apple has been giving Mac users at least some level of malware protection via its XProtect tool since it released Mac OS X Snow Leopard back in 2008, the new tool, which was introduced in macOS 12.3 Monterey, takes a step forward in terms of proactivity.

XProtect Remediator frequently scans for malware in the background and fixes it when detected.

These scans occur at least once every day, though sometimes as frequently as every few hours, and tend to occur when the Mac is turned on but is not in active use.

The tool contains executable code modules that can find and remediate many types of common malware strains, including endemic trojan Adload, trojan dropper DubRobber, and the browser hijacker adware Genio.

Can I use this feature?

The new tool is available for users on macOS Monterey, macOS Big Sur, and macOS Catalina, but unfortunately not for users of previous iterations of ioS.

Apple certainly hasn't slowed down in terms of rolling out security updates and recently patched two zero-day vulnerabilities that were being used in the wild with updates to macOS Monterey 12.5.1, iOS 15.6.1, and iPadOS 15.6.1.

  • Not using a Mac? Check out our list which includes some of the best malware removal for PCs

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.