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Is Clean My Mac a Virus?

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53 minutes ago, Rubytuz said:

Someone told me that the Clean My Mac app is a virus. I like how it gets rid of unnecessary files.

Is there any reason I should not use Clean My Mac? 

Not in anyway shape or form and that "someone" has no idea what a virus even is.

A virus is a piece of computer code that is able to self replicate.  That is it is able to spread autonomously.  Such as from file to file or system to system. 

For example a file infecting virus will prepend, append or cavity inject malicious code into a legitimate file.  Once infected, that infected file can further the infection by infecting other legitimate files.
A computer worm is a sub-type of virus that uses computer constructs to spread such as email, network protocols and such facilities as AutoRun/AutoPlay associated with USB and other removable storage devices.

People are falsely assuming that all malicious software are viruses when viruses are now a very small player in the malicious software arena.  The overarching concept of MALicious softWARE is malware and comprises of all viruses and their sub-types, all trojans and their sub-types and all code used to exploit software vulnerabilities.

Thus when someone calls an application (a set of executables and dependency files set in concert to perform a given functionality) a "virus" they do not know what they are talking about.

Edited by David H. Lipman
Edited for content, clarity, spelling and/or grammar
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As has already been mentioned, it's definitely not a virus or even malware. The jury is out a bit on whether Clean My Mac is what we call a PUP - a Potentially Unwanted Program.

We have certain criteria for PUPs here at Malwarebytes, such as whether it uses deceptive techniques to get installed or to convince a user to purchase, whether it uses tricks that appear to be deliberately designed to make it hard to remove, etc. (We don't publish the list, but you get the idea.) For us, Clean My Mac has not met enough of these criteria for us to detect it as a PUP. Some of MacPaw's software behaves differently enough on Windows to warrant detection by us, and some other security companies will detect Clean My Mac as a PUP.

Regardless of where we officially come down on its PUP status, I would absolutely recommend not using any kind of so-called "cleaning" software. The files that such software "cleans" (ie, deletes) are things that have a purpose. Cache files are there to keep your Mac and your apps running efficiently, and deleting them can cause a temporary performance decrease as those cache files are rebuilt. Log files are there to provide information if you have trouble with an app, and deleting them can make it difficult or impossible for the developer of an app - including Apple, in the case of the system or preinstalled apps - from figuring out what went wrong if you have a problem. In both cases, deleting these files leads to a very temporary - and usually very minor - increase in free space on the hard drive, which goes away again over time.

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Thank you for these thoughtful answers. I've decided, based on your answers, that I will not spend $ on something that seems to serve no useful purpose. You helped me make that decision. I think we've done something productive here :)


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