How do I remove Flash Player malware

One in ten Macs infected with Flash malware

Kris Wallburg

It is the most widespread malware for MacOS: the "Shlayer" Trojan pretends to be Adobe Flash Player and thus finds its way onto millions of end devices. We will show you how to recognize an infected device and what to look out for in order not to fall victim to the Trojan.

EnlargeYou should only download Flash Player from the Adobe website

Do you still have Adobe Flash Player installed on your Mac? If so, then you should check whether it is serious. Ten percent of all Macs are infected with the "Shlayer" Trojan, which masquerades as Adobe Flash Player and thus sneaks onto your computer. The Flash Player, which has been the backbone of media playback on the Internet for years, has not only been replaced almost everywhere by the newer HTML 5, but is already integrated in many browsers. As of December 31, 2020, Adobe's support will be completely discontinued, which should completely remove the software from the network. If you still want to install the Flash Player, we will show you what to look out for.

What is "Shlayer" and how does the Trojan get onto my computer?

Shlayer is the name of a Trojan that, according to Intego, infected every tenth MacOS. This makes it the most common malware in this operating system. A Trojan horse is software that disguises itself as another and thus spreads. The unsuspecting user downloads the Trojan, believing it is different software, and installs it. This gives the Trojan access to the victim's computer and can cause damage. Shlayer looks at first sight and is advertised as an Adobe Flash Player. The malware is spread via advertising spaces and pop-ups on various, sometimes dubious, websites.

EnlargeSuch messages are intended to trick users into downloading an installation program for the Shlayer Trojan.

Once installed, the Shlayer Trojan can download additional malware onto your Mac.

Install Adobe Flash Player from a safe source

Basically, you should only download Flash Player from the developer's website. The following link will take you directly to the download on Adobe Flash Player on

Under no circumstances click on pop-ups or advertisements on websites that supposedly lead to the download of the software. Even if a website tells you that you must download Flash Player to view content, you should only download and install it directly from

Detect and remove Trojan Shlayer

MacOS systems usually get by without additional antivirus software, assuming a healthy level of skepticism when using the Internet. However, if you suspect that you have caught a virus or Trojan, an antivirus program can still help. This scans your computer for threats and eliminates them directly.

The anti-virus solutions for the Mac in comparison

In most cases, a free virus program is sufficient; for comprehensive protection there are also good offers from well-known companies. An exclusive reader offer from PC-Welt / Macwelt in cooperation with Norton offers you full protection for one year at a discounted price of 19.99 euros.

Here you can get Norton 360 Deluxe for 3 devices / 1 year at a price of 19.99 euros.