Own a Macintosh computer? We’re sure you think it’s the best computer on Earth….safe from hacker attacks. Well, think again. This past weekend, Apple customers have been targeted by a new and fast circulating malware called Ransomware. Those who are initiating it want more than just a reaction….they want cash.
The problem was first detected when a team of researchers at Palo Alto Networks found a popular BitTorrent client for Apple’s OS X software for Macs that was infected with the ransomware, which they have dubbed “KeRanger.” Researchers believe it’s the first ever ransomware attack that actually made it out. It sure is bad news for those downloading addicts. The BitTorrent software in question is Transmission, which Mac users can install on Apple’s OS X operating system and then use to access shared files in so-called torrent swarms. The KeRanger ransomware arrives as a real threat. “This is the first one in the wild that is definitely functional, encrypts your files and seeks a ransom,” Palo Alto Threat Intelligence Director Ryan Olson said. The so-called ransomware is a type of malicious software that restricts access to a computer system in some way and demands the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction.
The programmers require victims to pay one Bitcoin, which a little more that $400, to retrieve their files. Palo Alto said this is the first time a fully functional version of ransomware has been detected in Apple’s operating system.
Apple will soon release a blog letting Mac users know how to see if their machines are infected with the virus and how to prevent it. Transmission’s website is warning people of this threat and advising users to upgrade to 2.91 version of the software. KeRanger, which locks data on Macs so users cannot access it, was downloaded about 6,500 times before Apple and developers were able to thwart the threat, said John Clay, a representative.
The question is….”How did KeRanger make it past the security guards in the first place?” According to Palo Alto Networks, “the KeRanger application was signed with a valid Mac app development certificate, therefore, it was able to bypass Apple’s Gatekeeper protection.” Since their fortress has been breached, many people must be asking how strong the walls really are.