Scammers have been using ransomware to extort money from Windows users for a good while now, but over the past weekend a bunch of unlucky victims were hit with the first ransomware attacks to ever successfully target Apple Macs.
Ransomware works by encrypting the data on a computer’s hard drive, then informing the user that he’ll have to pay a ransom to the hacker in exchange for the decryption code.
In this case the scammers managed to infect version 2.90 of the popular “Transmission” app with the insidious KeRanger ransomware virus. The infected app was released on Friday, and users who downloaded it immediately infected their Macs with KeRanger.
Once infected, the machine works normally for three days, after which the virus begins encrypting all the files on the affected hard drive.
The company that makes the Transmission app has pulled the infected version of the app from its website and replaced it with a new version that automatically removes the KeRanger malware from infected Macs.
Bottom line: If you have downloaded version 2.90 of the Transmission app but your Mac has yet to be encrypted, you need to download version 2.92 of the app immediately. Failure to do so will result in the loss of all of your data unless you are willing to pay a $400 ransom to the scammers.
And now one final thought: This first-ever successful ransomware attack on Mac computers should put Mac users on notice that malware is no longer just a threat to Windows machines. It’s more important than ever that we take care when downloading apps and while using the Internet!
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