The first Ransomware against Macintosh computers had just commenced this weekend. This Sunday, it was revealed by researchers of Palo Alto Networks Inc. that the first campaign of hackers against the said Apple Inc. product was launched and customers found themselves, or rather their computers, threatened with the malicious software.
The new OS X ransomware software, according to Palo Alto Threat Intelligence Director Ryan Olson, is the first functioning ransomware that was attacking Mac computers. The KeRanger malware reportedly first appeared this Friday. Olson said, in a phone interview, that this ransomware is the first malware in the wild that is definitely functional, encrypts user’s files and seeks a ransom, reports Reuters.
Ransomware is currently one of the fastest growing types of cyber threats. It has been estimated by security experts that ransoms from cyber criminals total to hundreds of millions a year. However, in the past, the Windows operating system of Microsoft Corporation was the typical target, so it was a bit surprising or alarming that these threats are now expanding to Mac.
On a Palo Alto blog posted just this March 6, it revealed that the hackers infected the Mac computers through a tainted copy of the “Transmission” program. This program enables the user to transfer data through the BitTorrent peer to peer file sharing network.
The blog also informed the public that the upgraded version of the software which is version 2.90 are discovered to be infected with the ransomware when it was downloaded by Mac users this Friday, the same day which the said version is just released.
Olson has also said that those who have machines infected by ransomware and have not been cleaned up might start losing access to data starting this Monday, which is three days after the malware has been first uploaded to the site of Transmission.
Meanwhile, Palo Alto Networks said on its website that it has reported the issue to both the Transmission Project and Apple, in which the both have taken steps to prevent further infection of their customer’s PCs. Transmission Project has removed the malicious installers from its website.
Apple on the other hand, has revoked the digital certificate that enabled the rogue software to install on Macs and updated XProtect antivirus signature. Meanwhile, Palo Alto Networks has also added steps to stop the KeRanger malware from impacting systems by updating URL filtering and Threat Prevention.
Reuters adds that Transmission has then released another version of its software, which is version 2.92 this Sunday on its site. Accordingly it automatically removes the ransomware from infected Macs. Currently, the site is urging all its users to immediately install the new update if they suspected that their machines have been infected.
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