There are many who are inclined to believe that Mac computers are less susceptible to hacks or viruses compared to Windows, which unfortunately isn’t particularly true. In fact just over the weekend, it has been reported by Mac users were targeted by a ransomware campaign, according to searchers with Palo Alto Networks in a report from Reuters.
For those who are unaware about ransomware, basically what happens is that your files or entire computer gets locked up and encrypted, with the key to the decryption held by the hacker. Victims are then required to pay a ransom (hence the term ransomware) before their computers are unlocked and their files are given back, otherwise in some cases, the decryption keys are thrown away and never to be seen or heard of again.
Just last month a hospital in Los Angeles was a victim to such a hack, in which they were then forced to pay $17,000 just to get some of their files back (the hackers had originally asked for $3.6 million). That being said, Palo Alto Networks claims that this is the first functioning ransomware that attacks Apple’s Mac computers specifically.
According to Palo Alto Threat Intelligence Director Ryan Olson, “This is the first one in the wild that is definitely functional, encrypts your files and seeks a ransom.” Apple has also responded by revoking a digital certificate that allowed the software to be installed on computers. The software that was infected is called Transmission, a BitTorrent P2P client, who has since warned users that their latest software has been infected, and are asking users to upgrade to a newer build to avoid any issues.