Though ransomware has been a brutal reality for smartphones and Windows PCs for a while, no Mac user ever had to worry about being affected until now. Researchers of Palo Alto Networks Inc told Reuters this Sunday that over the weekend the hackers attacked Mac users by this detrimental type of software named “KeRanger.”
If you are unaware of what ransomware is, it’s the fastest-growing nefarious software that encrypts data of your machine and demands a ransom to let you retrieve your data. In this case, the KeRanger demands a ransom of 1 bitcoin, or about $400.
According to Ryan Olson, Palo Alto Threat Intelligence Director KeRanger was the first functioning ransomware that attacked Apple’s Mac computers. In a telephone interview, he said, “This is the first one in the wild that is definitely functional, encrypts your files and seeks a ransom.”
Macs were infected through a corrupted copy of a popular program called Transmission that is used to transmit data through the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing network. It happened when the users downloaded the 2.90 version of transmission, which was released on Friday.
The KeRanger is programmed in a way that it would be quiet for three days after infecting a computer. Just after three days, it would connect to the attacker’s server and start encrypting all the files on that PC so users couldn’t access their data. Then it would demand ransom from the user to decrypt the data. So, those who have installed Transmission version 2.90 could start losing access to their data on Monday.
However, if you are one of them, no need to worry. An Apple representative said that they had already taken steps to prevent further infection by opposing a digital certificate that could disable the knave software to install on Macs. It already released a new version (2.92) of Transmission on Sunday and users are strictly recommended to install the update immediately.