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Apple prides itself in having laptop computers that uphold the highest measures in security and privacy. At one point, there was even a rumor circulating the internet that Apple devices can’t get viruses. While this has certainly been debunked, it IS true that MacBooks are less susceptible to Windows malware type of infections. But as of late, MacBooks were introduced to a new invader: ransomware
Earlier this week, it was uncovered that ransomware successfully targeted a Mac OS for the first time. Aptly named, ransomware encrypts data and locks up a computer until the owner pays a “ransom fee” with BitCoin to gain access again. The software stays rogue for three days, then specifically targets and encrypts important programs and files like photos, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, and others.
The harmful software was embedded in a version of Transmission, a popular torrent software that enables peer-to-peer sharing in BitTorrent. According to sources, Transmission’s servers were compromised over the weekend and infected with the software.
Luckily, the infected software was discovered early on (only four hours after upload) by two analysts from Palo Alt Networks, a security firm based in California. Both Apple and Transmission were able to cut it off before it could affect any more users.
Apple revoked the developer certificate, which prevented further downloads and also stopped the software from working on already-infected Macs. Transmission quickly released version 2.92 of their software, which claimed to “automatically remove the ransomware from infected Macs.”
This ransomware is the first successful attack on a Mac OS. An earlier form of ransomware, named FileCoder, was discovered back in 2014; but since it was incomplete when it was discovered, it never had a chance to get out.
So how does it affect you? Thankfully, the ransomware attack has a relatively small scope, around 7,000 computers according to Forbes. However, if you are one of the unlucky few who contracted the malicious software, you should download the newest version of Transmission (2.92).