Hackers successfully target Apple computers with ‘ransomware’ for first time


Apple has been in the news a lot lately regarding security. The company is currently involved in a feud with the U.S. government over releasing security details that would allow the government to break into iPhones (or at least one iPhone) in order to continue the criminal investigation of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Although Mac computers have been known for their resistance to viruses and other malicious software, according to security researchers, Apple computers have now been successfully targeted by ‘ransomware.’

Read more: Apple: Complying with order to break into terrorist’s iPhone could leave thousands at risk

The enterprise security company Palo Alto Networks discovered the ransomware on OS X on March 4 and immediately reported it to Apple. 

Macs successfully targeted by ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks down or restricts access to a computer system, and then demands that the user pay a ransom to the creators of the malware to remove it from the infected computer. This particular ransomware, called keRanger, requires infected computer owners to pay a ransom of one Bitcoin, (or roughly $400) to be able to access their files. 

Hackers were able to attach the malware to Mac computers via two versions of a popular file-sharing program called ‘Transmission.’ According to Palo Alto Networks, this is the first time a full version of ransomware has been able to infect Apple’s operating system. 

Apple took steps to protect users after being alerted to the problem, but the fact that this ransomware was able to breech Apple’s operating system should be of great concern to Apple users. Let’s hope Apple can beef up its security so that future attacks can be avoided.

Read more: Forget phishing scams, criminals are now using your everyday activities to steal from you

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