Apple users hit by first ransomware attack

Apple users were targeted by hackers over the weekend in what is thought to be the first ransomware attack against Apple Mac computers.

Researchers from Palo Alto Networks confirmed to Reuters on Sunday that the ransomware called KeRanger had been discovered in a BitTorrent installer for software called Transmission, a video, music and software peer-to-peer download network. The software affects OS X, apple’s latest operating system.

Ransomware, one of the fastest-growing types of cyber threats, encrypts data on infected machines, then typically asks users to pay ransoms in hard-to-trace digital currencies to get an electronic key so they can retrieve their data.


Three-day delay

Palo Alto researchers Claud Xiao and Jin Chen, writing in a blog said: “On March 4, we detected that the Transmission BitTorrent ailient installer for OS X was infected with ransomware, just a few hours after installers were initially posted.”

The ransomware is programmed to activate three days after infection, meaning users who downloaded the virus will be hit today, 7 March.

Apple has now revoked the abused certificate and updated its antivirus signature after it was alerted to the attack.

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