ALERT: Ransomeware On OSX.
Until recently, Mac (OSX) users were almost (I say almost) immune to severe virus activity we have known in the Windows world. By design OSX is somewhat more resistant to ransomeware and cryptolock – UNTIL NOW.
This article was sent to me, and features a well known Tech Guru Steve Dotto explaining the virus. Bottom line, your only defence, BACKUPS BACKUPS BACKUPS. Make sure your time machine is working and in addition consider a dedicated online backup service like Crashplan.
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KeRanger is disturbing the peace-of-mind enjoyed by the Mac community!
The world indeed may be falling apart! Mac users have felt overly secure online when it comes to virus attacks. Oh sure there have been little attacks and viruses in the past, but it was always the Windows world that had the scary stuff. It is happening not to the Mac community, for the first time, we are being attacked by ransomware.
Ransomware is a type of software that encrypts files stored on a computer with a digital key that is unknown and will make the computer lock up, making it virtually impossible to access your system. Soon after the user realizes the computer is locked up, a screen will appear, requesting the user to send money via bitcoins, a digital currency, allowing the attacker to remain anonymous.
The version of ransomware attacking us Mac users has been labeled, “KeRanger“, and is gaining access to systems through torrent download sites after users download a program called Transmission, reported by Palo Alto Networks. It is a sneaky little bug as it will not make any noticeable changes to your system for 3-days and then suddenly, your locked out and being forced to fork over a good chunk of change to gain access back into your system. Palo Alto also reported that Apple has confirmed they have stopped the spreading of the ransomware, and the infected version of Transmission will no longer be able to install though this does not do anything for those that have been affected.
If you or someone you know has been a hit for “KeRanger” Palo Alto Networks has a blog post with steps to help to confirm if you got attacked, as well as, how to protect yourself moving forward. Lifehacker also has a great post on how to remove the ransomware from your system.
A piece of advice for us, make sure your entire system is backed up, always! A complete backup of your entire computer. We hope you are safe and your system is unharmed, but please take the necessary steps to save yourself a tremendous headache should we see these hacks continue. Back up your system!
Until next time, have fun stormin’ the castle!