Story image

There's no such thing as Mac OS X ransomware, right?

07 Mar 2016

Like you, I always sat on my pedestal with my Mac looking down at the plethora of Windows users as I revelled in the fact that my computer was much less vulnerable to viruses and attacks.

Which is why I got quite the shock (my pedestal meant I had a longer way to fall) when the news came out that the first known case of functional Mac 'ransomware' malware had been discovered in the wild - found in the BitTorrent client app Transmission update released last week.

According to Palo Alto Networks, people who downloaded infected versions of the app became victims, as they also received "KeRanger" malware. The nefarious software would then encrypt a user's hard drive three days after being installed before demanding payment to unlock the data, effectively holding your Mac to ransom.

As reported by Palo Alto Networks, Apple wasted no time in moving to control the ransomware after it was first made aware about the issue on the 4th of March, revoking the certificate it used and making it so the infected app will no longer install. However, this does not help people who have already been affected.

In addition, the Transmission Project - the makers of the affected app - have released a new, clean version of its software and are urgently advising people to upgrade to the latest version (2.91).

It’s worth noting that the malware has only been detected in the Transmission app to date. It is unknown if it is more widespread, affecting other common apps.

Is your Mac infected?

According to Palo Alto Networks, users who directly downloaded the Transmission installer from the official website after 11am PST, March 4 2016 and before 7pm PST, March 5 2016 may have been infected by the ransomware.

While users who have downloaded the app outside of these times do not appear to be affected at this time, it is still worth going through a number of security procedures, including:

  • If you use Transmission on your Mac check, for an update straight away
  • Make sure that you don't use your machine as the only place you store your files (check your backup settings now)
  • Make sure you use reputable anti-malware on all your devices
  • Check that you are on the latest version of your OS that your hardware supports

To ensure your safety, security experts suggest restoring a Mac system backup from before you were infected. In the meantime, I will eat my humble pie.

Samsung & Trade Me offer AI-powered shopping
The smartphone camera & AI-powered tech, Trade Me says, is a ‘glimpse into the future of shopping’.
Neill Blomkamp's 'Conviction' is a prequel to BioWare's Anthem
You may remember Neill Blomkamp’s name from such films as District 9, Chappie, and Elysium. If you’ve seen any of those films, the short teaser trailer will seem somewhat familiar to you.
Security flaw in Xiaomi electric scooters could have deadly consequences
An attacker could target a rider, and then cause the scooter to suddenly brake or accelerate.
617 million stolen records up for sale on dark web
It may not be the first time the databases have been offered for sale.
IBM’s Project Debater unable to out-debate human
At this incredible display of technology, the result was remarkably close but the human managed to pip the machine in this instance.
LPL to broadcast weekly programming on Sky Sports
Let’s Play Live (LPL) has now announced it will broadcast weekly programming for the rest of 2019 on the Sky Sports channel from Sky TV. 
When hackers get the munchies, they just steal McDonalds
What happens when hackers get the munchies? Apparently in Canada, they decide to put their ‘hamburglar’ gloves on and go after unwitting people who happen to use the McDonalds app.
The smart home tech that will be huge in 2019
For millennial home buyers, a generation for whom technology has been ever-present, smart systems are the features they value above everything else.