Apple users targeted in ransomware attack

Apple users have been targeted by cyber criminals in a ransomware attack, dubbed KeRanger, against Mac computers.

Palo Alto Networks said it detected that the Transmission BitTorrent installer for OS X was infected with ransomware on 4 March.

“The only previous ransomware for OS X we are aware of is FileCoder, discovered by Kaspersky Lab in 2014,” the company said,

“As FileCoder was incomplete at the time of its discovery, we believe KeRanger is the first fully-functional ransomware seen on the OS X platform.”

How KeRanger works

The KeRanger application was signed with a valid Mac app development certificate, allowing it to bypass Apple’s Gatekeeper protection.

If a user installs the infected app, an embedded executable file is run on the system.

KeRanger then waits for three days before connecting with command and control servers over the Tor anonymizer network.

The malware then begins encrypting certain types of document and data files on the system.

After completing the encryption process, KeRanger demands that victims pay one bitcoin (about $400) to retrieve their files.

KeRanger appears to still be under development. It also seems that the malware attempts to encrypt Time Machine files to prevent victims from recovering their backup data.

Details on how to protect yourself against the malware are available on the Palo Alto Networks website.

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Apple users targeted in ransomware attack