Ransomware Now Targeting Mac Computers

While ransomware has been around for some time, it has never appeared to pose a threat to Apple’s Mac computers. That recently changed with the first attack of its kind last month. Ransomware is a malicious software that, once downloaded, essentially locks important files on a computer and then prompts users to pay a fee to have those files unlocked. There have undoubtedly been attempts to target Mac users in this way in the past, but this incident involving KeRanger software transmitted through the peer-to-peer file sharing network BitTorrent was the first successful one.

The attack affected approximately 6500 Mac users who downloaded the malicious KeRanger software. In the scheme of things, that number is quite low. The incident, however, proves that Mac users aren’t immune to this type of threat. As John Bambeneck of Fidelis Cybersecurity notes, “It’s a small number but these things always start small and ramp up huge. There’s a lot of Mac users out there and a lot of money to be made.” In this case, Palo Alto Networks detected the ransomware quickly, which is why Apple was able to neutralize the problem.

In the future, however, ransomware attacks on Macs may become more subtle. Apple reports that it has increased its security measures and revoked the digital certificate that was responsible for launching the KeRanger software.

Hackers Are Now Targeting Macintosh Computers

Until recently, MacIntosh computer users have long enjoyed relative freedom from hacker attacks; however, Symantec says online criminals are now setting their sites on Mac users.

Online porn hunters are the latest target. Visitors to porn sites are led to believe they can download a free video player when in fact they are installing malicious code onto their Macs.

Once the users authorize the transaction, the hackers can redirect the users future browsing to fraudulent web sites and possibly steal the user’s information or passwords.

Sometimes they simply send ads for other pornographic websites. This results in thousands of dollars in income for the criminals.

While common thinking is that Macs are essentially more secure than PCs, security experts argue differently. They believe Macs are no more secure than PCs, and that the relatively low number of viruses, exploits and other cyber attacks directed at Mac users is due to Apple’s relatively small share of the computer market.

With that said, the fact remains that for every single attack on a Mac, there are at least 100 attacks on Windows-based systems.