Mac owners have long touted the impermeability to online threats as one reason for choosing Apple over Microsoft. However, even the seemingly airtight Mac OS X operating system is vulnerable to specifically-crafted, sophisticated ransomware that is designed to get past Apple’s security parameters.
That happened last week, when Palo Alto researchers found that ransomware targeted at the Mac OS X operating system, called KeRanger, was fully operational and functional for the first time ever.
Apple immediately took action, revoking the abused security certificate that the KeRanger attackers used and updating it’s built-in anti-malware system, XProtect, with a new signature in their efforts to stop any further damage from the attack and to protect their customers.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of online security attack. Ransomware is malware that encrypts, or changes, the data on your computer, rendering it inaccessible and out of your reach. Only the hackers can access your information at this point. The hackers then demand that you pay them in digital currency, like bitcoin, in an exchange so you can access your files again. Digital currencies are hard to trace and make it less likely for the hackers to get caught.
If you ever see a message pop up on your computer asking for money in exchange for your files and information, do not comply with the request. Take your computer to a specialist to have the malware removed.
Was this really the first time someone managed to ‘crack a Mac?’
To be clear, the first malware application known to target the Mac OS X operating system was known as FileCoder. However, the malware application was incomplete when it was discovered, and so it was not functional.
KeRanger is the first fully functional and operational malware application that has been found running on the OS X operating system.
You can read more about this news story here on TechCrunch.