Apple has shut down what appears to have been the first, fully-functional ransomware targeting Mac computers. This particular form of cyber threat involves malware that encrypts the data on your personal computer so you can no longer access it. Afterwards, the hackers request that you pay them in a hard-to-trace digital currency – in this case, bitcoin – in order for you to retrieve your files. This ransomware, called KeRanger,” was first reported by researchers at Palo Alto Networks. They also noted that Apple has now revoked the abused certificate that was used in the attack and updated its built-in anti-malware system XProtect with a new signature to protect customers.
Technically, KeRanger was not the first ransomware aimed at Mac users. The security firm said that another malware application known as FileCoder had been previously discovered. However, FileCoder was incomplete at the time it was found, which is why the firm believes that KeRanger is the first functional ransomware to appear on the OS X platform.
The fact that OS X has now been targeted speaks to the popularity of Apple’s operating system – ransomware is a fairly common form of cyber threat these days as victims are often likely to cave into attackers’ demands. This has even been the case in some high-profile attacks, as with the ransomware that shut down servers in an L.A. hospital last month. The hospital eventually paid a ransom equivalent to $17,000 in bitcoins to get its systems back up-and-running.