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Apple Bitcoin

Ransomware infiltrates Apple's Macs for the first time


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

March 7, 2016 | 2 min read

Mac users have been warned against a first-of-its-kind malware targeting Apple’s operating system and ransoming back user data in exchange for Bitcoin.

While ransomware has been active upon non-Apple operating systems for a number of years, cyber-security firm Palo Alto Networks has claimed that malware known as "KeRanger" infiltrated a number of Macs last Friday.

The software last week infiltrated Macs by piggybacking BitTorrent app ‘Transmission’. It then encrypts users’ files and demand a Bitcoin.

Palo Alto Networks said: “The KeRanger application was signed with a valid Mac app development certificate; therefore, it was able to bypass Apple’s Gatekeeper protection.

“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 a specific address to retrieve their files.”

Transmission’s developers have addressed the infiltration – although the hack marks a worrying new vulnerability that could harm machines running OS X.

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