Apple appears to be the victim of the latest ransomeware attack campaign, according to Palo Alto Networks Inc., Reuters reported yesterday (March 6).
The group said that the campaign was against Mac users and utilized ransomware, which is a rapidly growing cyberthreat since it’s know for its widespread ability to infect computers with encrypted data that cannot be unlocked until a ransom is paid — typically, in digital currencies.
According to the Reuters report, security experts say there may be hundreds of millions of dollars a year hacked from cybercriminals using this method. Microsoft’s Windows OS is typically the target; based on what Palo Alto Threat Intelligence Director Ryan Olson said, this was the first functioning ransomware to make its way to Macs.
“This is the first one in the wild that is definitely functional, encrypts your files and seeks a ransom,” Olson told Reuters.
An Apple representative said that it has taken action on this matter to prevent attacks through a series of security measures. This includes taking away the digital certification from an Apple developer that was believed to allow for this software to make its way onto the Macs. No further details were provided by Apple.
But, according to Olson, the malware created could encrypt files for three days post-infection. That could mean that some Mac users who become infected may not be aware of the issue, he added. His firm plans to release tips for Mac users to determine if their machines were impacted and how they can prevent the ransomware from ruining the data on them.