New Mac OS X ransomware targets Apple users

The first fully functional ransomware targeting Apple's Mac OS X operating system has been identified by security specialist Palo Alto Networks.

Ransomware, which is malicious software used to extort money, represents a growing threat to users. The software can encrypt files until a 'ransom' is paid in a difficult-to-trace digital currency, such as bitcoins.

Dubbed "KeRanger," the Mac ransomware was identified by Palo Alto Networks on March 4. "The only previous ransomware for OS X we are aware of is FileCoder, discovered by Kaspersky Lab in 2014," wrote Palo Alto Networks researchers Claud Xiao and Jin Chen, in a blog post Sunday. "As FileCoder was incomplete at the time of its discovery, we believe KeRanger is the first fully functional ransomware seen on the OS X platform."

The ransomware attacked OS X via an open source program called Transmission that is used to transfer data via the BitTorrent file sharing network. "Attackers infected two installers of Transmission version 2.90 with KeRanger on the morning of March 4," wrote Xiao and Chen.

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