A couple weeks ago you may have heard about a malware threat that has surfaced for Macs. The type of threat, called ransomware, is a fast-growing type of malware that encrypts data on infected machines. Typically it will encrypt your own data into a locked file, and then ask you to pay a ransom in a hard-to-trace digital currency. In the past, PCs have been the primary target, but recently it became a reality for Apple users as well.
The good news is that many of you will not be affected as the ransomware, named KeRanger, was transmitted via an application called Transmission. Transmission is a popular program used to transfer data via the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing network. A tainted version of Transmission included the ransomware threat.
There is no need to panic with this particular incident, because Apple and Transmission have since taken steps to prevent further spread of this file. However, ransomware is a growing threat and we wanted to take this opportunity to list what Foojee recommends to protect yourself from threats of this nature in the future. There are a number of solutions, however neither protect you 100%. We recommend a multi-layered approach to secure your environment, so please take a look below:
1. Ensure Security is enabled on your Mac (Under System Preferences->Security & Privacy). Check the screenshot below and ensure your settings match those listed. This feature helps protect your Mac from apps downloaded and installed from the internet that could have adverse effects. Apple took steps to revoke Transmission's certificate, which Gatekeeper uses to verify as a safe download.
2. Have a recent backup (or two) of your Mac. If your computer is infected with ransomware, the best option is to erase your Mac and then restore from a local Time Machine backup, or cloud backup. This will prevent you from having to fork out cash for your data.
3. Third party anti-virus and anti-malware (AV). The AV softwares we recommend are all currently offering removal for ransomware. However in order to be effective, even AV software has to identify malware before the ransomware has a chance to encrypt your data.
4. Be Safe. Another way to keep yourself safe is to make sure you are consistently using trusted websites.
We want to ensure your Macs, iPhones, iPads and data are always safe. If you are interested in discussing backup options or anti-virus recommendations, we would be happy to talk with you. Please do not hesitate to call us or shoot us an email!
For our Foojee Service Plan and Foojee Software Stack clients, no need to worry as you are already protected using our standard security practices!
Have a great week!