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First Known Ransomware Attack Against Apple Computers Uncovered

"Ransomware" essentially holds your data hostage.

There's a class of cyber crime that essentially kidnaps your data and holds it for ransom.

And even Apple customers aren't safe anymore.

Security firm Palo Alto Networks reported Sunday that a form of ransomware had infected Transmission, a BitTorrent installer that works on the Apple operating system.

This marked the first time that ransomware had successfully attacked Apple's Mac computers, Palo Alto's threat intelligence director Ryan Olson told Reuters.

Palo Alto discovered the threat, which it has dubbed "KeRanger," after attackers "infected two installers of Transmission version 2.90" on March 4.

"When we identified the issue, the infected DMG files were still available for downloading from the Transmission site," it said.

KeRanger managed to enter Apple's operating system after it bypassed Gatekeeper, a feature that protects users from malware.

The ransomware managed to maneuver around Gatekeeper because it had a Mac app development certificate.

KeRanger works by embedding itself in the Transmission apps, then waiting three days before encrypting data. It then demands that users pay one bitcoin (around C$550) to obtain their data again.

Apple has responded to the threat by revoking the app certificate, while Transmission has taken the infected installers off its site, Palo Alto said.

Those who downloaded Transmission 2.90 might have seen their data become inaccessible on Monday, he added.

A spokesperson for Apple responded by reiterating to various media that it had revoked the certificate associated with the infected BitTorrent installer.

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