Apple/Mac Users Alert: Ransomware – Psinergy Tech
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Apple/Mac Users Alert: Ransomware

Apple/Mac Users Alert: Ransomware

We’ve all heard the myth, “Mac’s don’t get viruses.” While that urban legend has never been true, it was pretty rare for a Mac machine to actually get a virus. Why — they had a smaller user base. Historically, Mac users mostly needed to be concerned with adware versions of the malware and were more “carriers” of Windows PC viruses. This is starting to change. More viruses are being written specifically for Macs, and more dangerous ones, like the new ransomware “KeRanger”.

Ransomware: encrypts your files and seeks for you to contact the virus writer to pay them a “ransom” to give you a key that decrypts your system and files so you can access them again. These are serious threats, and people could lose years or decades of personal information, pictures, etc. Businesses could be completely shut down, losing all access to financial records and other important business documents.

Honestly, we’re kind of surprised that less viruses, especially ransomware viruses, are not written specifically for Mac OS users. Why? These viruses writers want a person who can pay the ransom, and according to a study by Forrester, the average Mac user household income is $98,000, or $24,000 more than the average PC user’s household income of $74,000 and iPhone users are wealthier than Android or Blackberry users according to BIGinsight.

This latest ransomware scare on Macs was put into the popular Mac program called Transmission this last Friday, 3/4/16 in version 2.90. Version 2.92 of Transmission is supposed to fix this issue and while steps have been taken to reduce the spread of this type of virus, users have to be aware and have utilities that help guard against viruses.

Important Steps for every Mac user (and even PC users)

  1. Have everything backed up on a regular basis. The best way of doing this, in our opinion, is having a regularly occurring online backup system that is secure, and then once a month or maybe once a quarter a physical backup to a USB Harddrive that you don’t leave connected to the computer. Why have both? Well, in the event that you didn’t realize you were infected, and those infected files got sent to your online backup, your less frequent local backup should still be safe.
  2. Install a good anti-virus software. Keep in mind though, no Anti-Virus software is 100% effective, though there are ones that are better than others. We personally use and suggest avast! Anti-Virus which also has a Mac OS version (for free).
    1. Note: never have more than 1 anti-virus software installed and running at the same time! They can and will cancel each other out leaving your system open for infections.
  3. If you get infected. Shut off your machine ASAP and just bring it into our office or another well trained, well reviewed, computer repair therapist (repair shop). Shutting off your machine stops the spread of the virus. Sometimes there is little we can offer with some of these really nasty viruses besides just pulling the hard drive and extracting the non-encrypted files.

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