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Ransomware is targeting Apple Mac OS X users via Safari

Demands users pay $300 to unlock systems
Tue Jul 16 2013, 15:54

SECURITY FIRM Malwarebytes has discovered that a piece of well-known Windows ransomware that pretends to be an FBI webpage is targeting Apple Mac OS X users.

The malware, which apparently has been bedeviling Windows users for years, has been found on the Apple Mac computers of unsuspecting users browsing regular websites, but in particular when searching for popular keywords.

When viewing certain websites, the ransomware will take over Safari and appear to be a message from the FBI claiming that the user has been "looking at indecent images on the internet" and demanding payment of $300 for full use of their system again.

"You have been viewing or distributing prohibited Pornographic content. To unlock your computer and to avoid other legal consequences, you are obligated to pay a release fee of $300," the fake FBI warning reads.

"The bad guys know there is a growing market of Apple consumers who for the most part feel pretty safe browsing the internet on a Mac without the need for any security product," Malwarebytes said in a blog post.

If you choose to ignore the message you cannot get rid of the webpage and repeated attempts to close the webpage will only lead to frustration, as even the "Leave Page" web browser trick does not work.

"If you 'force quit' the application, the same ransomware page will come back the next time to restart Safari because of the 'restore from crash' feature which loads backs the last URL visited before the browser was quit unexpectedly," Malwarebytes added.

However, the company said that there is a way to get rid of the webpage without paying the $300 ransom if you are one of the unlucky Mac users to come across it. This can be done by clicking on the Safari menu and then choosing "Reset Safari", ensuring all the items are ticked before hitting the Reset button.

Malwarebyte expects that "many people" are going to fall for the scam, either paying the ransom money or taking their laptop to a shop, in both cases spending money needlessly.

"This scam is unfortunately all too efficient and is not going away anytime soon," the firm warned, so watch out. µ


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