It seems as though ransomware may be on its way to the Mac.
This type of malware is known for locking down the user's files until they pay a hefty fine, and Brazilian researchers recently produced a proof-of-concept for what seems to be ransomware targeting the OS X operating system that runs on Mac computers. Not only that, but security company Symantec has verified the findings.
"Symantec's analysis has confirmed that the PoC is functional. Marques said he has no intention of publicly releasing the malware," said Symantec in a statement.
The malware has been dubbed "Mabouia" by Rafael Salema Marques, the creator of the malware. It's important to mention the fact that ransomware doesn't target the hardware of the computer itself, instead going for software elements. The malware is simply a few lines of code that can render a computer useless.
Macs have long been hailed for being "immune to viruses," despite the fact that they are just as susceptible to viruses as PCs, but most hackers tend to target PCs because there are so many more of them than Macs. Ransomware hasn't been found on Mac computers so far, but the threat of it is still there.
In fact, it seems as though Macs are becoming targets of malware more and more, with 2015 being the year with the most Mac-related malware so far.
Mabouia works in a way similar to most other ransomware. After a computer is infected, files are sealed cryptographically and the victim is shown an identification code. The user then has to log in to the hacker's website and enter the code and send the fee requested. For Mabouia, the deadline is set at 72 hours, and if the victim doesn't pay, encryption keys for the files are destroyed.
In fact, Mac users are likely to be targeted more and more when it comes to ransomware considering the fact that Mac computers are generally more expensive than PCs, meaning that users might have more money than users of other types of computers.