As a result of Apple's tight grip, macOS has a reasonably good security reputation, but no platform is safe from attack. Ransomware is just one such example, and it is a growing concern. Here's how to keep a healthy Mac.
Ransomware takes your device, or the information stored on it, hostage and demands a ransom for its secure return, as the name implies. It was understood that some especially early Windows ransomware fully restricted access to your computer. A more prevalent solution, however, is to encrypt the data with a key you don't know.
With your computer or data kept hostage, requests for payment to restore access are then made. Cash sent via a wire transfer, such as PayPal or Western Union, or gift card codes for services such as Xbox Live, or even Bitcoin or other untraceable cryptocurrencies, maybe this ransom.
Although once you have paid up, ransomware could restore access to your device or data, there is no guarantee. It has been recognized that some ransomware fully deletes data, making recovery impossible. That's why the thought of ever engaging with a scam like this is a bad idea.
Sadly, many people are humiliated that they were set up in the first place, which makes it even more enticing to play along with the scam. The nefarious forms ransomware spreads make it much more probable that the victim will pay to save face.
There are, thankfully, some ways you can defend yourself. Much like many other online scams, avoiding actions that put you at risk in the first place is the safest thing you can do.
The spread of malware isn't just pirated software. Just about any executable file might be a threat, so whenever you download and install software, it's a good idea to use common sense. This is one of the reasons Gatekeeper was implemented by Apple, which favors the Mac App Store and approved Apple Developers' signed apps.
Gatekeeper will inform you that the software will not be installed when you try to install an application that violates these laws, since it's not from an identified developer. You can choose (under System Preferences > Security and Privacy) to ignore this. You then presume, however, any danger involved in running applications that could have come from somewhere.
However, it is important to remember that the vast majority of software that is unsigned is not malicious. The author must register as an Apple developer and pay $99 a year in order for an app to become Gatekeeper compliant. As a result, due to budgetary limitations, many legitimate projects remain unsigned. In particular, this refers to open-source projects that rely on volunteer programmers who only contribute their time.
If you trust a creator, then you can verify the validity of a file using an MD5 hash. Alongside a download page, most developers provide an alphanumeric, cryptographic hash. You'll know that no one has tampered with the file if the hash of the file you downloaded matches the one provided by the creator.
It's also true that while all applications are Gatekeeper-friendly in the Mac App Store, in the past, malware has existed in both iOS and the App Store. Generally, though, since the software is subject to a higher degree of scrutiny in the App Store, it's better.
Also Read : Always Check the Website You Visit
Stop malware that is pirated
Pirated malware is one of the key vectors for spreading ransomware. Malwarebytes found the "ThiefQuest" ransomware hiding in an installer for a cracked version of Little Snitch in June 2020. There were also indications that the malware, like Ableton Live and Mixed in Key 8, had found its way into pirated versions of DJ applications.
After originally being posted to a Russian forum dedicated to sharing cracked apps, these installers spread through BitTorrent. These torrents are circulated far and wide, and monitored, like The Pirate Bay, by "mainstream" trackers. To come across any potentially tainted installers, you don't have to search the internet for dubious forums.
Piracy poses a very real risk of infecting your computer with malware because pirates frequently change installation files or provide additional patches designed to crack the apps in question. You never know what you're downloading, even if a torrent appears to be legitimate or is released by a company you're familiar with.
Even, if you don't know the source, be careful of software passed around by friends or acquaintances. Although downloading pricey software for free can be enticing, it will cost you a lot more than the price of a license.
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