April 13, 2017 by

Mac Malware Rises as Ransomware Extortionists Target Apple Users

A survey by security software firm Malwarebytes’ analysis of malware and cybercrime in the first quarter of 2017 has revealed an increasing number of attacks targeting Apple users using Mac-targeting malware.

Notable malware strains leading this surge include the FindZip Mac ransomware, which is particularly annoying for two reasons. After leaving the unfortunate Mac user no option but to pay the ransom, the malware then leaves the user completely at bay due to the developers’ complete lack of programming decryption keys for their encryption-based malware.

Locky, a prominent and notorious ransomware malware has “dropped off the map” this year, the report reveals, while the Cerber ransomware-as-a-service is now leading the charts for distributed ransomware strains.

The report explains:

Its spread is largely because the creators have not only developed a superior ransomware with military-grade encryption, offline encrypting, and a slew of new features, but by also making it very easy for non-technical criminals to get their hands on a customized version of the ransomware.

Cerber’s capabilities of adapting and evolving means that the sophisticated variant is now responsible for nine out of ten ransomware infections. New Cerber variants are even known to trick anti-virus solutions that are based on machine learning. Due to the technical proficiency and know-how of its developers, the malware is aware of the setting of its execution – even if it is within a virtual machine or a sandbox.

This particular strain of Cerber is distributed via phishing emails that include a link to a Dropbox older that contains a self-extracting archive file. This archive contains three files. Individually, these files aren’t dangerous but their design to work together makes them execute the dreaded Cerber malware.

Ransomware continues to dominate the malware landscape, totaling for over 60% of all malware distributed in March 2017. Already, this is up 10% compared to January this year, underlining the continuing threat and growth of ransomware strains.

Image credit: Pixabay.

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LIFARS is a digital forensics and cybersecurity intelligence firm based in New York City. LIFARS is ranked as one of the top Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigations companies in 2016 and as one of the top cybersecurity companies in the New York metropolitan area for 2015 on the Cybersecurity 500 – a directory of the hottest and most innovative companies to watch in the cybersecurity industry.

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