7 steps to protect yourself from over-hyped Mac ‘ransomware’ threat

“A new malware briefly flared in the Macworld this weekend but there’s only an extremely slim chance your Mac has been affected. Don’t panic at the inevitable hype: here’s how to protect yourself,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld.

“Start here: Do you use Transmission?” Evans asks. “If you don’t, you’ll be fine.”

“The Transmission 2.9 BitTorrent client release was undermined by malware writers who inserted ‘KeRanger’ code that encrypts all your Mac’s files and then demands around $400 to unlock your data,” Evans writes. “Apple reacted swiftly. Within hours of the release an important Apple-provided security certificate was withdrawn by Cupertino and a new version of Transmission was made available that did not include the criminal code. Apple will doubtless be strenuously investigating how this code gained certification.”

Evans reports, “Infected files were downloaded after 7pm on Friday, and before 2am Sunday morning. If you think you may have been impacted by the bug, don’t panic, here is what you can do to protect yourself”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Transmission users only:

Transmission’s website (https://www.transmissionbt.com) states:

Everyone running 2.90 on OS X should immediately upgrade to and run 2.92, as they may have downloaded a malware-infected file. This new version will make sure that the “OSX.KeRanger.A” ransomware (more information available here) is correctly removed from your computer.

Users of 2.91 should also immediately upgrade to and run 2.92. Even though 2.91 was never infected, it did not automatically remove the malware-infected file.

Mac users targeted in first known OS X ransomware scam – March 6, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. I would like to hear from people who use “Transmission” (or torrents, for that matter) regularly for legitimate purposes. It is my understanding that practically the only reason anyone with a Mac ever downloads Transmission is so that they can get cracked software (like, I don’t know, Adobe CC, or MS Office), or pirated films, TV shows or music.

    For a long time, I had tried to figure out a bona fide legitimate purpose of using bit torrents, but couldn’t really find it. I can’t think of any one person I know that uses it, or advocates its use (for purposes other than obtaining infringing content).

    Can someone here perhaps give me a solid, real-life, legitimate use-case scenario for bit torrents?

      1. That reinforces my argument (and question). Overwhelming majority of Mac users won’t know what is a distro . Or Linux.

        And isn’t there a link of a ‘Linux distro’ web site where you can simply download the file(s) directly, rather than this bit torrent business?

    1. High-quality scenery meshes for X-Plane:


      A single 10°x10° “tile” over the Great Lakes area is over 2 GB. Several other North American landmass tiles are over 3 GB.

      Flight simulation isn’t a big enough niche to justify the cost of hosting these permanently on high-speed servers, so if you want to get them at faster than tens or hundreds of kB/sec, torrents are the answer.

      1. X-Plane is a great little simulation and I can see how torrents might be a cost-effective and simple solution for a single-developer outfit to distribute massive files at no additional overhead.

        I would be surprised, though, if the number of X-Plane users surpassed the number of ‘linux distro’ downloaders. Just as you said, a niche market. But the usage is clearly legitimate.

  2. I use Time Machine to back my Mac up to an external drive that I disconnect after the backup. If somehow I ever get slammed by ransomware (unlikely, as I don’t download sketchy files), that should hopefully allow me a safe recovery.


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