New malware affecting Macs poses as an FBI notice and demands $300 in order to unlock your computer

ransomware(via macrumors)

Windows users are well versed in the art of malware — viruses, trojans, randsomware, etc. Mac users? Not so much. However, Mac users have recently been the target of a particularly annoying piece of malware or ‘ransomware’ — a preview of which we shared with you a few days back. The malware hijacks your browser (Safari or otherwise) with a fake FBI notice which tries to scare users into paying up $300 in order to regain control of their browser.

What is worrying about this attack is that it appears when users are browsing regular sites. It accuses users of “viewing or distributing prohibited Pornographic content” and then makes the demand for the cash. The reason I referred to this piece of malware as annoying and not terms such as ‘deadly’ or ‘dangerous’ is because of the way it is implemented. It is simply a webpage which utilizes Javascript making it load 150 iframes which all require user input in order to be dismissed. Due to a feature of OSX which reopens previously exited open windows after restarting an app, it is generally quite difficult to simply exit and restart the browser in order to close the notice.

There are ways to prevent the notice from popping up however. You can go the brute force way and reset the browser or — at least in the case of Safari — hold down Shift while loading your browser in order to prevent it from opening new windows and tabs from the last session. The feature which prevents the notice from disappearing even after closing the browser can also be disabled from the General pane of System Preferences on OSX.

I’m quite sure Mac users with a good eye will spot this hoax and eventually figure out how to avoid it but many users will probably be fooled an will not even be familiar with the methods which can be used to get rid of this threat. Hopefully this message is spread to as many persons using Macs as possible to prevent any unfortunate loss of cash!

[via Macrumor]

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3 comments

  1. JonE

    I tend to remember the Windows, ransom ware if you will, also charged $300.00, as well. No matter. I just can’t believe anyone would fall for this; this is where programs like Task Manager and Browser Cleaner programs come in real handy.

    I’ve never gotten a message like this and so I’m wondering what sites you have to visit to get this ransom ware dialog?

    The FBI may very well spy on your Internet activity, but I assure you that if they have a reason to contact you they won’t send you an email and the FBI is not a collection agency either, unless they are soliciting a bribe, but even in that case they will knock on your door; I assure you.