This news will be worrying for Mac users, who have often considered themselves to be immune to cyber attacks. Of course this is not true, however the perception has long been that Windows systems are fair game to cyber attackers, whereas Macs are far more resilient. Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing types of cyber threats, and once a user's files have been encrypted, the only way out is by paying a ransom. This is a very lucrative business model for cyber criminals.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) customers were targeted by hackers over the weekend in the first campaign against Macintosh computers using a pernicious type of software known as ransomware, researchers with Palo Alto Networks Inc (PANW.N) told Reuters on Sunday. Ransomware, one of the fastest-growing types of cyber threats, encrypts data on infected machines, then typically asks users to pay ransoms in hard-to-trace digital currencies to get an electronic key so they can retrieve their data. Security experts estimate that ransoms total hundreds of millions of dollars a year from such cyber criminals, who typically target users of Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Windows operating system.