Written by Malcolm Newdick, Managing Director 

Ransomware, the malicious software that encrypts your computer files and then demands a ransom to have them unlocked, is now targeting Macs. It has been circulating on Windows PCs for several years but only recently appeared on Macs.

That’s very bad news for millions of Mac users who might assume that they don’t have to worry about that sort of risk. After all, Macs don’t get all that nasty stuff that Windows users have to suffer.malcolm-newdick They do now.

It’s just a numbers game really. Macs, as a small proportion of the total computer population, weren’t a very attractive target for the writers of malware. As the number of Mac users has increased they have become a more attractive target.

Couple this new threat with a huge increase in the number of spam emails laden with this malware and you’ve got a lot of worried computer users.

So what’s to be done?

The best protection is awareness. Knowing about the risk of cyber-attack means you are less likely to open an email from someone you don’t know. You are also less likely to be tempted to take a quick look at the unsolicited e-mail offering a “Ten prettiest cats” or “Top ten goals” video.

More insidious are the messages that really do look genuine. Not only are lots of spammers pretending to be your bank, they are now even pretending to be your bank’s security software. Beware of free updates or anything that you are offered outside the secure environment of your own bank.

Alongside your own awareness of the threats, software protection can go a long way to help trap malware. At Riverbank, we will soon be releasing an upgraded suite of software to reinforce the protection provided by our anti-virus software.

But remember, whatever software protection you have, stay alert and stay safe.