Mac owners who use the open source Transmission BitTorrent client are being warned that a version of the installer was distributed via the app’s official website, infected with a new family of ransomware.
It is believed that hackers managed to compromise the installer of Transmission version 2.90 on its download site on Saturday, March 4, in order to spread ransomware that researchers at Palo Alto Research have dubbed “KeRanger.”
The outcome is that if you were unfortunate enough to install Transmission 2.90 onto your Mac, your computer may now be the digital equivalent of ticking time bomb. Because KeRanger waits three days before awaking, encrypting your documents and data files, contacting its command-and-control servers, and demanding a one bitcoin (approximately $400) ransom be paid for your data’s safe return.
Ransomeware has plagued Windows users for years, but this is the first time it’s been seen in the wild and affected Macs. You’re only affected if you downloaded this specific version from the Transmission website, not if you used the in-app updater.