What you need to know about ransomware attacks

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WannaCry
WannaCry locks down your data until you pay up.
Photo: Kaspersky Lab

More than 230,000 computers in 150 countries have been hit by a cyberattack that encrypts data until a ransom has been paid. It’s thought to be the biggest in history, with India, Taiwan, and several European countries being the worst effected.

If you use a Mac, you have nothing to worry about for now, since this particular “ransomware” only targets Windows PCs. However, the number of attacks built for macOS is rising at a rapid rate every year.

So, what exactly is ransomware, and how can it be avoided? Here’s what you need to know.

How to protect your Mac from malware

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dead MacBook hack
Worried about malware? Do something about it.
Photo: Ste Smith

Over the past few weeks a new Mac malware called OSX/Dok has been all over the news. The Trojan horse accessed user’s Macs through email phishing. Once opened, it prevented users from doing anything on their Mac until they installed a bogus software update.

Malware attacks have been skyrocketing as of late, which means it’s more important than ever to be aware.

In today’s video, I’m going to show you 4 ways to help keep your Mac safe from malware.

Gatekeeper won’t stop this ‘major scale’ Mac malware

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The OSX/Dok malware forces you to install a bogus OS X update.
The OSX/Dok malware forces you to install a bogus OS X update.
Image: Check Point

OSX/Dok, a new strain of “major scale” malware targeting macOS users, can bypass the Gatekeeper feature that’s designed to block malicious software.

The newly identified trojan, which prevents you from doing anything on your Mac until you install a bogus software update, also goes undetected by many antivirus programs.

Mac malware skyrockets 744 percent in 2016

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Mac attacks are on the up!
Mac attacks are on the up!
Photo: Cult of Mac

Still think your Mac is immune to malware? Think again.

According to the latest Threats Report (.pdf) from McAfee Labs, the number of malware attacks on Mac skyrocketed by 744 percent in 2016. The increase was mostly as a result of adware, which isn’t too harmful — but it’s still software you don’t want lurking on your Mac.

New Mac malware targets Microsoft Word users

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Mac-macro-malware
Beware bogus Word macros.
Screenshot: Patrick Wardle.

After spreading viruses among Windows PCs for years, malicious Microsoft Word documents are now infecting Macs.

The files contain a macro that silently executes in the background and downloads an application that can monitor webcams, steal passwords, read browser history and more.

Apple’s big event, iPhone 7 leaks and rumors, malware and more

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What's coming down the pike?
What's coming down the pike?
Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s set to bring the noise at an exciting new keynote event March 21, full of iPad Air 3 and iPhone SE news, and we’re sure you’re ready to hear it.

While you wait for Apple’s big event, though, we’ve gathered together all the things we think you need to know about the upcoming Apple-fest and put them into this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine.

Enjoy the noise, and check out this week’s top stories.

Malware uses Apple’s FairPlay DRM to attack iOS users

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Hackers are now using FairPlay system itself to gain access to iOS devices.
Hackers are now using FairPlay system itself to gain access to iOS devices.
Photo: Colin / Wikimedia Commons

Researchers have just discovered a new malware threat for iOS devices that uses Apple’s own FairPlay DRM system as a delivery vector.

Dubbed “AceDeciever” by the researchers, the malware in question can technically infect any type of iOS device, jailbroken or not, if a user downloads a third-party app.

Thinner iPhones, Mac malware and 10 mobile Safari tips you need to know

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Thin is in, baby.
Thin is in, baby.
Cover Design: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

With Bendgate not that far behind us, is it really wise for Apple to contemplate an even thinner iPhone?

Sure, it’s an easy selling point for new iPhones, but thinner can also mean more bendable. Take a look at this age-old Apple theme in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine, along with 10 fantastically useful mobile Safari tips, a way to find out if you’ve been infected by sneaky adware, five amazingly great new iOS games, and some awesome product reviews to help inform your purchasing plans.

All this, and much much more, in Cult of Mac Magazine, free for your perusal right now.

Here are the top stories of the week: