Malware and security breaches are on the rise. Ransomware is the newest buzzword and has affected many tens of thousands of personal computers and systems all over the world. So far, not much has occurred on the Mac thanks to how macOS is structured and its Unix roots.
What would you do if you started to work on your Mac and a pop up window informed you that you’ve been hacked, that your Mac was locked and all files encrypted– and would remain that way until you paid a ransom?
That’s ransomware and it’s a growing plague that works.
Consider a slightly different scenario that is more reminiscent of gangsters selling insurance to local merchants. In that case, insurance is equal to extortion.
Android users and Windows users seem to suffer more at the hands of this kind of malware than Apple’s customers. For Android, the malware LeakerLocker was available on the official Google Play app store. While this little trickster didn’t encrypt and lock the Android phones, it was ransomware. It claimed to have made a backup of specific data– photos, Facebook messages, email message, location history, web browser history, and more. LeakerLocker claimed it would email all of that data– some of which could be incriminating or at least highly embarrassing; especially browser history– to everyone on the user’s contacts list.
A $50 ransom payment would end the extortion.
This kind of crime is growing and even app stores are not immune to such shenanigans (Google Play isn’t as curated as Google would like Android users to believe).
Hackers and criminals have figured out how to attack computer users, encrypt user files, and extort payment to release the files. How is this different than mobsters selling insurance to merchants back in the day? It’s extortion. It’s what criminals do. Except today, payment can be made to such criminals and the money is not easily tracked, thanks to BitCoin and other operations.
These are the threats that are growing in number and why Apple’s so-called walled garden ecosystem and curated app stores are more popular than ever. The trend toward such malware may explain why Microsoft launched Windows 10 S. It’s a limited version of Windows which only allows applications to be installed from the Windows App Store.
You know, just like iPhone and iPad. This walled garden and curated approach is good for Microsoft and Apple customers because it creates another layer of privacy and security between users and the outside world.
Anyone who disparages either platforms private ecosystem is on the wrong side.