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Popular Mac app Transmission infected with ransomware

by Killian Bell | March 7, 2016March 7, 2016 5:00 am PDT


Transmission, the popular torrent client for Mac, has been infected by the first ransomware to hit OS X users. The malicious code was distributed with a version 2.90 update, but there is an easy way to remove it.

Despite its popularity, Transmission went without an update for several years. That changed last week when its developers announced version 2.90 with support for the latest versions of OS X, a long list of fixes and improvements, and more.

However, it turns out that Transmission’s website was compromised, and many of those who downloaded the 2.90 update also downloaded the ransomware dubbed KeRanger. The infection lies dormant for three¬†days, then plays havoc with your Mac.

When it springs into action, KeRanger stops users from accessing their personal files and folders until they pay a ransom fee of one bitcoin (about $400). The malware also attempts to encrypt Time Machine backups to make them inaccessible.

Fortunately, there is an easy fix. Updating to Transmission version 2.92 — which is available now from the Transmission website via the source link below — can automatically remove KeRanger and give users access to their files again.

If you’re a Transmission user, it is recommended you upgrade to version 2.92 right away — even if you already updated from 2.90 to 2.91. The latter won’t remove the infection automatically.

Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...