What to Do When Ransomware Strikes Your Mac
It is so difficult not to worry when your Mac gets struck down by ransomware but there are ways to fix it. These attacks can even happen when you have two-factor authentication and will often display a message that demands a ransom so that your system can be unlocked again. To date, the Mac has not been affected by a serious outbreak of ransomware, but it is a very real possibility. So, what do you do if your Mac is affected?
- The first step is not to panic and do something daft like immediately pulling the plug or shutting down without closing down properly.
- Use a proper Malware scanner, like Bitdefender, to look for and eliminate the ransomware.
- Never pay the ransom – it won’t work!
- Unplug your Mac and disconnect your removable storage. This will allow you to restore your system using your backups later. Also, disconnect from network shares if you have them by clicking on the icon for Eject in Finder.
You can also take your Mac, along with your proof of purchase, to a recognized Apple repair center and they can unlock it and take it out of Lost mode for you.
There are a few things you can do to protect your Mac:
Install the RansomWhere App
This is a free app that watched for any activity that indicates ransomware, such as prevalent file encryption; they stop the process and let you know what is going on. You may end up with a few of your files encrypted but hopefully not all of them.
Have Phishing Protection in Place
Many ransomware attacks use phishing attacks to be implemented so never open an email attachment if you don’t know what it is or who it comes from. If in doubt, simply delete it.
Be Careful Which Software You Download
Dodgy software equals, at the very least, malware or adware and a very high chance of ransomware so only download from trusted sources. The same goes for when you get a window popup telling you your browser is out of date, for example, or Java needs updating. Only do it through the official websites, never through the popup window. These popups are frequently used by hackers to spread malware and ransomware.
Keep your Mac OS fully up-to-date and any apps that you are using as well. Automatic updates can be configured on your Mac, so you don’t have to worry about this.
Back Your System Up Frequently
Provided you regularly back your system and your files up, preferably on external storage as well as through Time Machine, if you do get struck down by ransomware, you can just restore your system. However, you could also consider a third-party backup app such as Carbon Copy Cloner to help you, especially as some ransomware will try to encrypt Time Machine backups.
Provided you exercise caution, keep an eye on your system and back up daily, you should be able to avoid ransomware on your Mac.