Symantec researchers have confirmed that the proof of concept ransomware threat called Mabouia is a viable threat to Apple's OS X.
Originally developed by Brazilian security researcher Rafael Salema Marques to prove Apple products were not immune to ransomware attacks, Mabouia follows a traditional ransomware path by encrypting files and sending the key to a command and control server then demanding payment for release of the files, the Symantec Security Response team said in a blog post.
“Marques shared a sample of the ransomware with Symantec and Apple. Symantec's analysis has confirmed that the PoC is functional. Marques said he has no intention of publicly releasing the malware,” Symantec researchers said.
Although Mabouia is the first file-based ransomware proven effective against a Mac, browser-based threats have been found. Two years ago researchers at Malwarebytes discovered browser-based ransomware that targeted Safari through a malicious website.
Val Saengphaibul, Symantec Threat Intel Officer told SCMagazine.com Tuesday in an email said it's only a matter of time before Mac owners subject to the cyber crime issues that have afflicted those in the Windows world for years.
"It is inevitable due to the fact that Apple now has a steadily growing user base and bad actors are always looking for new novel ways to find victims. Also, the return on investment for bad actors is likely to grow as users migrate from Windows to Mac platforms. Apple has always had this aura of being not susceptible to viruses and exploitation, however nothing is 100 percent secure," he said.