OS X Users Hit by Ransomware Websites Posing as FBI Notices

Malwarebytes takes a look at a method cyber-criminals have begun using to target Mac users with "ransomware", hijacking the user's browser with a notice demanding payment of $300 in order to release control of the application. While similar malware has affected Windows systems for a number of years, Mac users have only rarely seen such efforts targeted at themselves.

The ransomware page is being pushed onto unsuspecting users browsing regular sites but in particular when searching for popular keywords.

Warnings appearing to be from the FBI tell the victim: “you have been viewing or distributing prohibited Pornographic content.. To unlock your computer and to avoid other legal consequences, you are obligated to pay a release fee of $300.”

safari_fbi_ransomware
Rather than a sophisticated hijack of the actual browser software or an installation of a trojan, the ransomware is merely a simple webpage using JavaScript to load 150 iframes that require confirmation to be dismissed, with the authors hoping that users will give up long before they dismiss all of the dialog boxes and simply pay the ransom. As the report notes, a feature on OS X that reopens previously open windows after relaunching an app means that users generally can not simply close and reopen Safari in order to escape the ransomware.

The report details one method to escape the ransomware involving resetting Safari, but misses a far simpler tactic: Simply holding down the Shift key while relaunching Safari will prevent it from reopening windows and tabs from the previous session. Users can also completely disable the reopening feature across OS X from the General pane of System Preferences. Many OS X users may, however, be unfamiliar with such options and find themselves trapped by the ransomware webpage.


The report notes that the ransomware authors are targeting users based on popular search terms, with one example stumbled upon through an image search result for Taylor Swift on Bing.

Top Rated Comments

TsunamiTheClown Avatar
139 months ago
I have paid this ransom like 3 times today and still no sense of absolution.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
primalman Avatar
139 months ago
Who falls for a thing that says its the FBI and to pay a fine you use gas station money cards? Really?
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tiger8 Avatar
139 months ago
Only real stupid people would fall for that.

Unfortunately...


This is America so I wouldn't be surprised.

Why do you make such generalizations? Not everyone is computer Savy, there are some people in their 60s and 70s who 'barely' get by browsing the internet and checking email, and yea they bought Mac because it's easy. They are not real stupid, they are not dumb, they just don't know enough to know it's fake.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TMRaven Avatar
139 months ago
If the fbi finds out you're distributing child porn you're going to jail, not paying 300 dollars. Hahaha.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chumawumba Avatar
139 months ago
Only real stupid people would fall for that.

Unfortunately...


This is America so I wouldn't be surprised.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ravenvii Avatar
139 months ago
Who falls for a thing that says its the FBI and to pay a fine you use gas station money cards? Really?

You'd be surprised.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

What to Expect at Potential Apple Event in March: iPads, Macs, and More

Friday February 23, 2024 8:35 am PST by
Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, so the company could be just weeks away from announcing new products. Below, we have outlined what to expect from a potential Apple Event this March. Past Apple Events in March Apple has held five events in March since 2015:Monday, March 9, 2015 Monday, March 21, 2016 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Monday, March 25, 2019 Tuesday,...
iOS 17

When Will Apple Release iOS 17.4 for iPhones?

Friday February 23, 2024 11:56 am PST by
Apple has been beta testing iOS 17.4 for nearly a month now. Below, we explain when the update is likely to be released to all users. In its press release announcing major App Store changes in the EU, which were implemented in response to new regulations under the EU's Digital Markets Act, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released at some point in March:Developers can learn about these...
iOS 18 Mock Feature Baubles

iOS 18 Rumored to Have Design Changes, macOS Revamp Coming Later

Sunday February 25, 2024 8:55 am PST by
iOS 18 will likely include some design changes, but a macOS revamp might be a year or two away, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his Power On newsletter today, Gurman said Apple is working to update the design of iOS as "early as this year." A sketchy rumor claimed that iOS 18 would feature some visionOS-inspired design elements, and while Gurman agreed that iOS could take some...