Transmission Malware Transmitted Through Server Hack, Downloaded 6,500 Times

Over the weekend, the first instance of Mac ransomware was found in a malicious update to the Transmission BitTorrent client. Version 2.90 of Transmission downloaded from the Transmission website was infected with "KeRanger" ransomware.

"Ransomware" is a class of malware that encrypts a user's hard drive and files, demanding money to decrypt it. In this case, KeRanger would have required Mac users to shell out a bitcoin for decryption, equivalent to approximately $400.

transmission-29
The developers behind Transmission have shared some additional details on the attack with Reuters, giving us some insight into how it occurred. The server that delivers the Transmission software to customers was breached in a cyber attack, allowing the KeRanger malware to be added to the disk-image of its software.

Transmission representative John Clay told Reuters via email that the ransomware was added to disk-image of its software after the project's server was compromised in a cyber attack.

"We're not commenting on the avenue of attack, other than to say that it was our main server that was compromised," he said. "The normal disk image (was) replaced by the compromised one."

During the time that the malware-infected version of Transmission was available, it was downloaded approximately 6,500 times before the vulnerability was discovered. Security on the server has since been increased, ensuring a similar attack can't occur a second time.

On Sunday, Transmission's developers released software updates to block the malicious software and to remove it from the Macs of users who had unwittingly installed the malicious version. Apple also updated its software protections to keep the malware from affecting Mac users and to prevent the bad version from being installed on additional machines.

Customers who have downloaded the Transmission BitTorrent client should make sure they have updated the software to version 2.92, which will remove the malware from infected computers. Additional details on how to determine if you have the malware installed are available through Palo Alto Networks.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
61 months ago

I have zero sympathy for people who pirate stuff

Guessing the guys that think torrenting is strictly for piracy are the same guys that think an FBI backdoor gives us more freedom...
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
61 months ago

It'd be nice if the Transmission developers would explain how their site got compromised.

Still no word from them at all. We need a statement from them to show how this happened and the steps they are taking to prevent it from happening again, otherwise all trust in this developer is pretty much gone.

It's an open source project, and they're probably scrambling to get rid of it, figure out how it got there, before they make a public statement. First fix was a ransomware free version, and the 2nd included detection and removal of the ransomware. So far, that's pretty darn good ;)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
61 months ago
Guess this is why a restricted sandbox for each app is not such a bad idea...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
61 months ago
It'd be nice if the Transmission developers would explain how their site got compromised.

Still no word from them at all. We need a statement from them to show how this happened and the steps they are taking to prevent it from happening again, otherwise all trust in this developer is pretty much gone.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
61 months ago
I like that the Transmission developers built-in a solution to the problem into the update, instead of just telling users to get an anti-virus to figure it out. This is good of them, and something that I don't ever see in the Windows world.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
61 months ago

Torrenting is used overwhelming for pirating. I have zero sympathy for those that pirate.

First off - I have never been a fan of any torrent site or applications. I get all my files from legitimate sources and I pay for my music/videos.

I also have ZERO sympathy. But for people who know very little or who are completely oblivious to the real world use of torrenting and comment like they are in the "know" and lift their noses in disgust. I have several clients and collaborators who I constantly share very large files with. Many of my clients are game developers and video editors and they deal with large chunks of files that are much easier and quicker to download as a torrent as opposed to a large single file when collaborating.

Here are just a few examples of LEGAL everyday uses of torrenting:


* Blizzard Entertainment uses its own BitTorrent client to download World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, and Diablo III games. When you purchase one of these games and download it, you’re actually just downloading a BitTorrent client that will do the rest of the work.
* Facebook and Twitter Use BitTorrent Internally
* Many government agencies use torrent files.

While yes, most pirated items are shared and downloaded via torrent files, not all torrent files are used for pirating. That's like saying that most car thieves use coat hangers to break into cars so anyone who uses a coat hanger must be a thief. Please!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

MagSafe Charger Only Charges at Full 15W Speeds With Apple's 20W Power Adapter

Monday October 26, 2020 3:38 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models, Apple introduced a new MagSafe charger that attaches to the magnetic ring in the back of the devices, providing up to 15W of charging power, which is double the speed of the 7.5W Qi-based wireless charging maximum. Apple does not provide a power adapter with the $39 MagSafe charger, requiring users to supply their own USB-C compatible option. Apple...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

iPhone 12 Six-Foot Drop Test Results: Ceramic Shield More Durable But Not Damage Proof

Monday October 26, 2020 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature a new Ceramic Shield screen that Apple says offers 4x better drop performance. To test that claim, Allstate Protection Plans put the two models through a range of breakability tests and recorded the results. In a face down sidewalk drop test at six feet, the iPhone 12 suffered small cracks and scuffed corners and edges, leaving sharp grooves in ...

Bloomberg: New AirPods and AirPods Pro Coming in 2021, AirPods Studio Delayed, Third HomePod Model Also Possible

Monday October 26, 2020 3:34 am PDT by
Apple plans to update its AirPods line next year with two new models including third-generation AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on two new models: third-generation entry-level AirPods and the second version of the AirPods Pro earbuds, according to people familiar with the plans. ...

Report: Apple Silicon iMac Featuring Desktop Class 'A14T' Chip Coming First Half of 2021

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon is set to arrive in the first half of next year and will feature a desktop class "A14T" chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times. Codenamed "Mt. Jade," Apple's first custom-made desktop processor will be twinned with its first self-developed GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," both of which are being produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process, ...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...