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LockBit’s New Frontier: Mac Ransomware Threats Emerge

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The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, and LockBit, a leading ransomware operation, is now making headlines for its recent development of Mac-targeting encryptors. 

This development marks a notable departure from the past, as Macs have historically been considered less attractive targets for ransomware attacks. 

The discovery of these encryptors was made by the vigilant cybersecurity researcher MalwareHunterTeam, who found a suspicious ZIP archive on VirusTotal holding a collection of LockBit encryptors. 

Inside LockBit’s Mac Encryptors: What We Know So Far 

Among the discovered LockBit encryptors is one named ‘locker_Apple_M1_64,’ which specifically targets the latest Macs running on Apple Silicon. A closer examination of this encryptor revealed some peculiarities, including many references to VMware ESXi – something quite unexpected in an Apple M1 encryptor. Additionally, the encryptor disregarded sixty-five file extensions and filenames, all of which were associated with Windows files and folders. 

Are LockBit’s Mac Encryptors Primed for Attack? 

Luckily for Mac users, it seems that these newly developed encryptors are not yet prepared for deployment in real-world attacks on macOS devices. Experts believe that the encryptors were created as a test run and were never meant for use in live cyberattacks. 

Shielding Your Mac from Ransomware Threats 

Although LockBit’s Mac encryptors may not currently pose a significant risk to Mac users, it is crucial for all computer users, including Mac owners, to support strong online safety practices. This includes keeping the operating system up to date, avoiding opening suspicious attachments and executables, creating offline backups, and using robust, unique passwords for each website you visit. 

Ransomware’s Next Frontier: Targeting Macs 

This latest development from LockBit signifies a potential shift in the ransomware landscape, as cybercriminals begin to turn their attention to previously overlooked platforms. LockBit has a reputation for innovation in ransomware development, so it would not be surprising if we see the release of more advanced and optimised encryptors targeting these CPU architectures in the future. As such, staying vigilant and supporting strong cybersecurity measures should remain a top priority for all users, regardless of their device type. 

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian Enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.

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