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Ransomware attacks cause damages worth over $5 trillion every year. Traditionally, this attack has targeted Windows users the most, but it doesn’t mean Mac users are safe. As a Mac user, you can be a victim, too.

Typically, internet browsing has risks, especially when you frequent unsafe websites that host pirated content and files or click unknown links in your Email. You can remove the ransomware and secure your Mac if you fall, victim.

Keep reading to learn how to remove ransomware and protect your Mac from such attacks in the future.

What’s a Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of cyber attack where victims are locked out of the computer, preventing them from accessing their files. Attackers take hostage of your Mac and files, and they can only release them upon payment of a ransom.

There are different types of ransomware attacks, and the popular ones include FBI Ransom, FileCoder, Oleg Pliss, KeRanger, and Patcher. Each of these attacks has different levels of complexity when removing them from your Mac.

Your Mac can be targeted differently. Attackers can send you a spoof email with an infected attachment. Downloading the attachment will automatically install on your Mac, locking your files or computer.

You can also get attacked when browsing the web. This is particularly common when browsing pirated adult, fire-sharing, or movie sites. Pop-up ads can lure you into downloading a tool essential for accessing the site, only to be malware.

Removing Ransomware from Your Mac

Malware can be damaging if you don’t remove it from your Mac. Criminals will steal your data and sell it or use it to seek ransom payments. In this section, we’ll show you how to remove ransomware from your Mac in three easy steps:

1. Disconnect the Internet and Isolate Your Mac

When you detect or suspect possible ransomware, immediately disconnect your Mac from the internet and isolate it from other connected devices. Malware uses the internet to spread further and send your information to attackers.

Switch off your home router and unpair or disconnect your computers, smartphones, external drives, and tablets from the infected Mac. Check your other devices to ensure they’re not infected since malware usually spreads.

If you must download an anti-malware program to clean your Mac, you can do so and then disconnect from the internet.

2. Identify the Type of Ransomware

The thing with ransomware attacks is that they behave differently. So, it’s crucial to identify the type of ransomware on your Mac. Here are the types and how they behave:

  • Filecoders: In this type, attackers encrypt and lock your files, making it difficult to access this. This is the most dangerous type, accounting for about 90% of all ransomware attacks.
  • Screen lockers: This type usually locks you out of your Mac, and the widespread attack is the FBI MoneyPak scam. In the case of FBI ransomware, the attackers claim that you were involved in criminal activity and must pay a fine to re-access your Mac.

In this case, the FBI scam tends to be easier to remove. If it locks your browser, you must uninstall and re-install it. Also, if it locks your Mac, simply re-install your macOS, and you’ll be good to go.

Filecoders, on the other hand, can be nightmares — you’ll need to remove the ransomware and decrypt your files. Criminals believe that most people can’t fix such complicated attacks, hence their push for payment

3. Run an Anti-Virus (AV)Program

The best way to remove ransomware from your Mac is to use a reliable anti-virus program that captures the latest malware definitions and strains. Paid versions offer the most comprehensive protection compared to free programs.

If you’re dealing with a file coder virus, run a full system scan to find and remove threats on your Mac. Note that this will only remove the virus but won’t decrypt the files. Luckily, some AV programs offer file decryptors, which you can use to decrypt encrypted files after clearing the virus.

A good program should support real-time scanning, backups, automatic updates, and web browser protection. It should be capable of scanning your Mac during browsing, file downloads, file copying, and file installations. It should also run seamlessly without slowing your Mac.

Recover Your Mac Files

You may need to restore your Mac to recover your files. This is particularly true when you get attacked by the FBI ransomware that locks your computer. You’ll need to re-install your macOS to remove the malware.

In this case, always back up your files for easy restoration during ransomware. Get a backup tool that automatically backs up your files daily or weekly, depending on your workload. Some AV programs offer the backup feature with their premium plans.

If you want to restore your files after cleaning your Mac, click the Apple icon in the left corner. Click “System Preferences” > “Time Machine.” Check the “Show Time Machine in the menu bar” box.

The “Time Machine” icon will appear on the menu back; click on it and tap “Enter Time Machine” Review the backed-up files and pick one that you want to recover, and click “Restore.”

Protect Your Mac from Malware

Prevention is better than dealing with the aftermath of a ransomware attack. These attacks can be damaging, impacting your productivity and performance. As such, adopting preventive measures to keep your Mac safe from ransomware is vital.

You need to keep your Mac up to date. Updates usually offer security patches and new features to prevent vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. So, whenever you get software update notifications, find time to update your Mac.

When downloading files online, only use trusted and legitimate sites. The sites you use must be secure with the “https” protocol. Some browsers like Chrome usually warn you when visiting a potentially unsafe site.

More importantly, install an AV program, use a VPN solution, and avoid clicking unknown links and attachments. You also need to pay attention to XProtect warnings and take them seriously whenever they pop up.