How to Remove Ransomware from Mac (Instructions)

How to Remove Ransomware from Mac

What is a ransomware infection? How to remove a ransomware virus from Mac? Can ransomware infect a Mac? How to stop ransomware on Mac?

A ransomware virus is the type of virus that encrypts your files or denies access to your computer, until you pay ransom.Ransomware viruses are not showing any sign of slowing down. If there is something that they are showing is more variants in terms of variety an more operating systems to which they are spread. In this article we will explain more about ransomware viruses on Mac and how you can remove them and prevent any damage to your files.

Threat Summary

NameMac Ransomware
TypeRansomware for Mac OS
Short DescriptionAims to encrypt the important files on your Mac and ask you to pay ransom to get the encrypted files to work.
SymptomsFiles are encrypted and cannot be opened. A ransom note may appear as a text file or a wallpaper.
Distribution MethodVia spam e-mails, fake apps or malicious links and files on shady sites.
Detection Tool See If Your System Has Been Affected by Mac Ransomware


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User ExperienceJoin Our Forum to Discuss Mac Ransomware.

Ransomware for Mac – How Did I Get It and What Does It Do?

As interesting as it may seem, Ransomware viruses for Mac are not something new. The distant 2016 gave birth of the KeRanger ransomware virus for Mac – a dangerous cryptovirus that encrypted files and held them hostage. The virus used to spread and infect Macs by exploiting a security certificate in Mac OS’s GateKeeper. The virus was luckily contained and for now things seem normal about this ransomware family.

When it comes to how ransomware for Mac infects, the main method is via hacked website, like the previously used by KeRanger ransomware “” site. It was hacked and the download for the Transmission torrent client was replaced with the virus file of KeRanger, containing the ransomware virus In it. Another method via which you could also become a victim of a ransomware virus is if you happen to download the virus file from an e-mail sent to you. Usually, some ransoware viruses tend to replicate e-mail attachments that are legitimate and important documents, like receipts, invoices and other e-mails of such form. Those e-mails are carefully masked, like the example of a virus e-mail shown below:

Once you become a victim of a ransomware virus, the following files on your Mac could be endangered:

Documents: .doc, .docx, .docm, .dot, .dotm, .ppt, .pptx, .pptm, .pot, .potx, .potm, .pps, .ppsm, .ppsx, .xls, .xlsx, .xlsm, .xlt, .xltm, .xltx, .txt, .csv, .rtf, .tex
Images: .jpg, .jpeg,
Audio and video: .mp3, .mp4, .avi, .mpg, .wav, .flac
Archives: .zip, .rar., .tar, .gzip
Source code: .cpp, .asp, .csh, .class, .java, .lua
Database: .db, .sql
Email: .eml
Certificate: .pem

The encryption process may be of different encryption algorithms, like the following:

  • AES (Advanced Encryption Standard).
  • Salsa20.
  • RSA (Rivest-Shamir Adleman).
  • EDA.
  • CBC mode.

After encryption, the ransomware virus may add a ransom note, where the criminals usually request a ransom to be paid to get the files back. The ransom is usually paid in BitCoin and can vary from hundreds of dollars to thousands.

Remove Ransomware from Your Mac

Unlike Windows operating system, ransomware for Mac may be a bit trickier for removal. Some viruses, like the Padlock ransomware for Mac aim to lock your entire screen, preventing you from even accessing your Mac. For those cases, it is required to do the fixes we have provided in the instructions below in Safe Mode on Mac. To boot your Mac In Safe Mode, folow these steps:

Step 1: Start or reset your Mac device and then hold the SHIFT key. The Apple logo shall appear on your display.
Step 2: You will see a login Window. When you see it, release the SHIFT key and you are done. You might be asked to enter your username and password for verification.

In addition to those steps, you could also additionally apply the following fixes to your Mac:

1. Using either Terminal or Finder, check whether /Applications/ General.rtf or /Volumes/Transmission/ General.rtf exist. If any of these exist, the Transmission application is infected and we suggest deleting this version of Transmission.
2. Using “Activity Monitor” preinstalled in OS X, check whether any process named “kernel_service” is running. If so, double check the process, choose the “Open Files and Ports” and check whether there is a file name like “/Users//Library/kernel_service”. If so, the process is the ransomware virus’s main process. We suggest terminating it with “Quit -> Force Quit”.
3. After these steps, we also recommend users check whether the files “.kernel_pid”, “.kernel_time”, “.kernel_complete” or “kernel_service” existing in ~/Library directory. If so, you should delete them.

For maximum effectiveness, we recommend scanning your Mac with a professional anti-malware program, besides doing the fixes below. Such specific program will effectively make sure to detect and remove any viruses from your Mac and locate and eliminate all of the malicious components safely.

And when it comes to your files, we suggest to back them up and look for an update of your virus from researchers in the future. In the meantime you could try using Data Recovery or other types of damage control programs.


Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav has been covering the latest malware, software and newest tech developments at SensorsTechForum for 3 years now. He started out as a network administrator. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for discovery of new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management and then Network Administration, he found his passion within cybersecrurity and is a strong believer in basic education of every user towards online safety.

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Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Get rid of Mac Ransomware from Mac OS X.

Step 1: Uninstall Mac Ransomware and remove related files and objects

Manual Removal Usually Takes Time and You Risk Damaging Your Files If Not Careful!
We Recommend To Scan Your Mac with SpyHunter for Mac
Keep in mind, that SpyHunter for Mac needs to purchased to remove the malware threats. Click on the corresponding links to check SpyHunter’s EULA and Privacy Policy

1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:

2. Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:

3. In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to Mac Ransomware:

Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.

4. Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.

5. In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to Mac Ransomware. If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.

6: Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference. Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to Mac Ransomware. Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.

7: Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:

  • Go to Finder.
  • In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
  • Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
  • If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.

In case you cannot remove Mac Ransomware via Step 1 above:

In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!

1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:

2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:

3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as Mac Ransomware. If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.

You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:

→ ~/Library/LaunchAgents

Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.

Step 2: Scan for and remove Mac Ransomware files from your Mac

When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Mac Ransomware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Remove Mac Ransomware from Google Chrome.

Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu

Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"

Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.

Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Erase Mac Ransomware from Mozilla Firefox.

Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window

Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.

Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"

Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Uninstall Mac Ransomware from Microsoft Edge.

Step 1: Start Edge browser.

Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.

Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".

Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.

Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Delete Mac Ransomware from Safari.

Step 1: Start the Safari app.

Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.

Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".

stf-safari preferences

Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.


Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.

Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.

stf-safari uninstall

A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Mac Ransomware will be removed.

How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.

Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.

Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.

Mac OS X Google Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Safari Internet Explorer

Eliminate Mac Ransomware from Internet Explorer.

Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.

Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'

Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.

Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.

Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.

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