A growing problem in the world wide web is “Ransomware”. Ransomware occurs when a pop-up window appears on your screen, featuring an error or warning, along with an urgency to contact “technicians” via a provided phone number:

The good news is that there is nothing wrong with your Mac. The warning is nothing more than an advertisement. However, we insist that you do not call the number provided. They will ask for your credit card information and charge you a significant amount of money to “unlock” your computer. They may also ask for remote access to your computer, which puts you at risk for identity theft.

While these pop-up windows are not viruses, they tend to leave users with no way to exit the window, or even quit the browser. Here’s how to “rescue” your Mac when it’s being held hostage by ransomware:

  1. In the upper-left corner of your screen, click on Apple > Force Quit
  2. Select your browser in the list of apps and click the “Force Quit” button.

Web browsers have a recovery feature where they restore “lost” windows/tabs for you when you force quit an application, bringing you right back to where you started! Here’s how to start your web browser without bringing back that pop-up window:

  1. If you’re using Safari: Hold down the Shift key and click on the Safari icon in your dock.
  2. If you’re using Chrome: Open Chrome normally. A toolbar will appear offering you the ability to “restore” the windows/tabs from the last time chrome was open. Click the X button.
  3. If you’re using Firefox: Open Firefox and go to Firefox > Preferences. Under “When Firefox Starts”, change the option to “Show a Blank Page”.
  4. If you’re using Safari on iOS: Double-tap the Home Button, and your screen will show you all open apps. Find Safari and swipe up to close the program. Then, in Settings > Safari, tap “Clear all Website data”.

If you are unable to break free from the ransomware on your Mac, or would like assistance in following these steps, please feel free to give our office a call, 608-242-9891.