Here’s why installing a cracked version of Ableton Live on your Mac could lose you access to your files and expose your personal data

(Image credit: Future)

If you aren’t yet convinced that downloading and using cracked music software is all kinds of wrong, perhaps the news that doing so could lose you access to your files and expose your passwords and cryptocurrency wallet data might be the jolt you need.

According to malware researcher Dinesh Devadoss, a new piece of Mac ransomware known as ThiefQuest is doing the rounds, and has appeared in cracked, torrented versions of both Ableton Live and Mixed In Key.

Those who inadvertently install it may find that they’ll be asked to pay a ransom in order to get their files back and to retrieve their sensitive data. What’s more, rebooting your Mac could only add to your problems, with Thiefquest then being used as a platform for ‘second stage’ attacks.

According to Wired, the malware is disguised to look like a Google Software Update program, which has led some users to install it, though research suggests that it hasn’t been downloaded a significant number of times and that no one has yet paid a ransom.

The good news is that, so long as you’re acquiring your music software from legitimate sources, you should be able to steer well clear of ThiefQuest, but its existence should act as a further warning - if one were needed - of the dangers of installing cracked software on your computer. If you’re short on cash, there are plenty of very capable free and low-cost DAWs and plugins on the market, so there really is no excuse.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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