Ransomeware Developers Now Targeting Android Devices in the US

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As cyber security measures evolve and security corporations pump more funds in the war against cyber criminals, malware developers have been forced to code more advanced programs in response. The bad news is, they are up to the task and are targeting mobile platforms more aggressively now.

Ransomware in particular is proving to be a formidable problem, and having spread on personal computers earlier, it is now spreading across mobile devices in the United States.

Basically, ransomeware is a type of malware that seeks to hijack a computer or otherwise any mobile communication device and render it useless unless a “fee” or ransom is paid to the developers.

Recently a malware that goes by the name of Android/Lockerpin has been discovered, and it tries to fool users into granting Device Administrator rights.

Android Lockerpin Fake Message

It does this by providing a fake patch update window, that once allowed, transfers administrator rights to the software and it can then change your pin and effectively lock you out of your smartphone.

Affected users will then be presented with a fake FBI page, claiming that the user was guilty of viewing prohibited pornographic material and is now being fined for $500 and that the screen will be locked if you try to leave the page.

If you’re smart about it, you can uninstall the app through accessing Safe Mode on your Android or using ADB. However, things will get a lot more complicated once the malware is activated. A randomly-generated PIN number will lock your phone and it will be virtually impossible to unlock.

You will have to reset the phone back to its factory settings to get access, and as annoying as that process may be, it is the only recommended action once you are locked out.

Some ransomware even has the ability to neutralize anti-virus apps like ESET, Avast and Dr. Web and we wouldn’t be surprised if some of these apps end up extorting users for money by holding their sensitive media files or documents.

Since Google started proactively cleaning up the Play Store, you are unlikely to get infected via an app downloaded from the Play Store, but if you’re installing APK files directly via 3rd party app stores, you might want to be more careful.

What precautions do you take when installing new apps on your Android phone or tablet? If you have any suggestions, concerns or questions, please feel free to comment below and let us know.

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