IT Insight: Beware of mobile ransomware

Ransomware is one of the fastest growing cybercrimes in history. Did you know that mobile infections of ransomware have quadrupled in the last year? 

Cybercriminals use mobile malware to access and steal sensitive data from a smartphone and can even lock a device demanding payment to return the data or to unlock the device. Often, victims accidentally download mobile ransomware through social networking schemes while downloading innocent content or critical software.

Once the malware is downloaded onto a device, the cybercriminal will often message  the victim demanding “ransom” before encrypting your files and locking the phone. Once the payment is processed, often via Bitcoin, the ransomware will send a code to unlock the phone or decrypt the data … hopefully.

Last year 10,000 victims were infected with the Cryptolocker malware, demanding $300 from each infected user to “unlock” their device. Another malware that infected Android devices was Doublelocker. Counterfeit apps were downloaded by many from compromised websites. Then, malware changed the affected device’s PIN and encrypted its primary storage files, renaming them. The ransom was demanded to decrypt them.

In the case of Koler ransomware, the infection begins when a user visits what appears to be an adult-themed website and is instructed to download an app to view the content. Once downloaded, the malware asks the user to install the app, giving the cybercriminal administrator access to the device. The attacked then sends a message that appears to be from the FBI, that instructs the victim to pay a fee for viewing the content.