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Researchers uncover Android file-encrypting Cryptolocker style ransomware

More nude pictures, more problems
Thu Jun 05 2014, 12:29

Google Android MalwareANDROID USERS have been warned again that they too can become victims of ransomware.

A Cryptolocker style Android virus dubbed Simplocker has been detected by security firm Eset, which confirmed that it scrambles files on the SD cards of infected devices before issuing a demand for payment.

The message is in Russian and the demand for payment is in Ukrainian hryvnias, equating to somewhere between £15 and £20.

Naturally, the warning also accuses the victim of looking at rather unsavoury images on their phone. However, while the source of the malware is said to be an app called "Sex xionix", it isn't available at the Google Play Store, which generally means that anyone who sideloads it is asking for trouble.

Eset believes that this is actually more of a "proof of concept" than an all-out attack, and far less dangerous than Cryptolocker, but fully functional.

Robert Lipovsky of Eset said, "The malware is fully capable of encrypting the user's files, which may be lost if the encryption key is not retrieved. While the malware does contain functionality to decrypt the files, we strongly recommend against paying up - not only because that will only motivate other malware authors to continue these kinds of filthy operations, but also because there is no guarantee that the crook will keep their part of the deal and actually decrypt them."

Eset recommends the usual - use a malware app. It recommends its own, obviously, and advises punters to keep files backed up. Following such advice, said Lipovsky, ensures that ransomware is "nothing more than a nuisance".

This is not the first Android cryptolocker style virus. Last month a similar virus was found, which Kaspersky said was "unsurprising, considering Android's market share". µ


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