May 07, 2014

How to protect against Android ransomware?

Apparently the ransomware that has been a problem on PCs has reached Android now. Users with it on their device get a screen that comes up and stays up, with a “warning” that they have viewed illegal content and their device is now encrypted. This is pretty much the same thing as happens with ransomware on PCs, along with a demand for a payment of hundreds of dollars to unlock the device. What needs to be done to protect against this kind of threat on Android devices?
Don’t pay up! How to avoid ransomware threats – and how to fight back

"For computer users, a form of malicious code dubbed ransomware can be among the most frightening forms of computer invasion – suddenly, your screen is replaced by a message that appears to be from the police, demanding money, or a message saying your files are lost unless you pay a ransom to unlock them.

It’s a booming business. Last year, security researcher Brian Krebs reported that gangs could earn up to $50,000 per day from such malware. This year, the Home Campaign continued to deliver ransomware via infected websites, with up to 40,000 domains infected at one point, according to ESET researcher Sebastian Duquette."
It is very easy to avoid. Don’t allow adult sites to install APKs on your device and you will be fine. While I question the choice of a smartphone for this type of activity anyway, you really have to unlock the door, hand the bad guys your key, and make them some tea after you invite them in to do what they will. To have this installed you have to (1) visit the site, (2) allow installation of apps from unknown sources in your settings menu, and (3) MANUALLY install the APK. If you don’t do any one of these three things, there is zero chance of you being affected. This is really a non-issue for almost everyone.
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