Unfortunately, even Android has malware. According to a report, 97% of malware is targeting Android. In this article, we will look at the 3 types of malware that not only you should know about but also be scared of, since they can cause a lot of damage.

1. Ransomware:

Ransomware Warning

Russian FBI warning

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your files and demands a ransom to be paid off to re-gain access back to your files.

An example of ransomware is an app called Simplocker. Simplocker is a Trojan that disguises itself as an app suitable for adults only. This ransomware was discovered by security researchers at ESET in Russian forums.

Once Simplocker is downloaded, it scans your smartphone’s SD card for documents, images and videos. It encrypts them using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Then it displays a fake FBI message in Russian that accuses the victim of downloading and viewing child pornography on their device. To get the files back, Simplocker demands a $21 to be paid in Ukrainian currency within 24 hrs. It claims that failing to pay the ransom will result in removing all of the files that it has encrypted. However, according to AVAST’s Android Malware Analyst Nikolaos Chrysaidos, the malware will not delete any files if it hasn’t received the payments, simply because it doesn’t have the functionality to do so.

If you are infected with Simplocker, you can download Simplocker Decryptor that was created by ESET.

Another type of ransomware is known as “svpeng”, which combines ransomware with credit card theft. Svpeng was originally created to target Russians. Spvpeng works by presenting a screen to input credit card details every time a user accesses Google Play Store, which then sends the credit card details to the criminal behind this malware.

However, for smartphone users in the US and UK that are infected with this type of malware, they would receive an FBI warning claiming that their device has child pornography in it and the only way to unlock it would be to pay a fine. Once spveng is on your smartphone, it would check to see whether you have a banking app installed. The good news is the Russian police arrested the creator of spveng in April, after he stole more than 50 million rubles ($930, 000) and infected more than 350, 000 Android devices.

Furthermore, you can read 11 ways to protect yourself from ransomware.

2. Sextortion malware:
Sextortion is an online blackmail where the victim is persuaded into performing sexual acts that are secretly recorded. The attacker then threatens to upload the video and send it to their friends or relatives if the victim doesn’t give in to their demands. These attacks are common in Asian countries.

However, these cyber criminals are getting smarter and smarter. What they are doing now is they pretend they are experiencing some sort of audio problems on chat apps like Skype and ask you to download a chat app of their choice. Once this chat app is installed on the device, it collects the user’s contacts and sends them to the criminal. The criminal then uses these contact information as a mean of a threat to extort more money from the infected user by threatening them to share the video with the user’s close family and friends.

The best way to avoid this is to never install any app from unknown websites or Asian websites. Google is your best friend and searching Google for the app before you install it can save you a lot of headaches.

3. Android power off hijack:
Android/PowerOffHijack discovered by AVG, is a type of malware that hijacks the process responsible for shutting down your smartphone, so that it appears to be off when in fact it’s functioning. It even plays the shutdown animation to convince you that it’s really turning off.

What this power off hijack does is it secretly takes pictures, makes calls, and sends messages while you think that your phone is turned off.

About 10,000 devices were infected as of February 18th 2015 with this malware. However, this type of malware only affects Android versions under 5.0, requires root access and has been found only on apps outside of Google Play Store.

To stay safe, don’t download apps from Chinese app stores or any unknown app stores. Always download your apps from Google Play Store.

– How to stay safe from malware:

F-Secure reported that 97% of mobile malware is on Android. But just because 97% of malware is on Android it certainly doesn’t mean Android is insecure. The best practice to stay safe is to only install apps from Google Play Store. Always read the reviews and do a bit of research of apps that are not very well known. Note that mostly malware can be found on unofficial app stores, or websites that let you download “hacked” apps.

Furthermore, you can install anti-malware apps like Malwarebytes or Avast that can help detect unwanted viruses and such. Always keep them up to date and scan your device regularly.

If you have a malware horror story then please feel free to share it with us.


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