Ransomware is coming for your mobile phone

By Peter Lambert | January 7, 2019


This article focuses on the Android mobile operating system but IOS (Apple) users are not immune. The same risks apply, especially for those running "Jail-broken" IOS.

"Similar to ransomware on personal computers, mobile ransomware holds data stored on your device hostage and demands ransom."

The increasing usage of mobile devices, specifically by businesses, will naturally entice more hackers to develop mobile ransomware. What is this form of malware, and how can you keep it from invading your Android device?

How does ransomware make it onto your mobile device?

Like its desktop equivalent, mobile ransomware needs to be installed on your device before it can do damage. For Android devices, this means mobile apps that hide their true intent. There are two ways to install programs on your mobile device: downloading them from app stores like Google Play and Amazon Appstore, or downloading them directly from websites and email links.

Surprisingly, both come with risks. Unverified sources often advertise free apps that hide malware, and the best of these can occasionally avoid detection and be allowed into monitored app stores.

What does mobile ransomware look like?

Similar to ransomware on personal computers, mobile ransomware holds data stored on your device hostage and demands ransom. For example, the popular Russian social network app OK was infected by ransomware in early 2018. The malware prompted users to change device settings. There was no option to close the prompt, and tapping Accept locked everything down and left victims with nothing but a ransom note.

How do you protect yourself from mobile ransomware?

First and foremost, avoid downloading apps directly from websites or third-party app stores. Additionally, make sure you turn on Google’s security system — Verify Apps — which scans all the apps about to be installed on your device for potential threats. You can do so by opening Settings > Security > Verify Apps, and activating :Scan device for security threats.”

Second, install antivirus software on your device and keep it up to date.

Third, back up important files from your device to either a USB disk, a computer, or any cloud-based service. This way, you won’t lose valuable data if you are forced to factory-reset your smartphone or tablet.

Last, if ransomware made its way onto your device, don’t pay. According to IT security company ESET, mobile ransomware very rarely includes programming to reverse the damage it has done.

Losing any type of data is at least an annoying inconvenience or at most an enormous legal liability. Businesses need to be especially careful about careless employees. Data loss could result in lawsuits or regulatory fines, so it’s important that everyone knows how to safeguard their Android devices against ransomware.

Talk to our Mobile experts

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 Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

TAGS: News and General, IT Security

About Peter Lambert
Peter Lambert

Marketing specialist and technical blogger @ Diamond IT - I have over 25 years of experience in Information & Communications systems. My range of skills is diverse and includes extensive experience in desktop solutions, server and network presales and administration, VOIP phone systems, journalism, creative writing, technical writing, digital videography and audio visual streaming. I hold a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and I am an experienced classroom trainer and course coordinator. I hold an Advanced Diploma in Network Security, a Diploma in Network Administration, and a Certificate IV in Networking. I am a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA).