Ransomware on Smartphones : Recognize, Prevent and Delete

Hey there, Do you know all about Ransomware? if not then continue reading this Ransomware can be a foretelling to have on your smartphone as hackers can lock your smartphone and demand ransom to unlock it. Paying the ransom also at times does not guarantee you will get back access to your phone. Today we will discuss everything about Ransomware on Smartphones.

What is ransomware?
Ransomware is malicious software that invades your smartphone, enabling cybercriminals to gain entrance to your Android device and encrypt your phone remotely or steal susceptible data from your smartphone. To get back your information or unlock your device they demand ransom which mostly is in the form of digital currency.

Hackers can trick you into downloading this malicious software accidentally via social media schemes. The users unknowingly download the malicious software thinking they are downloading some useful relevant software.

Once the malware is downloaded onto the mobile device the hackers are able to encrypt files and lock the device. It is only after the ransom amount is paid generally via Bitcoins you get back entrance to your smartphone. The hackers will send you back a code to unlock your device and decrypt your data. A word of caution seldom paying the money also does not guarantee you will receive the unlock key to your data.

Ransomware Incidents
According to assurance firm AVG, there has been a rise in the number of ransomware incidents, earlier in the year 2017, 6.5 percent of all ransomware attacks were aimed at Android devices. Though the number offered in 2018 it has increased again.

Earlier last year a malware called Cryptolocker infected more than 10000 computers and also has infiltrated both Android and Apple mobiles. The hackers demanded $300 from each victim in exchange for a decryption code.

The same year another malware called Double locker was spread using fake apps, which were downloaded from endangered websites. The malware was able to change the device PIN and encrypted primary storage files and renamed the extension files as “.cryeye.” They also demanded a ransom to decrypt the files.

The Kohler ransomware is another malware that disguises itself as a fake adult themed app and has infected many Android devices in the US. When the user tours the adult-themed website and downloads an app to view the desired content, the app asks the user to install the app. This gives the cybercriminal the decision to access the device and later he displays a few messages that your phone has been hacked. This intelligence appears to be from the FBI, telling the user to pay a fee for viewing the pornographic content.

What can Android ransomware steal?
There is a variety of ransomware out there, the most common being the scareware, screen locks and encrypting ransomware.

Scareware: In this case, you will suddenly get a notification on your smartphone saying a fraudulent software has been found and you need to pay to have this removed. You may be bombarded with popup messages but your file remains safe.

Screen Lock: This is a common form of ransomware we get to see on Android devices. The ransomware completely excludes you from the devices and you no longer can unlock it. You get to view a logo from a government agency such as the FBI which suggests you have done something illegal and must pay a fine.

Encrypting ransomware: This is a rare form of ransomware used by hackers yet is the most annoying version. In this case, the hackers gain control over your smartphone and encrypt the files. They will demand ransom for decrypting the files but even if you pay them the ransom you may end up not getting the decryption keys to get back your files. The ransom amount can vary from 100 to 1000 euros, nowadays hackers prefer digital currency as it’s easy to process and not get caught.

How to Prevent a ransomware attack?
Prevention is better than cure, the same advice applies when it comes to ransomware on your Android device. Hackers successfully hide malicious software in hidden links, email attachments, and advertisements. It is forever the best method to avoid clicking any link or website that is questionable or suspicious. Do not open emails from unknown email addresses that offer business proposals for you.

Keep your smartphone always renewed with the latest Android security updates and update all your apps regularly. As a safety precaution, it is highly suggested that you backup all your important files, photos and documents on cloud storage, this will ensure you won’t lose them even if the hackers lock your phone.

There are anti ransomware apps available on Play Store like Malwarebytes which can keep you safe from such attacks. The app warns you in case you try to open a questionable link.

How to Delete Ransomware?
The anticipation to keep the ransomware at bay may at times not be enough and your Android smartphone might be hit by a ransomware attack. Remain calm do not panic and never pay for the ransom demanded. Try to follow the few suggestions we have for you in a situation like this.

  1. Start your Android device in safe mode, if you are using the latest smartphone this can be done by holding down the power button. Also, hold the ‘Disable button’ and register you wish to start in safe mode. Once you are in safe mode, proceed to step 3.
  2. In case you are using an old model smartphone you can, hold down the power button until you see the logo of the smartphone brand on your screen. Release the power button and press the volume button down. Continue to hold it down until your phone restarts.
  3. You will view the words at the bottom left of your screen which will indicate that your phone is in Safe Mode. Once done go to the Settings menu and choose ‘Apps and notifications’ In the application list look for programs that are not close to you and try to remove this malicious software. In case you are frustrated with the reliability of an app you can always look for it on Google and confirm if it is ransomware before you remove it.
  4. Once you have removed the malicious software from your Android device, turn off the Safe Mode by restarting the device.

A word of forewarning the above method works with mild variants of ransomware such as scareware. In case your files are encrypted it is desirable to report the issue with the police. They can offer you the services of specialists who can help unlock your Android device.

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