Slovakian security company ESET has revealed that it has discovered ransomware that is targeted at Android users. Ransomware is a type of malware that has long affected home PCs and works by preventing access to files or effectively crippling machines.
Anyone infected with ransomware is typically given the option of paying a fee in order to remove whatever restrictions the malware has put in place. Of course, anyone who coughs up the cash is far from guaranteed to have their access restored.
In the latest discovery, the ransomware works by first scanning any SD card that is inserted into an infected Android device. It will then encrypt certain types of file on the card, before offering the user an option of paying for decryption.
In this particular case, the message requesting payment appears in Russian, with Ukrainian hryvnias the required currency.
Of course, this type of report is potentially beneficial to security companies, and ESET recommends using its own security app in order to guard against such attacks.
The new threat does, however, once again highlight the risks of installing Android apps from unknown sources.
Only downloading apps via Google Play offers a high level of security reassurance. And using the in-built Verify apps feature – available on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and above – is also recommended, although it is not known whether this currently detects the ransomware identified by ESET.