Android Smartphone Users Warned of New Malware That Locks Screens

  • Internet security company, ESET East Africa, has warned mobile phone users running on the Android platform of harmful app stores that are used to spread malware.

    Teddy Njoroge, who is ESET's Manager for Kenya, observed an increase in ransomware for users of mobile devices such as a screen locking malware.

    “Just like SMS trojans, ransomware threats have evolved over the past few years with hackers adopting techniques that have proven effective in regular desktop malware to develop lock-screen types and file-encrypting ransomware.

    "These have been causing major financial and data losses for years and which have now made their way to the Android platform,” he explained.

    According to Njoroge, the crooks behind the malware plan use a seven-day window of not infecting the phone immediately after download.

    When the period ends, Android users are directed to the malware once they try to download any application from the store.

    “This is the first time I’ve seen an entire Android market infected like that. Within the Windows ecosystem and in browsers, this technique is known to have been used for some time but in the Android ecosystem, it’s really a new attack vector,” he added.

    Kenyans are advised to only download apps from official app stores and also practice caution while downloading any content from the internet.

    Additional precautions such as using reliable mobile security solutions and keeping them updated will also help keep information safe.