Google will include a new defensive measure in the upcoming Android 7.0, or Nougat, operating system that will block ransomware designed to lock the device's display.
Nougat will be able to defeat malware such as Android.Lockdroid.E that scares a victim into downloading the malware using a fake interface. Once on the device the malware resets the lockscreen password by invoking the device's “resetpassword” API, wrote Symantec researcher Dinesh Venkatesan. Nougat will contain a “condition” that will only allow the API to set, and not reset, the password.
“This development will be effective in ensuring that malware cannot reset the lockscreen password, as the change is strictly enforced and there is no backward compatibility escape route for the threat. Backward compatibility would have allowed malware to reset the lockscreen password even on newer Android versions,” Venkatesan wrote.
Nougat is currently being Beta tested and is expected to become available later this year.