Malware, Ransomware

Ransomware became main threat to Android users in 1H 2016


The Android SLocker ransomware family accounts for 16 percent of mobile malware in the UK.


Recent research conducted by Bitdefender shows that ransomware became the main danger to Android users in the first half of 2016. Bitdefender's Android statistics also found that SLocker ransomware accounts for almost half of all mobile malware in Denmark, a quarter in Germany, 21.54 percent in Australia and 16 percent in the US.


On Android, ransomware has been caught attempting to lock devices and has become gradually harder to remove from one iteration to the next.


Android ransomware requires user interaction for sideloading the malicious .apk file which stirs suspicion of advanced users but possibly tricking less tech-savvy victims.


Further fueling cyber-criminal activity, UK consumers that have been victimised by ransomware are willing to pay £400 to decrypt their files, while Germans are willing to pay €210 and US victims would pay $350.


To stay safe from Android ransomware, users should do the following:

  • Use a known, award-winning mobile security solution
  • Avoid sideloading applications from third-party marketplaces and always install apps from official app stores
  • Back up your data
  • Carefully read app permissions to avoid giving away personal data of allowing cyber-criminals to control your device

Bitdefender strongly encourages companies to:

  • Use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform for managing employee devices and installing mobile security software
  • Deploy a backup solution
  • Restrict users from installing unvented applications or from untrusted marketplaces
  • Protect email servers with content filtering solutions
  • Educate employees on identifying spear-phishing emails and other social engineering techniques

In emailed commentary to, Bogdan Botezatu, senior e-Threat analyst at Bitdefender said, “Since ransomware has turned out to be a hugely profitable business when it comes to Windows victims, turning to Android was only a matter of time. Malware developers have realised that the amount of information stored on a victim's personal Android device is worth giving in to ransomware demands, hence the recent spike in ransomware reports for the mobile platform.”

“If half of PC ransomware victims usually end up paying – according to Bitdefender research – it stands to reason that Android victims would be just as inclined to do the same. To that end, this recent Android ransomware proliferation could significantly boost the overall global financial losses caused by ransomware, potentially fueling cyber-criminal activities even more than before.”

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