Android ransomware may not be a virus that you recognize from numerous attacks that hackers typically launch on Windows and Mac OS X users.
These malicious parasites are build to block Android OS-running devices and make the victims pay a set amount of ransom just to get the control over their smartphones back again.
Android-based ransomware started spreading around as a simple viruses that block the access to the phone with a lock screen ransom note. However, some of them were soon modified to obtain Device Administrator privileges and change the PIN code of the device.
Knowing that your phone’s or other device’s PIN can be changed by hackers is already highly unsettling, but there is much more Android malware can do.
At the end of 2016, security researchers discovered the most surprising news — some smartphone parasites are capable of blocking LG Smart TVs.
Fortunately, LG didn’t leave their clients to deal with the hijack alone and helped the victim to remove Android virus permanently with TV factory reset.
Other versions of this malware can be removed with the help of Reimage.
Users who prefer visiting various potentially insecure domains are more exposed to the risk of this file-encrypting malware. You can accidentally infect your phone with this virus by clicking on unreliable links. Such links are usually displayed on high-risk websites (mostly gambling or pornographic content sites).
Additionally, you can become a victim of the ransomware by downloading unreliable apps from shady app stores. For example, adult content related apps such as Porn ‘O’ Mania, Love Beauty, Sexy Hot, Sexy, Lutu and similar apps are known to be spreading mobile ransomware around. You can find these programs in some third-party app stores only.
Unfortunately, we cannot list all of Android ransomware app names. That’s why you should always double check apps before installing them on your device. In short, now you should concentrate on Android ransomware removal.
When a user installs such malicious app and runs it, he/she receives an additional pop-up message on the screen, which might look like a regular system message that asks to adjust app settings or to install additional (or recommended) apps.
If the user clicks on this window or agrees to “continue,” he or she unconsciously gives admin rights to the virus. This is exactly what Android malware needs. This indirect method to get user’s agreement is called clickjacking – it forces the user to agree with something that he/she was not aware of.
Ransomware exploits infected device’s administrative privileges
When Android virus gains access to monitor the phone as an administrator, it finds all files on the phone and encrypts them. As a consequence, they become inaccessible.
Then, this mobile virus displays a threatening message, saying that the user has accessed illegal content. It also warns that your personal records, as well as web browsing history might be sent to all contacts that were found on your phone.
In addition to that, this virus can change your phone passcode and PIN code. The reason update of the malware contributes to the better performance of the threat and makes it more troublesome to remove.
Previously, the malware exploited hard coded passwords to lock victims devices. Luckily, virus researchers found a workaround – they created a matching code according to the pattern of lock screen original code.
After finding out that their masterpiece was cracked by the “good guys”, hackers came up with the update. Now they switched to pseudorandom codes which are generated in the manner of Math.Random function.
In short, the hackers are able to generate unique 6-digit or 8-digit codes. Moreover, they combined this method with the former peculiarity. Certainly, this technique burdens the termination of the ransomware.
Furthermore, this mobile virus is called a ransomware not without a reason. In the ransom note, the malware demands to transfer the money in order to recover personal files and secure your privacy. It claims:
Your location: XXXX
Operating system: XXXX
You are accused of viewing / storage and / or dissemination of banned pornography…you have violated World Declaration of non-proliferation. You are accused of committing the crime envisaged by Article 161 of the United States of America criminal law. Article 161 of the United States or America criminal law provides for the punishment of deprivation of liberty for terms from 5 to 11 years. Also you are suspected of violation of copyright and related rights law (downloading of pirated music, video, warez) and of use and / or of dissemination of copyrighted content.
This alert also claims that you should pay the ransom but you should never do that! This virus can encrypt your files, but reportedly it can permanently delete them all, too. Therefore, there is no logical reason to pay the ransom. It is very unlikely that your files can be recovered, so the only thing you can do now is to remove Android ransomware and protect your device against similar virus attacks in the future.
Android ransomware is getting increasingly more dangerous as the hackers apply new techniques for the development of its versions. The latest version that is specifically oriented towards the Russian-speaking users employs Firebase Cloud Messaging platform (the former Google Cloud Messaging) to lock the smartphone’s screen.
This facilitates the operation of the hackers’ Command & Control centre which is already responsible for around 20 operations that can be carried out on the infected device. The hackers can remotely lock or unlock the smartphone screen, gain access to the saved contacts and create new ones, send SMS and make adjustments to the malware code.
For the unlocking of the phone, hackers demand a huge amount of money (around 9,100 dollars) which usually doubles or triples the actual phone’s worth.
Unfortunately, there are users who are willing to pay the ransom. What they fail to realize, though, is that the money they send to the hackers motivates them to continue creating malicious programs in the future.
If you are ever in such a situation or if your phone is locked at this very moment — do not pay the ransom or enter any sensitive information you might be asked by the hackers. Instead, delete the virus from your device following the instructions we provide at the end of this article.
Protect your smartphone data
According to our research, the malware can only affect phones that run earlier versions than Android 5.0. Unfortunately, it means that over 67 percent of Android users can unexpectedly infect their phones with Android ransomware. That is why we want to share some tips how you can secure your phone from malware attacks:
- Download applications ONLY from verified and secure app stores. You can trust Amazon, Samsung, or Google Play stores.
- Keep your phone software updated.
- You can also install an app that is capable of securing your device from malware infiltration – we recommend BullGuard Mobile Security.
- It ensures complete Android ransomware removal.
Android virus is a huge family of various cyber infections that targets Android users. Cyber criminals create new variants of malware in order to swindle the money from smartphone users who do not protect their devices with powerful security software, click on suspicious ads or install programs from third-party stores. However, the recent example of the virus – LeakerLocker – shown that malware can bypass Google’s security and pretend to be a useful app in Play Store.
Different variants of malware can lock device’s screen, encrypt files, steal personal data and cause other privacy-related issues. On July 2017, researchers discovered a new version of Android malware known as “Invisible Man” which steals banking app data and other sensitive information.
However, just several weeks ago, researchers introduced GhostCtrl that opens the backdoor into the device and allows the attacks to record victim’s audio/video and steal important data. Thus, it only proves that Android users should pay attention to their devices’ security.
In fact, almost all Android viruses are interested in getting personally identifiable information about the victim. Most often, this information includes credit card details, logins, and passwords. Other variants cause less damage, such as sharing victim’s contact list, recording conversations, delivering unwanted pop-up ads, initiating redirects to various websites or infecting the device with other malware.
If you noticed that your tablet or phone is behaving oddly, you should not ignore these symptoms of the possible infection.
If you have been dealing with slowdowns, suspicious alerts, redirects and surprisingly increased telephone bill, you should check your device for malware because they are the main signs showing that you are infected.
To remove Android virus, you can use Reimage.
Installation of mobile apps can lead to infiltration of malware
The most of the Android viruses can be downloaded from the Google Play store, together with safely-looking apps. No matter how much effort Google puts while trying to protect users and prevent these malicious apps from bypassing their security, viruses find a way to this store. Recently, security experts reported about a list of over 75 applications infected with Xavier Android virus found on Google Play Store.
However, it’s not the only way how Android virus can infect the device. In February 2016, one of the variants was noticed spreading vie text messages.
Once inside the system, it enabled illegal connections.
In 2017, security experts reported about several variants of this malware using sophisticated social engineering techniques to infiltrate the device via trojanized apps. Therefore, you should be careful when installing third party apps because they can be infected with 10001_1.jar virus.
You can also get Rabbitfiles virus or similar malware from the third-party or file-sharing websites. Besides, Whatsap ads and similar notifications can also result in problems related to your Android phone. It’s clear that 2017 means a new era for Android viruses. If, in 2016, one in ten apps was infected, now this number continues growing.
Tips to avoid Android malware
Getting infected with Android virus is surely a frustrating experience. Pushy ads signal that there’s something wrong with your Android device. Security researchers highly recommend avoiding lottery-themed and similar ads that can start interrupting you once you start using your device.
Besides, you should pay attention to such signs as constant freezes on your device. If your phone or other Android-based device has started freezing up and stopping from functioning while you are browsing the Internet, you should install Android antivirus to check it.
Also, pay attention to your telephone bill and track the numbers. If you have started receiving an increased telephone bill, you should double check your month’s report. There is a high possibility that the infection has signed you up for some premium service. To save the money, you have to take care of Android virus removal on your device.
To prevent such threats, you should think about Android antivirus software.
However, some experts claim that prevention of such malware does not require security apps because Android is safer than other operating systems, but they also agree that you need to think about prevention techniques to save yourself from such viruses.
The analysis of distribution methods of the mobile virus
Android virus has been actively spread via third party apps that have to be installed on the phone manually. However, new methods used for distributing this threat have started spreading around and today you can get infected with this virus by clicking on malicious link as well. In most of the cases, people download this threat to their devices in a bundle with unlicensed or experimental apps that are actively promoted on Google Play store and similar locations.
To avoid this, we highly recommend you to download your apps only from legitimate app stores that check every program before they start promoting it. Google Play Store, Amazon and Samsung can be trusted in this case. Besides, even if you select any of these app stores, you should still double check the app before downloading it to your device because you can never know what kind of malware is hiding in it.
If you are interested in cyber security, you must have already heard about hackers who managed to add their malicious app to the Google Play store and collected more than 10.000 downloads before it was revealed.
Also, it has been reported about affected websites that can download an infected app to your phone automatically.
To keep your device clean and ensure protection against Android virus, you should stop visiting suspicious/illegal sites and never click links that may show up for you while visiting them.
Finally, we believe that it is time to think about mobile antivirus that could help people prevent installation of malicious apps, including Android malware.
The chronology and developent of the Android virus
NotCompatible virus is a dangerous Android virus that acts as a proxy. As soon as it gets into its target system, it connects to its server and waits for specific commands. There have been many speculations that this malware is capable of connecting affected devices into a botnet and then turning them into spam machines.
Some part of security experts have warned that NotCompatible malware can easily be used to steal personal information from the phone or similar device.
To protect yourself from these issues, we highly recommend you to download mobile antivirus. It will help you to prevent infiltration of such and similar threats.
Lastacloud virus is a trojan horse also known as Android.Lastacloud.
It has been actively spread as updates for WhatsApp and Android Browser that present themselves as Updatecom.whatsapp.update and com.androidbrowser.update.
Once inside the device, this threat seeks to steal personal information, such as contact list, accounts that are assessed thru the device by the victim, the internal and external storage, and similar data.
It can also try to infect the system with other cyber threats. Almost each of reputable Android antivirus programs can help you to remove Lastacloud virus from the system. Please, do NOT postpone its removal because this virus can lead you to serious problems.
Android Police Virus is a newly-designed version of FBI virus, which is capable of infecting Android OS. Today, it is the most dangerous example of Android virus because it can block the entire system and encrypt each of files that are installed on it.
Also, it can cause warning messages and redirects to malicious websites seeking to make people pay the ransom for its developers. It is hard not to notice the infiltration of this virus. If you are infected, you should avoid visiting websites that require adding your logins and passwords. Of course, you need to remove Android malware ASAP.
Android ransomware is a malicious mobile phone threat that uses a clickjacking technique to get admin rights on the victimized Android device. However, it can also infiltrate the device thru malicious apps, such as Porn ‘O’ Mania. To avoid infected apps, you should use only official stores, such as Google Play and Appstore.
Once Android ransomware infects the system, it encrypts victim’s files and locks it down. It also threatens the user and claims to share victim’s data and browsing history with the people on the contacts list. This virus must be removed immediately.
Svpeng virus is Android ransomware which was introduced in 2014. However, it seems that it is still active – in 2016 Android users were struck by a huge wave of this virus causing serious problems on their phones and tablets. What does this malware cause?
It is a typical “lockscreen” parasite that blocks the screen of the phone with a fake warning message from FBI. In reality, people who are working behind Svpeng ransomware do not have any connections to FBI.
They are seeking just to trick their victims into paying the fake ransom. Please, do NOT fall for these claims. You need to remove Svpeng from the system by resetting your Android device to factory settings.
Mazar malware is not a traditional version of Android virus. This threat spreads via text messages that are filled with infected links. Once the victim clicks such seemingly-legitimate link, Android OS gets infected with the malicious software that starts running dangerous activities behind your back.
Typically, it starts monitoring the phone or other Android device, changes its settings according to its needs, sends SMS to premium numbers, and initiates illegal connections via the Internet.
Those who are connected to are granted with administrator rights, so they can do whatever they want. There is no doubt that you must remove Mazar virus from your device. Otherwise, you can loose your banking data and similar information.
Smart cars-hacking Android malware was introduced by virus researchers at the end of November 2016. According to the company which is known as Promon, it was used by them to hack into the official Android application of Tesla that allows finding the car, opening its door and starting the engine.
To perform these commands, Android malware modifies the source code of the official Tesla app at first.
Then, it shares victim’s username and password with the attackers and helps them steal the car.
However, the virus, which was tested by Promon researchers, does not rely on any security vulnerabilities of the Tesla app. According to the company, it has to be installed manually with the help of social engineering and similar techniques.
Gooligan malware has corrupted over 86 applications, such as Youtube Downloader, Kiss Browser, Memory booster, Demo, Perfect Cleaner, Battery Monitor, System Booster, etc.
It seems that all system performance and browser-related programs and gaming, as well as pornographic applications, risk becoming the carriers of Gooligan. Over 74% of all Android phones might be vulnerable to this new version of the virus.
After the infection process is complete, the malware roots the device and enables full access to install more malicious elements. Such activity is done for the sole purpose of stealing your personal information such as login data to banking accounts. Interestingly, Ghost Push virus, which hit the stage last year, provided a foundation for the current malware. Needless to say, the improved version is much more treacherous.
HummingWhale virus. This malicious virus is an updated copy of HummingBad malware which is known for its massive attacks against Android users.
Back in 2016, this virus managed to wreak havoc on approximately 10 million Android devices. Recently, HummingBad appeared in a new form and a new name, and this time it is dubbed HummingWhale malware.
HummingWhale malware was apparently available on Google Play Store for a while in the form of 20 various applications, most of them being called [random word] Camera. Examples include Rainbow Camera, Whale Camera, Ice Camera, Hot Camera, and similar applications. The malware used to set up a virtual machine on the infected device, stealthily install extra applications on the device and serve annoying advertisements for the user. Once the user closed an ad, the malware uploaded already installed shady program to the virtual machine to create a fake referrer ID, which is used to generate revenue.
HummingBad virus. First discovered on February 2016, malware has already infected more than 10 million Android users. The malware had been spreading via “drive-by download attacks, ” and users got infected after visiting particular malicious websites. In the January 2017, malware has been spotted actively spreading again on Google Play store as HummingWhale application.
After infiltration, HummingBad malware gets access to the core of the smartphone’s operating system.
Then, it starts delivering misleading ads and displaying alerts about necessary system updates. When users click on these advertisements, developers of the application generate revenue. However, it’s not the main problem. Malware also gets full access to the infected device and can steal users’ private information, such as contacts, logins, credit card or banking information. For this reason, it’s crucial to remove HummingBad as soon as it shows up on the device.
Lockdroid ransomware. Also known as Android.Lockdroid.E, malware spreads as a pornography app “Porn ‘O’ Mania”.
The virus use social engineering techniques to get admin rights of the infected device.
It aims to achieve this goal by using fake package installation. As soon as the installation is completed, Lockdroid virus gets full access to the device and encrypts data.
What is more, it can change the PIN and lock the device. In this way malware elimination might become difficult. Malware uses clickjacking technique and attacks smartphones and tablets with Android 5.0 or newer versions of the OS. According to the Google, this malicious app cannot be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
GhostCtrl virus exploits an Android vulnerability to help its owners to get control over device. It showed up in the middle of 2017 when it was found attacking Israeli hospitals, but it is not considered a new virus. However, according to some of security experts, malware is not going to stop – soon it can become ransomware-type threat as this virus has also been found to have some locking capability as well.
It spreads presenting itself as a legitimate app, such as WhatsApp and Pokemon Go. Once inside the system, GhostCtrl malware drops a malicious Android application package (APK) and opens the backdoor of the system to provide a full access to victim’s personal information, videos and audios. It can also reset passwords and call or send texts to victim’s contacts.
Invisible Man. On July 2017, security experts discovered an updated and improved variant of Svpeng attacking banking app users in 23 countries.
The virus spreads as a fake Flash Player app in the suspicious and insecure download websites. Fortunately, malware hasn’t made it to Google Play Store. However, when users install this malicious app, they give administrator rights to the device. As a result, cyber criminals can control it via Command and Control server.
The malicious program works a key-logger and collects credentials when a user logs in to the bank via a mobile app. Besides, Invisible Man malware can send and read messages, make and listen phone calls, open phishing URLs, and collect various information. It also prevents victims from removing its administrative rights, so it’s removal becomes complicated.
LeakerLocker ransomware virus. In the middle of August 2017, malware researchers discovered LeakerLocker spreading via two apps available on Google Play Store. The malicious application was hiding under Wallpapers Blur HD” and “Booster & Cleaner Pro” apps.
One user’s installed one of these programs, malware locks device’s screen with a threatening message. According to it, this version of Android malware gained access to the sensitive data. If victim’s don’t pay the ransom within 72 hours, all the information will be leaked.
However, security experts doubt that malware can cause such damage and recommend eliminating LeakerLocker from the device with security software.
Android virus termination guidelines
If your device is infected with Android virus, you can run into these problems:
- The loss of sensitive information. Malicious apps that are used to infect Android OS can collect different kinds of data. Such information includes contacts, logins, e-mail addresses and similar information that is important for attackers.
- Money loss. The most of Android malware is capable of sending messages to premium-rate numbers or subscribing users to premium services. This can lead you to the money loss and similar issues.
- Infiltration of malware. Android virus can try to take over your device and infect it with other malware. It can also cause annoying ads, pop-up alerts, and fake warning messages.
- Performance-related issues. When infected with such threat, you may notice system instability problems, slow downs and similar problems.
If you think that your device is infected, we highly recommend you to scan it with Reimage for Tablets and smartphones or some other reliable Android virus cleaner. It will help you detect malicious files and other fraudulent components on your device. Sometimes viruses block security software in order to avoid their elimination. If that is the case, you should reboot your Android device into Safe Mode before launching your Android antivirus:
- Find the power button and press it for a couple of seconds until you see a menu. Tap the Power off.
- Once you see a dialog window that offers you to reboot your Android to Safe Mode, select this option and OK.
If this failed to work for you, just turn off your device and then turn it on. Once it becomes active, try pressing and holding Menu, Volume Down, Volume Up or Volume Down and Volume Up together to see Safe Mode.
You can also try to perform Android virus removal manually by uninstalling the malicious app yourself. However, you should be very careful when trying to do so because you may remove useful files and apps. For manual removal of Android virus, please follow these steps:
- Reboot your device into Safe Mode with the help of steps that are given above.
- When in Safe Mode, go to Settings. Once there, click on Apps or Application manager (this may differ depending on your device).
- Here, look malicious app(s) and uninstall all of them.
We also recommend turning off the option that allows installing apps that belong to unknown sources. For that, go to Settings -> Security. Once there, turn off this option.
Updated Android virus removal steps:
If nothing helps you remove Android malware from your phone or tablet, you should reset it to its factory settings. For that, you need to perform these steps:
- Click the Settings icon on your device. You can find it among other apps.
- Select Privacy (or Personal) and Factory reset (you can also find it as Factory data reset, Backup & reset, etc.). We recommend selecting Back up my data to protect it from the loss.
- Click Reset device to remove Android virus and other storage from your device.