News by Luke Jones on Thursday August 28, 2014.
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We have heard plenty about Android's security (or lack of it) in recent times, but Google's platform is under the spotlight again today. A new form of ransomware known as "ScarePackage" has been targeting Android devices and in the last 40 days has hit 900,000 smartphones and tablets. That adds to the already 5 million Android products that have malware problems.As is usually the case with these sort of things, the vicious software has been discovered by a security firm, in this instance San Francisco based Lookout. As you might expect, the company has the tools to stop you getting into this sort of bother on your Android product, but then so do a hundred other services. Lookout said to the New York Times: "This is, by far, the biggest U.S. targeted threat of ransomware we've seen," Jeremy Linden, a senior security product manager at Lookout told the Times. "In the past month, a single piece of malware has affected as many devices in the U.S., as a quarter of all families of malware in 2013." That means it is bad we suppose, but aside from being flippant over what is clearly a marketing ploy from Lookout, this raonsomware is real and is out there. Ransomware does exactly what it says on the tin and locks you out of your device until you pay a fee (the ransom). It usually happens by closing off all functionality on a machine and displaying a message that says you have been looking at or even distributing illegal pornography or other nefarious content. The only way to unblock the device is to pay a few hundred dollars to the people behind the ransomware. People sometimes make the mistake of thinking this kind of issue will only come from sites that, well... have dodgy stuff on them. Not every site with naked ladies is riddled with viruses though, and not every reputable website is free from security issues. Ransomware can occur if any site is simply not secure enough, whether it is porn or a website on how to make cupcakes. The ScarePackage can also be downloaded on apps, so as usual be careful when sideloading apps onto your Android device. Google Play is free from malware the company says, so downloading through Android's own portal is still your best bet. This ransomware can be avoided by simply being careful, but if you do see the first signs of it, you will have a very short time to shut your device down. We are hearing reports of 15 seconds as the cut off period between seeing the message and it killing your handset so you will need to at least fully close the browser in that time. If you have experienced this ScarePackage, let us know in the comments how you dealt with it. source: New York Times
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at Glamorgan University before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news.