LeakerLocker: Al Berman on the Latest Ransomware Headache

Ransomware eye with matrix looks at viewer conceptAdd another version of Ransomware designed to attack Android mobile devices.

LeakerLocker, unlike Wannacry and that family of ransomware, does not encrypt your devices data, it simply creates an unauthorized backup of your phones information.  It then threatens to reveal some embarrassing and/or sensitive information if the data owner does not pay a modest ransom – $50. In return, the LeakerLocker malware promises to delete your data. Of course, in order to pay off the ransom you have to provide credit card information. Which, of course, now provides those perpetrators with some more information.

Contained in two Android apps – “Wallpapers Blur HD” and “Booster & Cleaner Pro” – the malware actually asks your permission for access to calls. Reading and sending SMS, access to contacts, access to history, pictures and some device information whose relevancy to the actual app purpose is suspect.

To pay or not to pay?  Almost every authority, software provider or white hat asks that the ransom not be paid. First, to prevent proliferation of ransomware and second to prevent the hackers from getting credit card info. Also, there is no guarantee (aside from the honorable hacker’s word) that your information will still not wind up being sold or otherwise used. The good news is that the malware has only affected fewer than 15,000 devices and again only Android devices.

Lessons learned: before downloading an app perform a search to see if there are any reviews. Don’t trust the reviews provided by the app developer or download site. It takes a minute and will save you from making a mistake. Also, if an app asks for information or access to information that has nothing to do with the apps function, be very suspicious.

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