Ransomware is not just for computers anymore. Malicious software that can hold Android-running smartphones hostage is growing in number. With that in mind, here are some facts about ransomware, and how you can protect your device from it.
How does ransomware make it onto your Android device?
Like its desktop equivalent, mobile ransomware needs to be installed on your device before it can do damage. For Android devices, this means mobile apps that hide their true intent. There are two ways to install programs on your mobile device: downloading them from app stores like Google Play and Amazon Appstore, or downloading them directly from websites and email links.
Surprisingly, both come with risks. Unverified sources often advertise free apps that hide malware, and the best of these can occasionally avoid detection and be allowed into monitored app stores.
What does mobile ransomware look like?
Similar to ransomware on personal computers, mobile ransomware holds data stored on your device hostage and demands ransom. For example, the popular Russian social network app OK was infected by ransomware in early 2018. The malware prompted users to change device settings. There was no option to close the prompt, and tapping Accept locked everything down and left victims with nothing but a ransom note.
How do you protect yourself from mobile ransomware?
First and foremost, avoid downloading apps directly from websites or third-party app stores. Additionally, make sure you turn on Google’s security system — Verify Apps — which scans all the apps about to be installed on your device for potential threats. You can do so by opening Settings > Security > Verify Apps, and activating :Scan device for security threats.”
Second, install antivirus software on your device and keep it up to date.
Third, back up important files from your device to either a USB disk, a computer, or any cloud-based service. This way, you won’t lose valuable data if you are forced to factory-reset your smartphone or tablet.
Last, if ransomware made its way onto your device, don’t pay. According to IT security company ESET, mobile ransomware very rarely includes programming to reverse the damage it has done.
Losing any type of data is at least an annoying inconvenience or at most an enormous legal liability. Businesses need to be especially careful about careless employees. Data loss could result in lawsuits or regulatory fines, so it’s important that everyone knows how to safeguard their Android devices against ransomware.
For more in-depth advice on how to protect yourself and your business from this threat, get in touch with our experts today.