New Android ransomware has been discovered, and apparently no mobile antivirus program has been able to detect it. The ransomware was discovered in a popular app called “OK”, a Russian-based entertainment social network app available in Google Play store. Interestingly, the app in this official store is completely clean and app has between 50 and 100 million installations. The app in third party app stores, however, is not.
Zscaler researchers say that the Android malware stays silent for the first four hours after installation, thus enabling the original app to operate without interruptions. This method allows the ransomware to bypass detection by AV engines. Once the four hours are over, users will be shown a prompt to add a device admin. This allows the app to change the screen unlock password, monitor screen-unlock attempts, lock the screen and set lock-screen password expiration.
Unfortunately, pressing the Cancel button doesn’t help as the prompt quickly reappears, thus preventing user from any action, uninstalling the app inclusive. Furthermore, by pressing the Activate button the screen gets locked and a full-screen ransom note is displayed.
The researchers analyzed the ransomware to make sure whether it sends the victim’s data to a server. They didn’t find any personal data leak as claimed in the ransom’s note. In addition, the ransomware turned out incapable of unlocking the user’s phone.
Regardless of whether the user transfers the requested ransom amount to the attacker’s e-wallet, the ransomware will not stop operating. As soon as phone screen is locked, the malware will notify its Command & Control (C&C) server about the new victim. Interestingly, there is no functionality present in the malware to confirm whether the user has paid the ransom or not and it, therefore, continues to operate.
How Does the Ransomware Evade AV Detection?
After the researchers analyzed how clean apps such as the Russian OK app became infected, they realized that the threat author has created an automated method for infecting multiple apps through the same method.
Shortly said, most AV engines execute samples for a few seconds or minutes to detect malicious behavior associated with an app. In this case, the ransomware didn’t show its presence for four hours. This way, the malware author evaded the dynamic analysis by antivirus systems. “Considering the stealth tactics designed into this sample, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine the author successfully uploading this ransomware to the Google Play Store”, researchers add.
Infected users should boot their devices into Safe Mode, this way disabling third-party applications. Then they should remove the device admin privilege of the infected app, uninstall the app and re-boot the device back to normal mode.
Security tip: To minimize the risk of such infections, go to Security settings/Device administration and de-select “Unknown sources.”
What is Ransomware?
is a ransomware infection - the malicious software that enters your computer silently and blocks either access to the computer itself or encrypt your files.
Many ransomware viruses use sophisticated encryption algorithms to make your files inaccessible. The goal of ransomware infections is to demand that you pay a ransom payment to get access to your files back.
What Does Ransomware Do?
Ransomware in general is a malicious software that is designed to block access to your computer or files until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware viruses can also damage your system, corrupt data and delete files, resulting in the permanent loss of important files.
How Does Infect?
Via several ways. Ransomware infects computers by being sent via phishing emails, containing virus attachment. This attachment is usually masked as an important document, like an invoice, bank document or even a plane ticket and it looks very convincing to users.
Another way you may become a victim of is if you download a fake installer, crack or patch from a low reputation website or if you click on a virus link. Many users report getting a ransomware infection by downloading torrents.
How to Open . files?
You can't without a decryptor. At this point, the . files are encrypted. You can only open them once they are decrypted using a specific decryption key for the particular algorithm.
What to Do If a Decryptor Does Not Work?
Do not panic, and backup the files. If a decryptor did not decrypt your . files successfully, then do not despair, because this virus is still new.
Can I Restore "." Files?
Yes, sometimes files can be restored. We have suggested several file recovery methods that could work if you want to restore . files.
These methods are in no way 100% guaranteed that you will be able to get your files back. But if you have a backup, your chances of success are much greater.
How To Get Rid of Virus?
The safest way and the most efficient one for the removal of this ransomware infection is the use a professional anti-malware program.
It will scan for and locate ransomware and then remove it without causing any additional harm to your important . files.
Can I Report Ransomware to Authorities?
In case your computer got infected with a ransomware infection, you can report it to the local Police departments. It can help authorities worldwide track and determine the perpetrators behind the virus that has infected your computer.
Below, we have prepared a list with government websites, where you can file a report in case you are a victim of a cybercrime:
Cyber-security authorities, responsible for handling ransomware attack reports in different regions all over the world:
Germany - Offizielles Portal der deutschen Polizei
United States - IC3 Internet Crime Complaint Centre
United Kingdom - Action Fraud Police
France - Ministère de l'Intérieur
Italy - Polizia Di Stato
Spain - Policía Nacional
Netherlands - Politie
Poland - Policja
Portugal - Polícia Judiciária
Greece - Cyber Crime Unit (Hellenic Police)
India - Mumbai Police - CyberCrime Investigation Cell
Australia - Australian High Tech Crime Center
Reports may be responded to in different timeframes, depending on your local authorities.
Can You Stop Ransomware from Encrypting Your Files?
Yes, you can prevent ransomware. The best way to do this is to ensure your computer system is updated with the latest security patches, use a reputable anti-malware program and firewall, backup your important files frequently, and avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading unknown files.
Can Ransomware Steal Your Data?
Yes, in most cases ransomware will steal your information. It is a form of malware that steals data from a user's computer, encrypts it, and then demands a ransom in order to decrypt it.
Can Ransomware Infect WiFi?
Yes, ransomware can infect WiFi networks, as malicious actors can use it to gain control of the network, steal confidential data, and lock out users. If a ransomware attack is successful, it could lead to a loss of service and/or data, and in some cases, financial losses.
Should I Pay Ransomware?
No, you should not pay ransomware extortionists. Paying them only encourages criminals and does not guarantee that the files or data will be restored. The better approach is to have a secure backup of important data and be vigilant about security in the first place.
What Happens If I Don't Pay Ransom?
If you don't pay the ransom, the hackers may still have access to your computer, data, or files and may continue to threaten to expose or delete them, or even use them to commit cybercrimes. In some cases, they may even continue to demand additional ransom payments.
Can a Ransomware Attack Be Detected?
Yes, ransomware can be detected. Anti-malware software and other advanced security tools can detect ransomware and alert the user when it is present on a machine.
It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest security measures and to keep security software updated to ensure ransomware can be detected and prevented.
Do Ransomware Criminals Get Caught?
Yes, ransomware criminals do get caught. Law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Interpol and others have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting ransomware criminals in the US and other countries. As ransomware threats continue to increase, so does the enforcement activity.
About the Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific malware and restore your encrypted files.
How did we conduct the research on this ransomware?
Our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, and as such, we receive daily updates on the latest malware and ransomware definitions.
To better understand the ransomware threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.
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