An orange cat making a funny face this is what victims of El Gato (cat) ransomware see when their Android phones have been infected by this virus. McAfee labs researchers from its mobile division have seen that this virus’ is controlled remotely and it aims to make an android device no longer to be useful unless the victim pays a provided ransom payment. In addition to this El Gato has also been reported to have an infostealing ability allowing it to steal text messages and other information. In case you have been infected by El Gato ransomware, we strongly advise you to read this article thoroughly and learn how to clear your device from El Gato ransomware and try to get your files back.
|Android Malware/ Lockscreen/Ransowmare
|The El Gato Android ransomware locks the files of Android devices, displays a lockscreen, steals information and may send SMS from it.
|Locked screen displaying a cat.
|Malicious third-party apps or malicious URLs.
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El Gato – How Does It Spread
So far, El Gato is in early stages of development and researchers have spotted it, which means that it is less likely to spread massively yet. However, if it is to be widespread, this may happen via several different methods:
- Malicious URLs opened on the device’s web browser.
- Malicious apps installed from a third-party app provider other than Google Play store.
El Gato Ransomware – More Information
Upon infection, El Gato ransomware, may perforom several malicious activities on the device. For starters, the virus connects remotely to the cyber-criminals’ C&C servers. From there, they assume a remote-control like access enabling them to use the many features of the El Gato virus.
One of its “extras” is primarily associated with locking the screen of users and possibly displaying an image of a funny and cute cat. However, there is nothing cute about this virus. The access can be blocked by adding a lockscreen to the device which can be done by modifying the screensaver.
Not only this, but the creators of El Gato ransomware also have the ability to steal information from the infected device. They can obtain text messages, system information, contact information.
Besides stealing such I formation, DigitalTrends researchers report that El Gato virus also has the capability of sending text messages from it’s victims phones.
Besides those, probably the worst feature of the phone is that it may eventually pose a grave threat to your data as well. The El Gato virus has the ability to encrypt user files as well, making decryption that is direct almost impossible.
After encryption, the El Gato virus may generate a randomly made password, different for every infection and the attacker may demand a different payment and methods of payment, for example 1 BTC via Tor networking or payment via SMS to a remotely operated and automated short messaging service.
Remove El Gato Ransowmare from Your Android Device
Removing this virus may be a tricky thing, especially if it has encrypted your files. This is why we advise you to try and enter the safe mode of your phone, connect it to a computer and copy the files onto it. In case the files on your phone are encrypted and important to you, you should first determine the type of encryption algorithm used. Then use the appropriate decryptor.
We have prepared the instructions below that will surely help you to get rid of this ransomware from your device. We strongly advise you to try and access your files and copy them somewhere else before attempting this removal.
Preparation before removal of malware.
Before starting the actual removal process, we recommend that you do the following preparation steps.
- Turn off your phone until you know how bad is the virus infection.
- Open these steps on another, safe device.
- Make sure to take out your SIM card, as the virus could corrupt it in some rare cases.
Step 1: Shut Down your phone to win some time
Shutting down your phone can be done by pressing and holding its power button and choosing shut down.
In case the virus does not let you do this, you can also try to remove the battery.
In case your battery is non-removable, you can try to drain it as fast as possible if you still have control over it.
Notes: This gives you time to see how bad the situation is and to be able to take out your SIM card safely, without the numbers in it to be erased. If the virus is on your computer, it is espeically dangerous to keep the sim card there.
Step 2: Turn on Safe Mode of your Android device.
For most Android devices, switching to Safe Mode is the same. Its done by following these mini-steps:
Step 3: Eliminate the App that Your Believe is the Virus
Usually Android viruses get masked in the form of applications. To eliminate apps, follow these mini-steps:
Step 4: Find Hidden Virus Files on Your Android Phone and Remove Them
Simply locate the virus and hold-tap on the virus file to delete it.