Smartphone Ransomware Attacks Growing
Google Play, the official market for Android apps, was caught hosting a ransomware app that infected at least one real-world handset, security researchers said Tuesday.
The ransomware was dubbed Charger and was hidden inside an app called EnergyRescue, according to a blog post published by security firm Check Point Software. Once installed, Charger stole SMS contacts and prompted unsuspecting users to grant it all-powerful administrator rights. If users clicked OK, the malicious app locked the device and displayed the following message:
You need to pay for us, otherwise we will sell portion of your personal information on black market every 30 minutes. WE GIVE 100% GUARANTEE THAT ALL FILES WILL RESTORE AFTER WE RECEIVE PAYMENT. WE WILL UNLOCK THE MOBILE DEVICE AND DELETE ALL YOUR DATA FROM OUR SERVER! TURNING OFF YOUR PHONE IS MEANINGLESS, ALL YOUR DATA IS ALREADY STORED ON OUR SERVERS! WE STILL CAN SELLING IT FOR SPAM, FAKE, BANK CRIME etc… We collect and download all of your personal data. All information about your social networks, Bank accounts, Credit Cards. We collect all data about your friends and family.
The app sought 0.2 Bitcoin, currently worth about $180. In an e-mail, Check Point researchers said the app was available in Google Play for four days and had only a "handful" of downloads. "We believe the attackers only wanted to test the waters and not spread it yet," the researchers told Ars. The infection was detected by Check Point's mobile malware software, which the company sells to businesses. Google officials have since removed the app and have thanked Check Point for raising awareness of the issue.