ESET is reporting a more than 50% increase in the detection of Android ransomware in 2016, historically the highest number of attempts to penetrate devices.
This is one of the findings from ESET’s LiveGrid technology, contained in the white paper “Trends in Android Ransomware” being released ahead of Mobile Word congress.
“Altogether we saw an increase in Android malware detection by around 20%, with ransomware on this platform growing at ever faster rate,” says ESET chief technology officer Juraj Malcho. “Even as ESET observed the largest spike in the first half of 2016, we are nowhere near saying that this threat will disappear anytime soon.”
Authors of lock-screen as well as file-encrypting “crypto-ransomware” types have used the past 12 months to copycat effective techniques from desktop malware. They have also developed their own sophisticated methods specialised for targets running Android devices.
In addition to the most prevalent scare tactics used by lock-screen “police ransomware”, cybercriminals have been putting increased effort into keeping a low profile, by encrypting and burying the malicious payload deeper into the infected apps.
In 2015, ESET observed that the focus of Android ransomware operators shifted from Eastern European to US mobile users. However, last year demonstrated a growing interest by the attackers in the Asian market. “Indeed it is fair to say that ransomware for Android has become a full-scale global threat,” adds Malcho.