Have you heard? There’s a new type of malware that’s threatening to send victims’ private messages, pictures, and even their Internet browsing history to their immediate social circle (family members and friends). This threat is called LeakerLocker, and unfortunately, it can be accidentally downloaded through apps on Google Play. Want to know more? Let’s get into the details quick!
By now, you should be pretty acquainted with ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts all your data forcibly. It only grants you access after paying a ransom. However, not all cyber criminals live up to their end of the bargain. They may not unencrypt your files and will demand more money instead.
LeakerLocker is slightly different. It typically locks your home screen and leaves everything you have got on your device alone. However, it is still considered ransomware as it warns that it is gathering your personal photos, social media messages, emails, location information, call log, text messages, and browser data. Without paying up, it states that it will leak all this private data to your immediate contacts.
Ransom and Deadlines
The $50 ransom fee demanded by LeakerLocker is not as substantial as most ransomware. However, it can still leave some people feeling somewhat distraught. Next, the victim is required to pay the ransom via credit card, and within 72 hours. For those who went through with the payment, they will be notified that their private data is safe. If it’s the opposite, they will be informed that their privacy is in danger. After paying, the danger may seem to be over. However, it does not mean that you won’t be held to ransom in a similar way again.
Can This Threat be Brushed Aside?
The answer is currently ambiguous, i.e. yes and no. McAfee tries to reassure the masses that not all the private data that has been held hostage by the malware is leaked or read. However, that’s not a great comfort. While it might not be able to read everything it claims, it can still read some of the information it claims it can. The problem is that no exact numbers are known as to whether important data really have been leaked. Hence, you can’t brush LeakerLocker off as an empty threat yet.
How Does One Get Infected?
Major security firms have discovered LeakerLocker in two apps via the Google Play store, i.e. Booster & Cleaner Pro and Wallpapers Blur HD. They run on Android devices as Android/Ransom.LeakerLocker.A!Pkg. So far, these malicious apps have been downloaded from 5,000 to 10,000 times. After being downloaded, these apps seek permission to a wide range of other features such as your social networking accounts. Other than these two malicious apps, nobody knows if there more of the same kind are still lurking in the Play store?
How to Beef Up Security
Common sense. You need to install and run security software on your smart devices. Make sure that your OS is always up-to-date via proactive monitoring and patching of any security loopholes found from time to time. It is relieving to note that Google is investigating Booster & Cleaner Pro and Wallpapers Blur HD, which means you can’t download them even if you tried to (for some bizarre reason). If your device gets infected, avoid paying the ransom. Doing so, just contributes to the proliferation of this malicious business.