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Android ransomware marks profitable new era for cybercriminals

Antone Gonsalves | June 24, 2013
Such ransomware has been used against PCs for years, but is unique on mobile devices, Symantec says.

While other malware can bilk from a few cents to a few dollars per victim, ransomware developers will demand much more to free a person's computer. In some countries, cybercriminals demand more than $100 to free a person's personal computer.

"The numbers are not going to be equal to what we see in the PC space, but we expect this to be a large enough problem that it becomes common knowledge for people to know someone who has been infected or impacted by one of these things," Thakur said.

Any business can open an Android app store with or without a mechanism for vetting the available software. As a result, the platform has become a favorite target for cybercriminals who often inject the malware in legitimate apps or counterfeit versions of popular software.

In 2012, the number of Android malware was up 2,577% from the previous year, Cisco reported in its 2013 Annual Security Report. Nevertheless, mobile malware amounted to only half of a percent of the total number of malicious software encountered by Cisco on the Web. Android malware accounted for 95% of mobile threats.

 

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