US Android smartphone users targeted by a new PIN locking ransomware

A new type of ransomware which targets Android platform is creating catastrophe.

Android users, who usually run for “free premium content” are in a deep trouble as a new ransomware available as a free app on third party app stores changes the device’s locking PIN and then asks for $500 for fixing this mess.

But even after paying it is not sure that user will gain back the access to its device as the PIN generated by this app is random that even hackers who developed it dont seem to know it according to security researchers at Bratislava-based IT security company ESET .

ESET said the threat, which it dubbed LockerPIN, is already being circulated  by third party app stores, torrents and adware.

“Based on ESET’s LiveGrid statistics, the majority of the infected Android devices are in the USA with a complete percentage share of over 75 per cent,” said ESET’s detection engineer Lukáš Štefanko.

“This is part of a trend where Android malware writers are shifting from mostly targeting Russian and Ukrainian users to Americans where they can arguably make higher profits,” he added.

Since changing device’s PIN will require administrator privileges, this app does it by telling the victim that administrator access is required to install a “recent patch update”.

Once the process is done there is no other way to fix the device than factory reset leading to loss of personal data of the victim. Hence it is advisable to be careful while using non trusted resources for app installation to keep away from such malicious apps.

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