Mobile ransomware tripled in 1st quarter of 2017

THE GLOBAL nightmare of ransomware shows no sign of slowing down, with the volume of mobile ransomware rising over three-fold during the first few months of the year, according to Kaspersky Lab’s Malware Report for the first three months this year.

The number of mobile ransomware files detected reached 218,625 during the quarter, compared to 61,832 in the previous quarter, with the Congur family accounting for more than 86 percent.

Ransomware targeting all devices, systems and networks also continued to grow, with 11 new cryptor families and 55,679 new modifications making their appearance in the first quarter.

Congur ransomware is primarily a blocker–setting or resetting the device PIN (passcode) that requires the attackers to have administrator rights on the device, and some variants of the malware take further advantage of these rights to install their module into the system folder from where it is almost impossible to remove.

Despite the popularity of Congur, Trojan-Ransom.AndroidOS. Fusob.h remained the most widely used mobile ransomware, accounting for nearly 45 percent of all users attacked by this threat during the quester.

Once run, the Trojan requests administrator privileges, collects information about the device, including GPS coordinates and call history, and uploads the data to a malicious server. Based on what it receives, the server may send back a command to block the device.

USA became the country hardest hit by mobile ransomware in the first quarter, with Svpeng ransomware the most widespread threat.

In all, 55,679 new Windows ransomware modifications were detected during the quarter representing a near two-fold increase on the fourth quarter, 2016 (29,450).

Most of these new modifications belonged to the Cerber family.

“The mobile threat landscape for ransomware was far from calm in first quarter," it said.

Ransomware targeting mobile devices soared, with new ransomware families and modifications continuing to proliferate. People need to bear in mind that attackers can – and increasingly will - try to block access to their data not only on a PC but also on their mobile device,” notes Roman Unuchek, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

In a related development, results of Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) also revealed nearly three in 10 Filipinos were infected with mobile threats in the first quarter of 2017.

The report showed the Philippines ranked eighth on the list of countries most attacked by mobile malware with 27.98 percent of unique users attacked. This is a six-point jump from 2016’s third quarter statistics at 21.67 percent.

The percentage is relative to all users of Kaspersky Lab’s mobile security products in the country.

Iran scored the highest percentage of users attacked by mobile malware at 47.35 percent. Bangladesh came second with 36.25 percent of users who encountered a mobile threat at least once during the quarter. It was followed by Indonesia and China whose shares were slightly over 32 percent each.

Nepal ranked sixth at 29.90 percent, followed by India (29.09%) and Algeria (28.64%). The ninth and tenth places were for Nigeria (27.81%) and Ghana (25.85%).

The safest countries in terms of mobile threats were Finland (2.7%), Georgia (2.5%) and Japan (1.5%). (PR)