It seems as though Google’s Android platform is facing its worst time yet as far as malware infestations go. After two malware-related reports in the past week – CopyCat and SpyDealer – there are now reports of another malware, called LeakerLocker, that has the potential to send your personal pictures, messages and browser history to your friends. What’s more, this malware is also reportedly a ransomware that does not encrypt files.
Popular security technology company, McAfee has discovered that the LeakerLocker ransomware can be accidentally downloaded from the Google Play. As of now, It has noted two apps in particular, Wallpapers Blur HD and Booster & Cleaner Pro, that seem to carry the malware. Notably, the ransomware steals the information, creates an unauthorised backup, but does not encrypt them. Instead, it demands “a modest ransom,” failing which the attacker would leak the victim’s private data to their contacts.
McAfee has reported the ransomware to Google. One of the apps, Wallpapers Blur HD, has been downloaded between 5,000 and 10,000 times, and one user has pointed out that the wallpaper app strangely requests permissions such as calls, reading and sending SMS, access to contacts, among other things. The second malicious app, Booster & Cleaner Pro is an easier target as this is the sort of app that requires access to almost everything in your phone to function properly, which users may unwittingly give permission to.
LeakerLocker is the third in a series of malware-related reports this past week. On Monday, it was reported that an Android malware, named SpyDealer, had the ability to steal a user’s personal data from over 40 popular apps that include Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram and more. This comes following another report last week of a CopyCat malware that had reportedly affected over 14 million Android devices last year. These cases have started to paint a pretty gloomy picture about the safety of Android OS, but at least we know that Google is taking some active anti-malware measures to help out its users.
For Android users who feel recent malware-related reports are getting too much for Google’s own good, there may a bit of relief in knowing that the tech giant has been reported to be working on an Android ‘panic button’ that would help users exit a potentially malicious app and back to the home screen. There’s no word on when Google will release this feature, but when last reported, it was being tested on Android 7.1 Nougat. It may not be much, but at least we know Google is taking some active measures to fight off compromised apps.