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Types of ransomware targeting mobile devices

Types of ransomware targeting mobile devices
© Haiyin | Dreamstime.com

Awareness about ransomware is growing - just not as rapidly as ransomware is spreading. Not everyone is taking this threat as seriously as they should be.

People might say, "That will never happen to me," or not even realize ransomware is a threat. And a serious one at that.

We've seen it. In fact, a coworker's phone was recently infected by malware that locked his screen and displayed obscene pornography. The hackers claimed to be from the Cyber Police, and gave him 72 hours to pay the "fine" for his illegal activity, or else they'd report him to the Department of Homeland Security.

Luckily, because he worked here, he knew better. He figured out a clever way to get around the freeze on his system without having to pay the hackers or purchase a new smartphone.

Many aren't so fortunate. When ransomware strikes, it takes over everything and leaves you with few options.

In its first stages, ransomware was designed to infect a laptop or personal computer. Hackers hide the malicious code in a Word attachment or Trojan program that will run when the user clicks on it.

Mobile devices have traditionally been safe from this type of malware, but not anymore. As demonstrated by the story we mentioned earlier, ransomware is now spreading to tablets and smartphones. And we expect it to keep growing.

Before we begin...

To understand how ransomware can infect mobile devices, we first need to explain that there are two primary types of ransomware out there: blockers and cryptoblockers.

What's the difference? Blockers merely block access to certain programs or functions. For example, it may block access to a web browser or operating system. Cryptoblockers, on the other hand, actually encrypt your data.

When it comes to desktop computers and laptops, cryptoblockers are most commonly used. However, when it comes to mobile devices, blockers are the preferred choice of hackers. This is because blockers can easily be removed from a computer by removing the hard drive, plugging it into another computer, and then deleting the blocker's files.

Mobile devices are a different story. When your device is infected, you can't remove its storage to wipe the blockers out.

Now that we've explained the main types of ransomware, let's dive into three types popping up on mobile devices.

Next page: Learn some mobile ransomware threats
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