Android ransomware a huge threat in the UK

Ransomware was the biggest threat to Android users in the UK last year, a new report by security company Bitdefender says.

Even though it's not as dangerous or prolific as its Windows counterpart, ransomware still played a major role in the overall mobile security landscape for last year.

Here are the numbers: In Q3 2015, ransomware on Android accounted for 28 per cent of all malware. For Q4, that number was at 19 per cent. Compared to other types of malware, ransomware was 14 per cent more frequent in Q3 and 7 per cent in Q4.

Android.Trojan.Slocker accounted for 22 per cent of Android malware threats in the UK in the latter half of the year, the report says, topping the charts in the UK, Germany and Australia.

“Due to the popularity of Android devices, malware developers will continue to write code specifically targeting them. Android malware is not only a lucrative business for hackers but also a gateway for other malicious actions,” states Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Strategist at Bitdefender.

“Users must avoid installing applications from unofficial vendors, instead only using those found on trusted marketplaces. Non-reputable apps have a high chance of containing malware such as ransomware or data-stealing Trojans, resulting in significant financial or data loss.”

Looking at the global scale, ransomware is not that big of a threat on Android – it’s much more dangerous on Windows. On Android, it accounts for 4 per cent of all malware reported in the second half of the year.

Bitdefender suggests that the UK is a big target as ransomware seems to have a high success rate on the Island - 44 per cent have apparently paid to get their devices unlocked.

The report doesn’t say how much money victims have to pay, but previous reports on ransomware suggest it’s anywhere between $12 and $300, usually paid in Bitcoin.