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Ransomware becomes main threat on Android in several countries

Android users, beware. Ransomware for your smartphone is picking up – it's now the main threat in the US, UK, Germany, Denmark and Australia, in the first half of 2016.

These are the figures from security organisation BitDefender (opens in new tab), whose report claims the Android SLocker ransomware family accounts for almost half of all mobile malware reported by infected devices in the first half of 2016 in Denmark. 

In Germany, it's at 25 per cent, in Australia 21.54 per cent and 16.48 per cent in the UK. The US has had least troubles so far, sitting at 16 per cent. The ransomware itself is different from what we've seen on computers. It does not actually encrypt data on the device – it simply changes the PIN or lock screen, and demands payment if you want to unlock it.  

It spreads in two different ways. One is through malicious .apk files which users download and install, despite the fact that Android doesn't recommend it. The other way is tricky – spam messages and malwertising, sometimes appearing even on legitimate sites, trick people into downloading malicious apps, saying they need a special video player to run certain content, or something similar. 

Bitdefender says victims are ready to pay up to $500 to recover their data, and half of the victims actually do. UK consumers are the ones willing to pay most – up to £400. Germans are ready to shell out €210, while Americans are willing to give $350.   

Image source: Shutterstock/Martial Red

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.