New CovidLock ransomware poses as Coronavirus tracking app to infect Android smartphones: Report

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on 19 Mar 2020
New CovidLock ransomware poses as Coronavirus tracking app to infect Android smartphones: Report
HIGHLIGHTS

Researchers have spotted ransomware called CovidLock that poses as a coronavirus tracking app

The app is not on the Play Store and needs to be downloaded via a third-party website

Once infected, criminals will demand victims to send a payment of $100 to be sent in Bitcoin within 48 hours

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It seems like even your phone might be in danger of catching a virus because of the Coronavirus. Amidst the ongoing fears over the COVID-19 Coronavirus, some unscrupulous individuals have decided to make hay. Security researchers at DomainTools have spotted ransomware called CovidLock that poses as a Coronavirus tracking app. Since Google is already in the process of removing shifty apps from the Play Store, the CovidLock app is accessible via a third-party website. Once installed, it asks the user to grant it accessibility and lock screen permissions. 

As with any other ransomware, the app would lock the unfortunate user out of their smartphone by adding a password to the device. The criminals would then demand a payment of $100 to be sent in Bitcoin within 48 hours to regain access. Further, they also warn the user that if payment isn’t made, personal information such as contacts, pictures and other content will be deleted and social media account details would be leaked.   

DomainTools notes that any device with Android Nougat should be able to protect itself from the app. However, users need to set a password on their device in order to make this effective. The firm also claims to have reverse-engineered the decryption keys for the ransomware and will post those publicly. 

As with any other app, users should stick to the Play Store in order to ensure that they aren’t downloading any malware. Further, there are already a number of ways that one can keep track of the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Microsoft recently released a way to track the spread of the virus via Bing. People are also urged to stay at home as much as possible and practice social distancing in order to control its spread. Other precautionary measures include practising proper hygiene like washing of hands. If you wish to know how to sanitise your phone, click here. Gamer's can also contribute to Coronavirus research. You can know more about that here.

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