More than 25 per cent of all reported malware in May was Android ransomware, according to security company, Bitdefender.
This follows six months of steady growth in ransomware in Australia with peaks in April and May.
And these numbers are likely to steadily rise in the next six to twelve months, especially considering that in February 2015 alone, the amount of ransomware reported was slightly above six per cent, it added.
The company mentioned, in a statement, that the local Android ransomware is taking a turn for the worst and this sudden spike translates into an increased interest among cybercriminals in targeting Australia to generate revenue.
Bitdefender senior e-threat analyst, Bogdan Botezatu, said the cryptowall ransomware is one of the most prolific and profitable malware strains to-date. He attributed a finding from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which stated that it has caused more than $18 million losses in the past year alone.
Botezatu added its success in generating revenue has inspired malware coders to now explore new ways of infecting even more victims, by crafting ransomware for Android devices.
“With Android shipments exceeding a billion devices in 2014, it is little wonder the market is sparking the interest of cybercriminals who see it as an environment equally as profitable as PCs.
“Android ransomware has drastically changed from being a small benign application that used to trick and scare users into thinking they have been infected, to actively seizing control over their devices and preventing users from uninstalling the malicious application,” he said.
Botezatu added that while ransomware could have been removed by simply uninstalling the app previously, today’s versions require a bit more technical expertise to ‘flush’ the application from a users’ Android device.
According to Botezatu, the latest Android ransomware can only be removed by booting devices in Safe Mode, otherwise it will come back each time a phone reboots.
“Because Safe Mode booting prevents third-party applications from loading, users can manually uninstall the malware just like any other app,” he said.