Researchers at Trend Micro have spotted a new variant of ransomware code that can be used to lock down Android-powered smartphones and televisions.
The FLocker (short for the Frantic Locker) malware has been in circulation since at least April 2015 and has concentrated on locking down smartphone handsets running the latest builds of Android. But the writer keeps on adding new features and has now extended the code to give smart TV owners problems too.
Not everyone is vulnerable, however. After the malware file is downloaded via an infected website or SMS file, it waits for 30 minutes before scanning its surrounding. If it determines the device is in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia, Armenia or Belarus, then it shuts down.
If the user isn’t in one of those countries, the code will try and install a command and control system on the smartphone or TV. This requires the user to give the app admin permissions, but if that isn’t forthcoming the malware will freeze the screen and then ask again under the guise of an operating system update to fix the “problem.”
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht