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General News Android malware ‘SLocker’ source code leaked online; how to protect your Phone..
Android malware ‘SLocker’ source code leaked online; here’s how you can protect your smartphone

We have barely moved over the aftermath of WannaCry and now latest reports indicate that the source code of a mobile malware that imitates the methods used by the malicious software has leaked online. The source code for the Android malware, called SLocker is now available for download on Github, making it easy for the malware to be exploited and used against vulnerable Android devices.

Traces of the SLocker were discovered in May when security firm CheckPoint discovered ‘Judy’ malware, which was believed to have infected 36 million Android devices with its auto-clicking adware. SLocker was discovered as a pre-installed malware which uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption algorithm to encrypt all files.

According to SlashGear, SLocker malware has been stealing information from Android users for years. Similar to how WannaCry works, the malware also uses backdoor to push into Android devices then blocking the user from accessing the contents of the phone unless a ransom is paid in exchange for a decryption key. CheckPoint researchers said earlier this year that the malware uses Tor for command and control communications which makes the source of SLocker very difficult to track.

Although the malware has been exposed in the past, with the source code leaked online, a new batch of versions of the malware can be expected. On one hand, it might prompt security researchers to finally find a fix, while on the other hand, the source code availability online can trigger malicious hackers to use it to build new malware.

The report further indicates that as many as 400 variants of SLocker were already estimated to be in distribution and the reason for its uncontrollable growth is attributed to the psychological factor that kicks in. For an individual a smartphone is a more personal device than a computer and hence, people become willing to pay the ransom amount. Ford Qin of Trend Micro is quoted as saying, “This particular SLocker variant is notable for being an Android file-encrypting ransomware, and the first mobile ransomware to capitalize on the success of the previous WannaCry outbreak.”

In May, CheckPoint detailed a number of malicious apps based on SLocker. Given the malware poses risk to the majority of smartphone users who are on Android, precautionary measures are indispensable. In order to avoid Android malware you should take into account the following steps to protect your smartphone from getting hijacked by malicious code.

1. Do not use public Wi-Fi hotspots which offer little or no security.

2. If you use home Wi-Fi, make sure to turn it off when you step out. This will ensure no malicious activity takes place in absence of surveillance.

3. Android users can turn off ‘Allow installation of apps from sources other than the Play Store’. To do so , go to Settings and then Security. This will reduce the chances any malicious app tries to overpower your smartphone without permissions. Also, it is always advisable to stick to the authentic Google Play Store apps to avoid malware seepage.

4. Always keep your smartphone updated to the latest Android version as it protects from any bugs or software-related loopholes. You can check for if you need a software update by heading to Settings – System – System Update.

5. As is the case with computers, one should not open attachments from unverified sources even on the mobile device.

6. At times, even ‘official looking’ mails could be laced with malicious code. It is important to check if you can see the URL in advance, if not, then don’t click on it.

7. One should never click on links in SMS or MMS messages, they may contain malicious code.

8. If you do end up becoming a victim of such a malware, do not pay the ransom. If you receive any alert for such a ransom demand, do not respond to it or make a call to the number from the browser either.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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