Hackers are getting increasingly imaginative and it’s absolutely astounding how the hacking phenomenon multiples. What’s the best way to hack more people? To create more hackers of course!
As you know ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common with WannaCry, NotPetya, and LeakerLocker still ravaging people's lives and bank accounts globally.
In a recent streak of brilliance, hackers created an Android app that teaches you how to create your own ransomware and distribute it to a wide and far-reaching audience. This way, non-technologically savvy users are able to make malicious software. Knowledge is a powerful tool, so you should have it too.
How did they explain how to create your own ransomware?
You simply need to download a ransomware app, we’re not going to share the link with you for obvious reasons, install it and open it. Then it displays several options for you to choose from. According to HackerNews:
The key to be used to unlock that infected device
The icon to be used by their malware
Custom mathematical operations to randomize code
Types of animation to be displayed on the infected device
Yes, the masses now have access and the worst part is that once the user pays for the service they can literally infect as many mobile devices as they want. The app has several capabilities - the user can lock a device and demand a ransom, they can change the pin, and they can delete all the data as a factory reset as well.
So, the unassuming friend or random victim that gets hacked can lose literally all of their data if they don’t shell out to their hacker on time.
There are numerous companies like Symantec that have seek and destroy research teams that are tasked to find these ransomware apps and stop their operations. It’s a complex operation find the actual hackers that are behind these apps but not impossible.
Recent FBI arrests include one such hacker that distributed malware back in 2015 which was used in the 2015 massive OPM breach. The hacker’s name is Yu Pingag, he is from China and goes by the pseudonym “GoldSun”. He has been indicted for his collaboration in 2014 and 2015 along with hackers that used malware to conduct cyber-attacks against the United States.
The OPM breach resulted in the theft of the personal information of more than 25 million U.S federal employees and included 5.6 million federal official’s fingerprints.
Obviously, the government is going to go after the fatter fish, the big-time hackers that caused the most damage, or were the most involved in high profile cyber-attacks. We don’t have enough resources to find every single inventive hacker out there that posts a ransomware app on Android.
This may mean that the smaller localized would-be hackers may get overlooked when it comes to casting the net. Therein lies the obvious question asto how a less techie individual can trust any app from this point on? How would one check if the app has a virus or how would they prevent it from installing ransomware on their own mobile device?
Whether you want to protect yourself from ransomware or from the app you’re downloading to hack into someone else’s device, stick to a few basic security tips for your phone safety: Always keep regular backups of the important data on your device; Make sure to run an antivirus program; don’t download any suspicious apps from unknown sites, and browse the internet safely.
Keeping the hackers at bay, is full time work and it's time we upgraded our vigilance.