How safe is it out there in cyberspace? Based on a study by Kaspersky conducted between January and September 2019, it was found that Malaysia is now 17th highest on the list of countries with the most mobile ransomware Trojans.
Found not only on desktops but also on mobile phones, the number of these sort of installation packages blocked by Kaspersky has climbed by 58% from 2018.
The most commonly found desktop ransomware is the cryptolocker, malware that encrypts your data and offers to restore it when you pay ransom (ugh, we hate blackmailers!) There is also the blocker, another type of ransomware which blocks browsers or operating systems from working and demands a ransom to return access.
According to Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky, “More Malaysians are moving towards online banking now and we expect the adoption rate to increase tremendously in 2020, more so with the Budget 2020 where Malaysians will receive RM30 digital cash as a form for the government to push the e-wallet adoption in the country. With this, the mobile users in the country should start paying attention to securing their smartphones, beyond the physical protection, but the virtual world too.”
IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker said that 10% of Malaysians replaced their smartphones within a year (gotta keep up with the trend, right?) while 35% kept their phones for up to 3 years before upgrading. They added that Android and iOS were among the top operating systems on smartphones shipped worldwide, with Android phones occupying 74% of the market.
Running on an open source system, Android devices are easier to “root”, which involves removing the manufacturer’s software restrictions and installing unauthorized apps, which then translates to higher chances of vulnerability in the code on the phone.
Kaspersky suggested some tips to help protect Android users against mobile ransomware. The first one is to only install applications from official shops, i.e. Google Play. Then head over to Android settings, choose Security, and make sure that the “Unknown Sources” box is not checked.
Users are also advised to regularly update the device’s firmware and its installed apps. Go even further by installing a strong security solution, because more protection is always better!
By: Celestine Foo