Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mobile

Android Ransomware Kits on the Rise in the Dark Web

More than 5,000 Android ransomware kit listings have been spotted so far this year, with the median price range hitting $200.

Most ransomware kits still focus on targeting Windows systems, but Android ransomware kits are selling for a premium and are expected to grow in volume and price, according to a new report.

Android ransomware kits sell for a median price that is 20 times higher than the $10 median price of Windows ransomware kits, Carbon Black found. And at the high-end, Carbon Black this year found 1,683 Android ransomware kits out of a total of 5,050 that cost anywhere from $250 to $850.

Earlier this year, for example, cybercriminals launched DoubleLocker ransomware for Android devices to not only lock up their data but also change their pin. One cybercriminal wanted $854 for the Locker Android ransomware kit, according to Carbon Black.

Several catalysts are expected to drive the price and sales volume of these ransomware kits even higher, says Rick McElroy, a Carbon Black security strategist.

"Apple users have a tendency to buy new phones when they come out and update their applications and operating systems on a regular basis. Because Android devices are cheaper, there is a much wider variance in consumer and in the version of OS and patch levels," McElroy says. With Android users being remiss in updating their devices, attackers have a greater shot of launching a successful Android ransomware campaign, he notes.

"One of the most surprising things was how many Android devices are out there that have not been updated for two years now, and probably never will," McElroy says. "Updates are usually simple to conduct, but many users simply don’t do them."

In addition to the patch problem, the number of Android users who could potentially be affected by a ransomware attack is large. Android holds the largest OS marketshare worldwide for smartphones, accounting for 86.1% of the market in the first quarter, according to Gartner.  

Another catalyst that is driving the median price higher for Android ransomware kits is the level of coding sophistication that is needed to create them, McElroy explains.

"This speaks a bit to how easy it is to get ransomware onto a Windows system versus other operation systems," McElroy says. "The longer a developer has to spend to get his ransomware to work effectively at scale the higher the price will be."

Bitcoin's skyrocketing value will also drive sales of Android ransomware kits, he adds. Attackers typically demand ransom payments in bitcoin, compared to other forms of cryptocurrency, security experts say.

"Android marketplaces are working hard to crack down, but attackers are very creative," says McElroy. "With Bitcoin value increasing so quickly, the expansion of this space will likely be connected closely to the value of BTC."

Related Content:

 

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Where Businesses Waste Endpoint Security Budgets
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/15/2019
How Attackers Infiltrate the Supply Chain & What to Do About It
Shay Nahari, Head of Red-Team Services at CyberArk,  7/16/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-7843
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have an Insufficient input validation vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Information Disclosure in the context of the current user.
CVE-2019-7846
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have an Improper error handling vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Information Disclosure in the context of the current user.
CVE-2019-7847
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have an Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference ('XXE') vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Arbitrary read access to the file system in the context of the current user.
CVE-2019-7848
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have an Inadequate access control vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Information Disclosure in the context of the current user.
CVE-2019-7850
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have a Command injection vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Arbitrary Code Execution in the context of the current user.