Microsoft warns of Android ransomware that prompts you press the House button



A brand new pressure of cell ransomware abuses the mechanisms behind the “incoming name” notification and the “House” button to lock screens on customers’ units.

Named AndroidOS/MalLocker.B, the ransomware is hidden inside Android apps supplied for obtain on on-line boards and third-party web sites.

Similar to most Android ransomware strains, MalLocker.B would not really encrypt the sufferer’s recordsdata however merely prevents entry to the remainder of the cellphone.

As soon as put in, the ransomware takes over the cellphone’s display screen and prevents the consumer from dismissing the ransom be aware — which is designed to appear like a message from native legislation enforcement telling customers they dedicated against the law and have to pay a nice.


Picture: Microsoft

Ransomware posing as pretend police fines has been the preferred type of Android ransomware for greater than half a decade now.

Throughout time, these malware strains have abused varied features of the Android working techniques with the intention to preserve customers locked on their house display screen.

Previous methods included abusing the System Alert window or disabling the features that interface with the cellphone’s bodily buttons.

MalLocker.B comes with a brand new variation of those methods.

The ransomware makes use of a two-part mechanism to indicate its ransom be aware.

The primary half abuses the “name” notification. That is the perform that prompts for incoming calls to indicate particulars concerning the caller, and MalLocker.B makes use of it to indicate a window that covers your complete space of the display screen with particulars concerning the incoming name.

The second half abuses the “onUserLeaveHint()” perform. This perform is known as when customers wish to push an app into the background and swap to a brand new app, and it triggers when urgent buttons like House or Recents. MalLocker.B abuses this perform to convey its ransom be aware again into the foreground and stop the consumer from leaving the ransom be aware for the house display screen or one other app.

The abuse of those two features is a brand new and never-before-seen trick, however ransomware that hijacks the House button has been seen earlier than.

For instance, in 2017, ESET found an Android ransomware pressure named DoubleLocker that abused the Accessibility service to re-activate itself after customers pressed the House button.

Since MalLocker.B comprises code that’s too simplistic and loud to make it previous Play Retailer opinions, customers are suggested to keep away from putting in Android apps they downloaded from third-party places similar to boards, web site adverts, or unauthorized third-party app shops.

A technical breakdown of this new risk is on the market on Microsoft’s weblog.

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