The Coronavirus outbreak has rattled the tech world. Production has stopped, stores have been shut down and tech events have been cancelled owing to the ongoing pandemic. Now, cybercriminals are using the virus outbreak to install malicious apps on users’ smartphones.
Malicious users are using an Android app called CovidLock to install ransomware on users’ smartphones. According to security researcher blog, Domain Tools, CovidLock disguises itself as a coronavirus tracking app. When users’ have installed the app, it asks them for various permissions such as lockscreen and accessibility. Once the app has all the required permissions, it locks users’ smartphones and asks them to pay a ransom of $100 in Bitcoin within 48 hours to unlock their smartphones.
What’s more, the app also threatens users to erase users’ contacts, pictures, videos, and contents available in users’ phone memory. In addition to that, it even threatens to leak users’ social media accounts publicly.
“Since Android Nougat has rolled out, there is protection in place against this type of attack. However, it only works if you have set a password. If you haven’t set a password on your phone to unlock the screen, you’re still vulnerable to the CovidLock ransomware,” the security research firm wrote in its blog post.
The security research firm recommends trusting governments and research institution’s websites for authentic data. It also recommends downloading apps from the Play Store and not opening emails from unknown sources as a precautionary measure.