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Ransomware was the largest threat to UK Android devices in 2015

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Ransomware was the largest malware risk to Android users by a significant margin in the second half of 2015, according to Bitdefender.

Predominantly distributed through malicious apps, Android.Trojan.Slocker accounted for 22 per cent of Android malware threats in the UK in the latter half of the year.

In total, Android ransomware accounted for 28 per cent of reported Android malware in the UK for Q3 2015 and 19 per cent in Q4 2015. Bitdefender found that ransomware was 14 per cent more prolific than its nearest competitor in Q3, and 7 per cent higher than the Q4 equivalent.

Although not as advanced as its Windows counterpart, Android malware can still cause disruptions and financial losses. The Android.Trojan.Slocker ransomware has ranked first in UK, German and Australian charts, with results taken from the number of devices reporting it to Bitdefender.

However, ransomware is not the top threat globally, accounting for just 4 per cent of total Android malware reported in H2 2015. The reason for its proliferation in the UK may be due to the higher than average success rate of ransomware attacks on British targets. Bitdefender research recently found that 44 per cent of those infected by ransomware in the UK have paid to unlock their files.

"Due to the popularity of Android devices, malware developers will continue to write code specifically targeting them. Android malware is not only a lucrative business for hackers but also a gateway for other malicious actions," states Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Strategist at Bitdefender. "Users must avoid installing applications from unofficial vendors, instead only using those found on trusted marketplaces. Non-reputable apps have a high chance of containing malware such as ransomware or data-stealing Trojans, resulting in significant financial or data loss."

Bitdefender recommends that Android users install a mobile security solution that is not only able to identify malicious applications before they're installed on a device, but one that will also advise on the potential privacy impact of apps already installed.

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Tags: bitdefender  malware  ransomware