New ransomware masquerades as COVID-19 contact-tracing app on your Android device - (ZDNet via NewsPoints Desk)

  • A new strain of ransomware is being deployed in attacks created off the back of the release of contact-tracing apps during the COVID-19 pandemic, as reported ZDNet on Wednesday.

  • According to cybersecurity firm ESET, the ransomware emerged a few days after Health Canada announced the release of COVID Alert, which will first be tested in Ontario before being launched nationwide.

  • Cyber attackers are reportedly trying to capitalise on the government's announcement with an Android package of their own, which is marketed as Canada's official COVID-19 tracing app.

  • Two websites offered what appeared to be Health Canada's tracing app, but the now-defunct domains -- tracershield.ca and covid19tracer.ca -- were actually hosting android packages (APKs) that, when downloaded, installed the CryCryptor ransomware on Android devices.

  • If an Android user downloads the APK from the fraudulent domains and installs the app, the malware requests access to files and begins the task of encrypting content on the device with specific extensions.

  • According to ESET, the developer, who named the open source malware CryDroid, disguised the release as a research project, but ESET said that "no responsible researcher would publicly release a tool that is easy to misuse for malicious purposes."

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