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Dumb PIN-reset Android malware found in the wild

10/09/2015 by Sharon Shahzad


Aggressive Lockerpin ransomware seizes admin control and changes PIN code to something that even the attackers don't know.

The first Android PIN-resetting ransomware to be discovered in the wild has been reportedly found by researchers at ESET.

Interestingly, it appears the attackers are concentrating on devices located in North America. Critically, an analysis of the code reveals that the attackers actually have no means of unlocking a hacked device.

“Based on ESET's LiveGrid statistics, the majority of the infected Android devices are in the USA with a complete percentage share of over 75 percent,” said  ESET's detection engineer Lukáš Štefanko. “This is part of a trend where Android malware writers are shifting from mostly targeting Russian and Ukrainian users to Americans where they can arguably make higher profits.”

Like a lot of malware attacking Android phones, this new malware – dubbed Lockerpin – is distributed from unverified third-party app stores and other sources. After tricking a user into downloading it, the malware attempts to escalate its privileges to administrator by placing a customised message in a window over the system message to make it appear as if it's a software update.  

Once installed, it changes the phone's PIN code and demands a ransom of US$500 (£300).

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