Cybersecurity firm ESET UK, has revealed that the amount of ransomware detected on Google's mobile operating system, Android, has increased significantly over 2016. They said that throughout the whole year, mobile malware authors used copy techniques similar to desktop malware, as well as developing their own sophisticated methods for targeting devices.
The report also claims that cybercriminals have been making more of an effort to keep a low profile, and they do this by encrypting and burying their malicious payload deeper in infected apps.
"Altogether we saw an increase in Android malware detection by around 20 percent, with ransomware on this platform growing at ever faster rate," said ESET's chief technology officer Juraj Malcho, who will speak on the subject at Mobile World Congress 2017.
"Even as ESET observed the largest spike in the first half of 2016, we are nowhere near saying that this threat will disappear anytime soon," he added.
The report also highlighted that Android ransomware hackers moved their attention from Eastern Europe to the US in 2015, and in 2016, their interest in Asian users also increased.
"Indeed it is fair to say that ransomware for Android has become a full-scale global threat," Malcho said.
A further concerning finding in the report was that some types of Android ransomware supported commands outside of the scope of locking the device, including wiping devices' data, resetting the lock screen PIN, opening browser URLs, sending text messages and stealing contacts.