One of the most serious threats stalking the user of a mobile device is ransomware, otherwise known as ransomware. The described malicious software can block a person’s access not only to his device but also to his personal data. Afterward, it starts demanding money for the recovery of the data. With the rapid growth of the number of such attacks in the last couple of years, it has come to be a critical task for every owner of a smartphone to protect his personal data. This paper is dedicated to discussing how to identify the threat, take precautions, and what to do in case of the successful running of ransomware.

Understanding and Classification of Ransomware

Ransomware is a malicious software that restrains access to a system or important documents with the aim of demanding a ransom to the attacker. The common types of ransomware that affect mobile devices are:

  1. CRYPTO RANSOMWARE: These programs scramble the contents on your device: photos, documents, contacts, etc. They then demand payment, often in the form of cryptocurrencies, to decrypt the files.
  2. Locker ransomware: this ransomware type locks up the device interface and presents a message for the user to make a payment. Usually, such a demand will look like a notification from the police, bringing some sort of legal element to the scammers.

They are spread through multiple channels, including infected applications, phishing messages, or fraudulent websites, so knowing the methods of their distribution is very important in terms of preventing an infection.

Real Life Examples of Ransomware Incidence in Mobile Devices

In order to have a grasp on the seriousness of the threat, real cases of ransomware attacks are useful to consider:

  • Trojan-Ransom.AndroidOS.Pigetrl.a: This Trojan has, most recently in 2021, been actively participating in attacking Russian users. It locks the screen, shows a warning, and makes a demand for an unlock code that cannot be obtained, with users left without the opportunity to access their devices.
  • DoubleLocker: Distributed as an Adobe Flash update, this trojan would not only change the PIN codes of devices but also encrypt user data, completely barring access to the device.
  • AndroidOS/MalLocker.B: This variant of ransomware masqueraded as popular games and applications, and instead of encrypting data, it blocked access to the device, displaying a ransom demand on the screen.

How Ransomware Infects Smartphones and Ways to Protect Them

There are several ways ransomware can make its way to a mobile device, all of which require extra attention to be secure:

  • Via infected applications: The most usual means of infection is the downloading of applications from unofficial sources. This often involves the injection of malicious code by criminals into applications that imitate useful utilities or popular games.
  • Phishing campaigns: Scammers send messages or emails that appear to be genuine but, in fact, are containing some harmful links or attachments. They pretend to be a bank, social network, or another respected organization to achieve the goal of making the victim click or download a file.
  • Infected websites: In this situation, when a user visits a malicious website, the download of ransomware may happen automatically without the user’s knowledge. This takes place through browser exploits or operating system weaknesses.

All these threats can be easily avoided by downloading applications from official stores and paying close attention to the permissions an app requests. Avoid opening links and attachments in messages from unknown senders, and most of all, be cautious about emails that urge you to take unexpected actions. Besides, there is protection through the reliable antivirus solution that is developed specifically for mobile devices and can effectively detect and block malware.

Protective Tools and Settings

Effective defense against ransomware involves the application of the most advanced protective tools and proper settings of devices:

  • Antivirus software: Install an antivirus program that conducts real-time scanning in order to prevent infections from malicious software. Use software that offers device-specific protection and has an automatic update function for its virus database. Application
  • Audit: Regularly check and change the permissions of your apps on your device. Unauthorized access to data or functions could be the mark of foul play.
  • Device security features: Enable features like data encryption and screen locking. Make sure to update the operating system frequently; it helps to protect known security vulnerabilities.

Urgent Actions Upon Ransomware Infection

If you discover that your device is infected with ransomware, you should take serious and proper measures to minimize the level of damage. Disconnect the device from network connections, including Wi-Fi and mobile data, to prevent further spreading of the malicious software, thus stopping more encryption of files. This is, by all accounts, the primary and most important step, since it can prevent the threat from spreading onto other devices and networks.

Next, reboot the device in safe mode. This will pause the activity of all third-party apps and enable an easy process of removal of the malicious software, since most viruses and trojans are activated when normal apps are used. In safe mode, you can operate the device without triggering the hidden malicious code. You just have to scan your phone with a good antivirus.

These steps will help you reduce potential damage done by ransomware and restore normal functioning of your device while keeping your data safe.

Data Backup Strategies

Frequent data backups are important because they help to minimize the damage associated with a loss of data in the event of a ransomware attack. It becomes not only the process that will restore information in case one loses access to that data, but also a level of security in the case of damage to the device.

First of all, you should decide what data is most valuable and hence requires the most protection. Most probably, it will be contacts, vital documents, photos, and video records. You can decide by priority order to focus the effort on keeping the most critical information safe.

Implementation of trusted cloud services, like Google Drive, iCloud, or OneDrive, assures convenience and smooth access to data from any device at any given time. Most such services are provided with an automatic backup facility, which makes the maintenance of data currency easy. But, for an extra layer of assurance against possible cyber-attacks, one could use physical storage devices like an external hard drive or USB flash drive, which adds extra assurance if, for some reason, access to cloud services is lost.

Regularly updating and checking backups is a key aspect. Automatic backup scheduling, combined with regular checking, will ensure that all the important data is current and ready to be restored. Ensures that the data recovery process works as it should and that accessing backups in times of need is not difficult.


Ransomware is an increasing threat to mobile device users. Knowledge on how this type of malware works and spreads should keep you on the edge in case of a possible attack. The main ingredients for defending your mobile device are using reliable sources for downloading applications, installing decent antivirus software, and timely software updates. In case of infection, one should stay calm, act quickly, and reduce the threat by proven methods. Last but not least, regular backup of data could reduce the loss to a great extent in case a ransomware attack becomes successful. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.