Blake Dowling: This week’s threat — LeakerLocker

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The technical landscape of 2017 offers a never-ending parade of innovation, as well as a full-on riot of various tech threats.

Cyber crooks and terrorists want your dollars and to cause chaos, too. To that end, they use several motivational tools, including one ransomware scheme that asks you to infect two other people before they give you your data. That one is devious beyond words.

However, the latest threat takes it one step further: Crooks look to embarrass you by revealing your most sensitive photos — unless you pay them, of course.

(Yes, that’s Tom Hanks hazing some poor bloke, taking pics with that guy’s phone while he deals with being … overserved)

That picture of Tom Hanks may still be on the G-rated side, but I am certain some of you have photos on your PC/tablet/phone that you prefer would not be made public on the internet, or sent out to your contacts.

There are many political figures I can think of, who have enough problems as it is; I (for one) wouldn’t want to see what’s on former Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais’s PC, or that on the tablet of disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York. *Shudder*

Can you imagine if Bill Clinton had a smartphone while in the White House? And what if those pics had been hacked? *Double shudder*

We all have seen what the current POTUS has unleashed on the world tech-wise, shoving his tweets in your face.

Obama and Trump each have their own style on Twitter; I don’t want to see the pics on either of their phones either.

Back to our story … the newest threat out there is called LeakerLocker, and it’s a doozy.

This program attacks your phone and threatens to start sending out your pics at random to various phone contacts (both text and email). Currently, this threat targets only Android phones, and just like other ransomware threats — pay the ransom ($50) and they say they will release the lockdown of the phone and not send out any more pics.

This threat was discovered in the Google Play Store. Security company McAfee is warning users against downloading apps called “Booster & Cleaner Pro” or “Wallpapers Blur HD” and they are embedded with the threat also. For today’s purposes, I am referring to LeakerLocker as ransomware, but Ken Spinner — VP of Engineering — is categorizing this new threat as “extortionware.”

Earlier this week, Spinner clarified that with the following statement in Security Magazine online:

“LeakerLocker is a good test case for extortionware, which still has a few hurdles to clear. Ransomware encrypts data in place without actually stealing it,” he said. “Extortionware has to bypass traditional network monitoring tools that are built to detect unusual amounts of data leaving their network or device. Of course, information could be siphoned off slowly disguised as benign web or Domain Name System traffic.” (Full article here)

So great, a whole new category of threats. Just what we need.

LeakerLocker also claims to share your browsing history on your phone with your contacts, making it the gift that keeps on giving (like the “Gin of the Month” club). This threat is only the beginning, so who knows how far it will go.

Rest easy iPhone users, you are free and clear on this threat — for now.

That’s all for today, see you out there.

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Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He has recently been binge watching the show “THE 100” and is not embarrassed to admit watching CW shows. (Well, maybe a little.) He can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com.

 

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