A few days ago, the people from McAfee Labs made a very interesting discovery: new ransomware for Android devices has appeared. The researchers named the malware El Gato ("The Cat" in Spanish), because its code includes a picture of a meowing orange cat. This new malware seems incredibly destructive, but what's even worse: it's most likely a demo version that hackers created in order to show the ransomware capabilities before selling it to the interested parties.
In case you're curious about what this tool can do, I will describe a couple of things. Do not get surprised, the list is quite long. Logically, since its defined as ransomware, it can encrypt the files on the device and completely block access to the smartphone or tablet. Other nasty capabilities include the ability to steal or delete text messages, send SMS from the victim's device, screen-locking functions, and even the possibility to crash a specific app that's being used by the victim. The good news is that the malware also has decryption abilities, which means that, if the victim gives in to the hackers demands, there is a possibility of regaining access to the encrypted files.
All of the malware's functions are performed in the background, so the victim is completely unaware of the infection. What's just as scary is that El Gato can be controlled through a pretty simple menu that you can open from any web browser, so the hacker is able to encrypt your data or steal it with just a single click of a mouse button.
If you're interested in other security-related stories, you should read: "Keep yourself safe from phone scams" or "What is ransomware and how to protect yourself against it".