Pay a $300 fine or else your smartphone will be blocked forever

| May 8, 2014

Android malware that locks your phone

Print screen of the Android malware

Ars Technica informs us that there is an Android-based malware that disables the targeted devices until users pay a $300 “fee” because of viewing illegal pornography.

The malware is cleverly disguised as a downloadable video player that promises premium access on certain pornography sites. In order for a phone to be infected, a user must change the Android settings to allow out of market apps and then manually install the malware.

Tricking its victims by using the FBI logo and President Barack Obama, Android-Trojan.Koler.A uses a location function to customize the warnings for whatever country the user resides in. The malware prevents users from accessing the home screen of their phones, making it impossible to use almost every app installed on the phone.

In some cases you can restore your phone if you pay a so called “fine” of $300 using payment services such as Paysafecard or uKash that are incredibly difficult to trace. At least there’s no evidence that the malware encrypts any files stored on the phone.

Another example of Android malware

The malware has already claimed at least 68 victims in the past six hours:

  • -40 in the United Arab Emirates
  • -12 in the UK
  • -6 in Germany
  • -5 in the US
  • -Others in Italy and Poland

Two years ago it has been estimated that malware extorts went up to $5 million per year from users through users that have fallen victims to such schemes. There are also 16 different versions of this malware created by competing gangs. More recently scammers  have built strong cryptography into their malware, Cryptolocker, that literally holds the hard drive of the device hostage until the payment is fulfilled.

Category: Smartphone & Android Articles

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