This is the scariest virus yet for Android users – a virus that installs child pornography on your phone and threatens to contact the FBI if you do not pay a ransom.
We have seen ransomware before. Ransom ware started with the virus Cryptolocker, which we have covered previously. Cryptolocker infected a user’s computer and started encrypting their files. This effectively locked the users out of all of their own files and data. The only way to get your files back was to pay a ransom. Individuals, businesses, law firms, and even a police department were hit with this virus and left scrambling to try to recover their data. It is estimated that the makers of Cryptolocker made anywhere from $3 Million to $27 Million from this virus before the FBI shut them down. With that kind of money at stake, there were sure to be copycat viruses.
Since Cryptolocker we have seen a number of similar viruses target Windows computers. However, the mobile market had been left untouched…until now.
This new virus infects Android phones. Once the virus gets onto the phone, it downloads child pornography. It then presents a message appearing to be from the FBI. It says your phone is locked due to your violation of federal law for the possession of child pornography. If you do not pay the $500 fine, you will face prosecution. Some versions of this virus delete your data, some encrypt your data, others just lock you out of your phone until the ransom is paid.
Child pornography is a serious crime. Possession of just one image of child pornography can result in sentences carrying many years of prison time. Thus, this kind of virus can be incredibly scary for anyone infected. Law Enforcement officials are encouraging anyone infected with the virus to contact them and turn their phone over immediately. A computer forensic examiner should quickly be able to determine if your phone has been infected by this malware. They can then examine the malware in hopes to track down its makers and shut down their operation.
Be careful with this virus. It is serious and it is potentially extremely damaging. If your phone is infected, contact an attorney or law enforcement immediately. Be smart about browsing the web with your smartphone. Stay away from sites you do not trust, and do not download files unless you know the source. Taking some basic precautions may have prevent this virus from ever installing on your device.