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Urgent Warning for Those with Android Phones

What is ransomware?

Ransomare is software with malicious code that can lock a device or computer so that it cannot be used. This means that you won’t be able to open any apps or access the settings on the device. A message usually appears explaining the device is locked and that you need to pay a “ransom” in order to unlock it and get rid of the malicious software.

The good news is that your data is usually safe, but the bad news is that paying the ransom won’t actually remove the software. 

The Cyber Police hack explained

The Cyber Police name comes from how it represents itself once it’s active on your device. You’ll see a message like the one to the right explaining that your device has been locked because you supposedly have browsed illegal websites in the past.

The message claims to come from some sort of agency, which might be called the “American national security agency” or something similar.

This “agency” will give you a certain amount of time to pay a “ransom” so that it doesn’t take legal action, and as an extra bonus, the “agency” will restore your device. In this example, the “ransom” is two $100 Apple iTunes gift card codes. Sounds simple enough, but you were never under any legal threat in the first place, and paying the ransom won’t unlock your device.

The scary part of this exploit is that it can be installed on your device from a simple ad on a Web page, without the need for you to actually open it. And there is no way to detect these malicious ads. Andrew Brandt, director of threat research at Blue Coat Labs said, “This is the first time, to my knowledge [that] an exploit kit has been able to successfully install malicious apps on a mobile device without any user interaction on the part of the victim.” Since the exploit is actually an app, you would think that permissions would have to be approved, but somehow they are bypassed.

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