Although ransomware has become an increasingly common problem on PCs, the issue has slowly started to penetrate mobile devices too. Unfortunately, it looks like a particular pornography app for Android has been secretly taking user selfies and is now utilizing those photos for malicious intent.
'Adult Player' for Android acts as an application designed to allow users to view pornography. When installed and accessed, the app secretly takes photos of the user, after which a ransom will be demanded and the phone locked. The app threatens the user with exposure of the images and of their privacy information, as well as the deletion of all data on their device, unless they pay the $500 USD ransom demanded by the app's creators.
While some might think to restart their device, 'Adult Player' has been coded so that even a restart will not disable the application. Once rebooted, the app will simply start again and lock the device. Luckily, there is an alternate solution to wiping the device or paying the ransom. In order to remedy the situation, infected users will need to boot their device into 'safe' mode. Detailed instructions from ZScaler have been posted verbatim down below.
Boot device into safe mode (Please note that entering "safe mode" varies depending on your device). Safe mode boots the device with default settings without running third party apps.
Uninstalling ransomware from device requires you to first remove administrator privilege. To do the same, go to Settings --> Security --> Device Administrator and select ransomware app, then deactivate.
Once this is done, you can go to Settings --> Apps --> Uninstall ransomware app.
While technology seems to advance, there is a noticeable lack when it comes to protection against malware, ransomware and other malicious threats to mobile devices. Although Qualcomm is set to introduce a new prevention method, one can only wonder how quickly other manufacturers will react to mobile threats in the future.