If your Android phone locks up and accuses you of watching child pornography, don’t worry about the FBI barging down your doors anytime soon. That said, you should worry a bit because it means that your device has been infected with a new strain of ransomware that is trying to scare Android uses into forking over money to get access to their phones back.
Ars Technica reports that security researchers have discovered a new piece of malware called Android-Trojan.Koler.A that will use your phone’s geolocation technology to figure out which country you’re in and send you a notification that appears to be from your government’s top law enforcement agency. The message will tell you that you’ve been busted for watching illegal pornography and, most incredibly, will inform you that you can settle these charges by sending $300 through well-known ransomware money transfer programs such as PaySafeCard or uKash.
Ars says that the ransomware gets installed onto your phone when you visit “certain” pornography websites so if you don’t use your mobile device to look at porn you’ll likely be OK. Once it’s on there, though, it’s incredibly difficult to remove — Bitdefender analyst Bogdan Botezatu tells Ars that he was able to get it off his phone but only by moving extremely quickly to find it and uninstall it manually from his applications folder. Otherwise, the ransomware will stay on top of all of your other applications and basically make your phone useless.