Ransomware targeting mobile phones is an emerging trend internationally that is presently targeting the Android phone market, but likely to transition to other operating systems. Ransomware may infect a phone by following a spam link that downloads an application without your knowledge or by installing legitimate applications such as games that may have the program embedded within them.
Visiting certain websites, such as pornography or streaming services, may also trigger its installation. Once installed, the ransomware hijacks your device and locks it. At this point, it will demand payment to restore the device, often masquerading as national law enforcement to scare you.
Within Australia the virus may present itself as the AFP, State Police, or your state transport department, claiming you owe unpaid fines that you must pay to unlock your device. It may also accuse you of storing and viewing banned pornographic material that you must pay to have removed from your device. This form of the virus is known as the Police Virus, but it is important to note that authorities will never use screen lockers to collect fines from you.
It can be difficult to detect this form of ransomware since it is usually installed without your knowledge. It is not until the app locks the phone and demands a ransom that you may even be aware that there is a virus on your phone.
The answer is to detect suspicious URLs and apps prior to executing the malware. This can be achieved by ensuring your settings are set to ‘verify apps’ with the user prior to installation, and to avoid any suspicious links whose origins you aren’t sure of.
There are a few steps you can take to make sure that your phone stays virus free
If you have been infected with this virus, you can do the following to unlock your Android phone and minimise damage:
Identity Care Australia & New Zealand Ltd (IDCARE) provides identity and cyber security incident response services (the Services) in accordance with the following disclaimer of service:
IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber incident community support service. We are a not-for-profit charity.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this alert, IDCARE disclaims any liability to any person in respect to any actions performed or not performed as a result of the contents of the the Services or any accompanying data provided. Wider dissemination may be permitted by authority in writing from IDCARE’s Managing Director. If you would like to provide feedback please use our Feedback Form.
The most prolific form of identity compromise currently impacting the community.view fact sheet
When a ban is put in place it ‘freezes’ access to your credit files.view fact sheet
A patch is a piece of software designed to update a computer program.view fact sheet
IDCARE as a registered charity does not ask individuals to donate or pay for our front line services. We are not a charity that can receive tax deductible donations.
We rely on organisations that care enough about you to care about us to keep our charitable service going. Proudly these organisations are displayed above and on our Subscriber Organisations page.
If you are asked for payment from someone claiming to be from IDCARE, please report this to us using our Report Phishing email.
IDCARE has access to the Department of Social Services’ Free Interpreting Service, delivered by the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National). Access to the Free Interpreting Service is provided to assist you to communicate with non-English speaking people who hold a Medicare card. Please note that the service does not extend to New Zealand citizens or residents who do not hold an Australian Medicare card, or to tourists, overseas students or people on temporary work visas.
New Zealand Relay provides services to help Deaf, hearing impaired, speech impaired, Deafblind and standard phone users communicate with their peers.
A TTY user connects to New Zealand Relay via a toll-free number and types their conversation to a Relay Assistant (RA) who then reads out the typed message to a standard phone user (hearing person).
The RA relays the hearing person's spoken words by typing them back to the Textphone (TTY) User.
The National Relay Service (NRS) is an Australian government initiative that allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment to make and receive phone calls.
The NRS is available 24 hours a day, every day and relays more than a million calls each year throughout Australia.
ABN 84 164 038 966