Smartphone owners have been warned about a scary new piece of “ransomware” designed to send victims’ private photographs to all the contacts in their address book.
The tech security firm McAfee has sounded the alarm over a new type of virus called LeakerLocker.
This creepy ransomware is capable of locking down someone’s phone, before threatening to leak photos, browsing history and other highly sensitive information by sending it to people whose numbers or email addresses are on the phone.
Victims are told to pay a $50 ransom, but there’s no guarantee this will actually save them from humiliation.
Ransomware was used in the WannaCry hack attacks which brought the NHS to its knees.
In a blog post, security scientists Fernando Ruiz and ZePeng Chen wrote: “We recently found on Google Play a type of mobile ransomware that does not encrypt files. This malware extorts a payment to prevent the attacker from spreading a victim’s private information.”
“LeakerLocker claims to have made an unauthorized backup of a phone’s sensitive information that could be leaked to a user’s contacts unless it receives ‘a modest ransom.’”
The virus affects Android users and was found within at least two apps on the Google Play store.
McAfee warned users against downloading apps called “Booster & Cleaner Pro” or “Wallpapers Blur HD.”
Anyone whose phone is infected with LeakerLocker is told: “In less than 72 hours this data will be sent to every person from your telephone and email contacts list. To abort this action you have to pay a modest ransom of $50.”
“Please note that there is no way to delete your data from our secure but paying for them (sic). Powering off or even damaging your smartphone won’t affect your data in the cloud.”
However, LeakerLocker may not actually be able to fully carry out its threats.
“Not all the private data that the malware claims to access is read or leaked,” the McAfee experts suggested.
If you’re hit by the malware and are worried about your sexy selfies being leaked to your mom, you might be thinking about paying a ransom.
However, this is no guarantee of safety.
People infected by Petya ransomware were recently told to avoid paying any money because there was no guarantee of getting their data back.