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The "porn" app that takes your photo and demands $500

Barry Collins
8 Sep 2015
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Adult Player app attempts to shame users into handing over a hefty ransom

A security firm has warned of a new Android "pornography" app that takes a photo of the user, before demanding $500 to unlock their phone. The so-called "Adult Player" app lures people in with the promise of pornographic material, but is actually nothing more than a sophisticated ransomware attack.

The app, which doesn't appear in the Google Play store but is offered via nefarious adult websites, installs with an icon of a naked woman, making the promise of pornography pretty explicit. However, there's no kicks to be had from the app. Instead, when it's first opened, the app checks to see whether the phone's front-facing camera is enabled and then surreptitiously snaps a photo of the user.

That photo then appears on the proceeding ransom screen, along with details of the user's location, mobile network and device ID. The message, purporting to come from the US Cyber Crime Center and displaying a photo of Barack Obama, demands the user pays a "fine" of $500 via PayPal to unlock their device.

The screen remains on the phone even after a reboot, according to the Zscaler security firm who discovered the rogue app, with users forced to boot into Safe Mode to remove the malware - something most people won't know how to do.

Needless to say, affected users shouldn't pay the ransom. To avoid installing such malicious software, users should only install apps from official stores such as Google Play or the Amazon App Store. In the device's security settings, make sure the option to install apps from "unknown sources" is left unchecked.

Ransomware has become a growing problem on Android phones and Windows PCs, with files on infected devices often encrypted unless the user pays the ransom fee to decrypt them. 

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