We have heard horror stories of people being kidnapped and held hostage for a ransom. This concept is now a reality when it comes to the vital information stored on your smartphone. Ransomeware is a reality, and it’s a new way criminals are profiting off of our increasingly technological world. For many people, data on their smartphone is more valuable then the device itself, so it makes sense that many people want to protect it at all costs from falling into wrong hands. There are some things you need to know to best ensure you don’t fall victim to having to pay a fee to keep the information and data that rightfully belongs to you.
Blackmail with Adult Player
One clever way criminals are profiting off of smartphone users is to take advantage of the fact that 68 percent of young men and 18 percent of young women view online porn at least once per week. Adult Player is cleverly presented as a video player specifically to be used for porn. The consumer is delivered the product they expect. However, as they watch their video, the app takes their picture using their own reverse camera option. From here, they are able to essentially blackmail them.
It’s worth noting that Adult Player is not made available on official app stores. If you’ve fallen victim to this tactic, restart your phone. In safe mode, remove the administrative rights you allowed the app and then remove it.
An Even Bigger Threat With Lockerpin
Similar to Adult Player, Lockerpin takes advantage of porn users. This app is easily downloaded, and, once complete, it takes control of your mobile device by locking you out of it. Android users who had previously initiated power user can delete the app with little danger of losing data. However, others may not fare so well. They will need to start Android Debug Bridge and manually delete all Lockerpin files from their device.
Getting to the Root
It’s important to root your Android. This gives you, the owner, administrative rights to remove harmful files directly from your phone’s root folder. You should perform this procedure when the phone is new as it will delete everything in your phone’s memory. You can find instructions on rooting online. However, incorrect procedure can damage the phone, so it may be worth the investment to have this done for you by a professional.
What to Do If Victimized
If you’ve already fallen victim to these clever schemes, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that $33,600 is made by successful criminals daily in achieving ransom payouts from unsuspecting smartphone users. As you consider paying the ransom, consider the following:
- Only about 2.9 percent of victims pay the ransom, so the criminal isn’t likely expecting you to actually pay
- Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee you’ll retrieve your data
- When you pay, you give the criminal what they want, thus contributing to this growing problem
An Ounce of Prevention
In order to prevent falling victim in the future, never download an app that has an unknown source. Limit your downloads to trusted sources such as Google Play or Amazon Appstore. You can also backup your data in places such as Google Drive. Other great ways to backup your data include:
- Setting up folders in your email account. Send important documents and pictures to your email and save them to the appropriate folders.
- Downloading your data directly onto your personal computer using your USB connection.
- Using the services offered by SMS Backup to keep important text messages saved in the cloud.
- Considering paid services such as MyBackup Pro where, for five dollars, your data will automatically be saved to its online server.
A Few Bad Apples
Technology is a beautiful thing, and it has allowed for numerous conveniences as well as life-saving techniques that protect each and every one of us. However, there are always a few bad apples in every barrel, and criminals will always try to capitalize off the ignorance of the general public. The only way to fight these types of crimes is to stay informed. By understanding the various dangers lurking around your smartphone, you can stay one step ahead and enjoy your technology with a higher level of peace-of-mind.