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Beware: Ransomware email attacks phones and tablets

Beware: Ransomware email attacks phones and tablets
Photo courtesy of shutterstock

Android users beware. Cybercrooks have launched a new attack that looks like a pretty convincing FBI warning. Don't fall for it!  This nasty ransomware email attack going around can lock your smartphone or tablet until you cough up hundreds of dollars to the criminals on the other end.

According to online security firm Bitdefender, 15,000 spam emails containing the ransomware have gone out to Android users. The ransomware is disguised as an Adobe Flash Player update. If you download it, it installs as a video player that launches a fake error screen when you try to use it. The message is a bogus FBI warning message that says users broke the law by visiting adult sites.

[Chief Security Strategist at Bitdefender] Catalin Cosoi continues, “Unfortunately, there is not much users can do if infected with ransomware, even if this particular strain does not encrypt the files on the infected terminal. The device’s home screen button and back functionalities are no longer working, and turning the device on/off doesn’t help either, as the malware runs when the operating system boots.”

The ransomware demands that users pay $500 to regain control of their gadget. If they try to unlock the device, that price can rise to $1,500.

Next page: Find out how to protect yourself
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