Warning: There are nasty new malware attacks that lock your smartphone screens. And they're nearly impossible to get rid of.
Worse, you may have to completely reset your smartphone to its original factory settings and risk losing your treasured photos and videos, your sensitive financial information, and all your apps. Note: Keep reading for tips to prevent becoming a victim of this fast-spreading malware attack.
There are several malwares targeting the more than 1.5 billion Android devices around the world. The latest malware doesn't yet have a name, according to cybersecurity experts, but they believe it's a ransomware attack in development.
This attack, like the fast-spreading Cyber.Police and ICE, locks your smartphone screen. With Cyber.Police, for instance, your screen is taken over by a window with highly disturbing pornographic images, stating you're accused of a crime.
It's a ransomware attack with a countdown clock, saying you have about three days to pay the ransom. Note: Don't pay ransom without first talking to your smartphone provider. And keep reading for tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of this attack.
With Cyber.Police and ICE, you may not be able to unlock the screen, without resetting your phone to its original factory settings. But you will lose all your photos and apps.
With the new unnamed malware, which may not be fully developed yet, it may not ask for ransom. That could quickly change, though. It has already been found on 100 apps and may be affecting many others.
Here's how the unnamed malware attack works:
- Typically, you receive a text or link to open a porn site
- If you download the third-party app, malware gets device admin privileges
- Your screen locks when you open the app or go to System Settings
For this attack by the unnamed malware, you may be able to unlock the screen by clicking either the Home button or Recent Apps button.
Not many people are lucky enough to unlock their screen that easily. If you can't get out of a ransomware screen to unlock your smartphone, here's what to do:
- Don't turn on Safe Mode: In Safe Mode, the malware blocks the System Settings and makes it impossible to uninstall
- Immediately call or visit your cellphone carrier to have them remove this malware, if they can
- Warning - last resort: Your cellphone carrier may suggest you reset your smarphone to its original factory settings. Before you do that, just know you'll lose a lot of your data, including photos, apps and music. (Make sure you have exhausted all other steps before you reset your Android. Here's how to reset many Android smartphones, if your screen is locked: Turn it off [If your screen is preventing you from doing that, remove your battery and put it back in] >> press and hold Volume Up + Home + Power (or Volume Down + Power or Home + Power) >> from Recovery Screen, use volume up and down buttons to move through the menu >> select Factory Reset >> Confirm.