URRGH! Evil app WATCHES YOU WATCHING PORN, snaps your grimace

Stick-up gurn pic snap stickup app flap

A new frontier in horror has been breached, as it has emerged that your phone can in some circumstances take a picture of you as you view porn on it, and then use that image of your grimacing face to extort money on pain of exposure.

Security outfit Zscaler detected the Android app, which lures victims who assume it is a pornographic video player. When the victim starts using it, the app silently takes a photo of the victim using the front-facing camera and demands $500 (£327).

The ransom screen stays persistent even at reboot. It does not allow the user to operate the device and keeps the screen active with ransom messages, Zscaler said.

"During the course of our daily malware hunt, we came across a new mobile ransomware variant which leverages pornography to lure victims into downloading and installing it," claimed the firm.

It is not the first time Android vulnerabilities have been exposed recently. Last month, fresh research revealed the mobile operating system's ability to display a spoofed user interface, showing malicious apps masquerading as legit ones without any obvious cues.

According to a paper on the vuln – presented at the USENIX Security 15 conference in Washington DC – it is used by criminals who want to spy on device owners, steal logins, install ransomware und so weiter.

To avoid being the victim of such evilware, the paper says it is always best to download apps only from trusted app stores, such as Google Play.

Quite so. ®

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021