This Porn App Will Hijack Your Phone, Bring You Zero Porn

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Android users who prefer their pornography mobile-friendly, listen up. Porn Droid is not the name of a sexy character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it is an app that hijacks your phone upon download and demands a ransom.

Designed by Russian hackers, Porn Droid is nothing but malware. It's spread via social media, torrent sites, and nonaffiliated app stores across the States. Before being locked out of their phones, users are shown an official-looking alert that prominently features the FBI logo and accuses the porn-seeker of accessing "forbidden pornographic sites." The alert continues to state that suspicious content has been found on the phone and thus it has been locked for investigation. The ransom part comes into play when the alert concludes, demanding that the user pay a $500 fine. Unfortunately, paying the fine doesn't actually fix anything.
ESET, the security company that discovered the malware, says that the hack has affected hundreds of users thus far. The company explains that the only way to combat it is to perform a hard reset, restoring your phone to its factory settings. That means you would lose anything on your phone, including your photos and contacts, that you hadn't already backed up to the cloud.

Little is known about the hackers responsible for the app, but as with many successful hacks these days, the scam relies on human error and social engineering to succeed. It also relies on Americans' truly dedicated appetite for porn.

The ransom idea, while completely scummy, is clever: This writer would go so far as to say that no one could put a price on the carefully curated selection of French bulldog photos currently on her phone's camera roll.
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