Aussies on the defensive as malware mimics police with PCs for ransom

Security problems aren’t going anywhere, and more proof that your computers need a solution comes this week with the news that Aussies are getting hit hard with an Android form of ransomware.

There’s bad news afoot, and it’s that quite a few Australians with Android mobiles and tablets, as well as Windows PCs are getting caught in a web of maliciousness, as the “Koler” exploit makes its way across the web, penetrating devices without security that fall into its trap.

According to Kaspersky Lab, which has picked up on the attacks, over 6000 Aussies have been hit with this attack, making us the third bigger country in the world to deal with Koler, just behind the US and the UK in numbers.

It’s made for Windows (of course it is), and it’s also now available as an app for Android, with the malware infecting a device without security when it visits one of the sites that Koler works on.

At the moment, that includes quite a few porn sites, and once you’re infected, the Koler malware will turn into ransomware, asking you either to download an Android app for install if you’re on an Android phone or tablet, installing an Internet Explorer attack, or directing you to a website to mimic the attack that will load on a phone or tablet.

The subsequent screens will tell you that you’re blocked, thanks to you apparently visiting “banned pornography,” with your country, city, and IP address, the last three things being easily picked up and transmitted.

A fake banner purporting to be from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) can be seen on the screen, and from there, the ransomware begins, which will ask you to pay money to unlock your device.

This is fake.

Interestingly, in the past week, the Kaspersky reports that “the mobile component of the campaign has been disrupted,” which is apparently deleting the app from Android devices.

PCs, however, are still at risk, and if you’re at all curious how to go on the defensive, the answer is still that simple one we’ve been saying day in day out since, well, ever: be smart when you’re surfing the web and use internet security.

It seems obvious, but many people are still missing out on what should be common sense, even when the repercussions can include compromised identity and loss of money.

“We caution against visiting websites which you don’t trust,” said Kaspersky Lab’s Australian Technical Manager Sam Bryce-Johnson.

“Importantly, never install any app which you might come across while browsing, regardless of the file name being used to lure users. Along with these cautionary practices, users should have a reliable antivirus solution installed across their connected platforms.”

“People need to be aware that local authorities are not in the business of sending out official ‘ransom’ messages, so one should never pay up, regardless of the amount and the method of transaction that is being asked of them,” added Bryce-Johnson.

There you go. It’s as fake as fake can be. Get your internet security and don’t be fooled again.

Overseas, the Koler malware says you've been caught by Interpol. Once again, lies.