Ransomware is the most problematic form of malware – or malicious software – targeting internet users. Cryptolocker ransomware can infect your computers and encrypt data stored on your machine or any networked storage backups.

How Android ransomware works

Some websites offering filesharing or video viewing services – including adult content sites – may prompt you into installing a video player. Other victims have clicked through to news stories from Facebook newsfeed links shared by friends.

The malware does not encrypt the contents of the Android devices but prevents the home button and back button functions from working.

Turning the phone off and on again does not clear the phone and allow the owner to continue using it.

How to deal with Android ransomware

  1. Do not pay the ransom: Contact Netsafe on 0508 NETSAFE for help and to report what has happened.
  2. Turn you Android phone off and then switch it on again into ‘Safe Mode’: There are instructions on this website about cleaning up common Samsung and HTC models. You may need to Google the model of your device and the term ‘safe mode’ to find a manual or guide online. Common ways to boot into Safe Mode include holding the power button and volume button up or down during the power on process depending on the age of your device.
  3. Once in Safe Mode, find the rogue application installed on the device and remove it: Malwaretips.com has screenshots showing how too use Application Manager under Settings to remove the app.

If you cannot remove the app then you may need to consult a local technician, try to use anti-virus software to clean the phone or reset the device to factory settings which will also remove the data and contacts stored on the phone.

How to avoid ransomware

Netsafe has 12 tips that will help you protect your device. The most important ways to prevent Android ransomware are to:

  1. Consider installing anti-virus software on your Android
  2. Keep your operating system up to date
  3. Be cautious about what apps you install
  4. Don’t click on links or open attachments you weren’t expecting
  5. Backup your device and the data stored on it.

You can find independent reviews of Android anti-virus software on the AV Test website.

If you visit adult websites on your device, be cautious downloading and installing any form of video player or ‘Adobe Flash’ update – this may contain malware and infect your device. Downloads often arrive as .apk files and can lock the device if installed.

Android owners should avoid installing apps from unknown or unofficial sources or changing their device settings to automate the installation.


  • Contact NetSafe if you’d like further help on 0508 NETSAFE.