Porn app took secret photos of users and threatened to publish

A porn app has taken secret photos of users and threatened to publish them if $500 (£330) was not paid. 

ReutersPornographic apps which hold users to ransom are on the rise, security experts have warned

The Adult Player app attracted customers with alluring pornographic images but secretly took photos using their smartphone's front-facing camera. The app would then lock the device and demand £330.

Apps which demand payment with a threat to release private information, known as ransomware, are a profitable and growing area of cybercrime, security experts told the BBC. 

Examples of ransomware had increased 127 per cent since 2014, according to Intel Security.

"One of the reasons for the increase is that it's very easy to make," said Raj Samani, chief technology officer for Intel Security in Europe.

"There are people you can pay to do the work for you, and it pays really well. One group we tracked made more than $75,000 in 10 weeks.

"Apps like this rely on the embarrassment factor. If you don't pay, your reputation is on the line."

The ransom message kept the phone's screen locked and reappeared if the handset was restarted, said Zscaler, the US security firm who discovered the app.

The app was not available from vetted storefronts such as Google Play, but could be installed directly from a webpage.

"Ransomware is more prevalent on computers than phones, but this could be the start of a trend," said Samani.

Adult Player was the second example of pornography-focused ransomware discovered by Zscaler.

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