Ransomware Attack Tricks Man into Admitting his Child Pornography Habit

In an interesting turn of events in Indiana, a 22-year old man turned himself into the local police station, admitting he viewed child pornography. According to the Porter County prosecutor, Joseph T. Hanvey drove to Valparaiso police station after his phone was locked down during an attempt to download a pornographic video.

Ransomware Operators Fear Tactic Tricks Hanvey

When Hanvey was trying to download pornography on his cell phone, his device went blank and started to show a notification that his device was being monitored by the FBI. The notification got Hanvey extremely scared. He thought his phone got locked down as a result of accessing child porn and therefore he drove to the local police station to explain the situation.

In reality, the note was fake and used by ransomware operators to scare Harvey in order to scare him into submitting to their extortion demand for ransomware removal. Posing as a law enforcement entity is an old scare tactic used by ransomware operators to successfully get the ransom money from individuals accessing compromised and illegitimate websites. In most cases, people guilty of doing something unlawful pay the operators without notifying anyone.

However, the case of Hanvey turned out to be an exception because he admitted to watching child porn. He has also told authorities that he is aware of his problematic habit and wants to address it. Investigators have concluded that Hanvey’s device was affected by a lock screen malware, which can easily be neutralized by a simple ransomware removal measure.

Viewing and possessing child porn is a punishable offense in the US. So, Hanvey has been charged by the county prosecutor according to pertinent penal code. There are strong chances that he will be given rehabilitation treatment instead of prison time.