Apple updates iPhone after fake police ransomware scam takes over Safari

Apple has been forced to update the iPhone after an iOS bug allowed hackers to plague users’ handsets with endless pop-ups and demand a ransom.

The scam tricked victims with mock-ups of real websites like the Metropolitan Police website, and claimed their phone had been locked because they had been illegally downloading music or x-rated content. A message appeared demanding £100 in iTunes credit to unlock the device.

After issuing the ransom message, the scam then unleashed an endless loop of pop-ups titled ‘Cannot open page”. Clicking OK on the pop-up only made more pop-ups appear, meaning users were effectively locked out of Safari.

The only way for users to clear the deluge of pop-ups and defeat the scam was to go into their iPhone’s settings and clear the web history.

iPhone Ransomware Scam

Apple’s fix came on Monday in the form of iOS 10.3, which changes how Mobile Safari handles JavaScript pop-ups. From now on, pop-ups will appear in different tabs rather than hog the entire browser.

Lookout also says that the attack’s code suggests it was designed to target older versions of iOS, like iOS 8.0, but that other iterations up to 10.3 were also vulnerable before Apple stepped in.

Another advantage of the iOS 10.3 update is a new file system, which iPhone users are claiming is freeing up space on their handsets and making them run slightly faster. If you haven’t downloaded it already, you can do so by selecting ‘Software Update’ in your iPhone’s General Settings.

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