Ransomware attacks have been around, first in desktop computing and now, in mobile computing. This brief article will show you the steps that you can do on how to remove the FBI warning ransomware, also known as FBI virus. We’ve received a plea for help from one of our readers so we want to include his letter in this post as well.
One of the hindrances a user may face when dealing with this type of malware is the fact that the device will basically become unusable. Like all ransomware, the FBI virus will lock the victim’s device down. The phone screen will then show a full page telling the user that he or she has violated a law (such as viewing child porn). The bogus notification will then demand that the use pay a fine in order to remove the lock on the device.
Keep in mind that no law enforcement agency will lock a device and force a user to pay a fine online. If your phone has been victimized by this kind of ransomware, refer to our steps below on how to fix it.
Problem: How to remove FBI warning ransomware on the Galaxy S8
I have a big problem I got the “FBI warning” so obviously everything froze. Well I read everything i could find on the internet about how to reset the galaxy s8 and everyone said the same thing with one tiny flaw. You can’t power down the damn thing in order to factory reset or hard reset because as soon as the hard reset finishes the “FBI WARNING” pops up and freezes your phone so you don’t have time to put in your code or try and power down. I have spent all night and today and paid for a service to help me and guess what I’m still in the same situation. GOD I hope you can help me. — Robert Fair
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Solution: Hi Robert. There have been many forms of ransomware attacks in the past few years and one of them is the one that supposedly used by the FBI or any law enforcement agency to extort money. If your phone was taken over by a ransomware virus, these are the steps that you can do on your end. Hopefully, the steps below will help you.
Restart the phone to Safe Mode
Because ransomware attacks usually depend on an installed app to work, restarting your phone to Safe Mode is the first step that you need to do. In this mode, all downloaded apps that are not part of the operating system will be blocked from running. This includes apps that you’ve downloaded as well as the ransomware app and its services. If you’re lucky, you should be able to boot your phone to Safe Mode to allow you to remove malicious apps later on.
To restart your S8 to safe mode, follow these steps:
- Turn the device off. If you can’t turn your S8 off normally, wait until the battery drains so it turns off on its own. Then, charge the phone for at least 30 minutes before proceeding.
- Press and hold the Power key.
- When the SAMSUNG logo appears on the screen, release the Power key.
- Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
- Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
- Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
- Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.
- Once the phone has booted up, the FBI Warning ransomware should not load anymore.
Uninstall the malicious app
Android has a security protection feature that should prevent a device from installing apps outside the Play Store. This protection feature is enabled by default under Settings>Lock screen and security>Unknown sources. Sometimes, many Android owners turn this feature off without realizing that they may be making their device vulnerable to apps installing malicious apps without their knowledge.
If the malicious app was installed in your phone via third party sources, you should go over your list of apps and remove it. Because we have no idea what’s the exact name of the app causing the trouble, it’s up to you how to proceed. The basic rule is to find a suspicious looking app and uninstall it by doing the steps below:
- Open Settings app.
- Tap Apps.
- Tap the drop down arrow beside and ensure that you select All apps.
- Tap on a suspicious app.
- Tap Uninstall.
If you can’t figure out the exact app that’s causing the problem, an alternative solution is to factory reset the device. This will wipe the phone clean, effectively removing any malicious app from the system. To factory reset your device, follow these steps:
- From the Home screen, swipe up on an empty spot to open the Apps tray.
- Tap Settings > Cloud and accounts.
- Tap Backup and restore.
- If desired, tap Back up my data to move the slider to ON or OFF.
- If desired, tap Restore to move the slider to ON or OFF.
- Tap the back button to the Settings menu and tap General Management > Reset > Factory data reset.
- Tap Reset device.
- If you have screen lock turned on, enter your credentials.
- Tap Continue.
- Tap Delete all.
How to prevent malware attacks in your S8
Bear in mind that there’s no amount of antivirus apps that can substitute vigilance. When it comes to apps, playing it safe is the best approach towards prevention of malware infection.
Download apps from trusted sites only
Getting apps from legitimate app stores is one easy way to minimize malware infection. Sites like Google Play Store, Samsung, Amazon, and other major companies that hosts apps like your carrier have security practices in place to deter malware writers from using their service. Google Play Store for instance monitor and scan apps. On some occasions, malicious apps can still evade their security and scans so it still falls on you to be vigilant on what app to add.
Don’t install pirated or cracked apps
Apps hosted in third party app stores are sometimes copies of original ones and may contain some malicious codes that can allow installation of more bad apps in the future. In fact, most Android infection nowadays come from cracked or pirated apps as more cybercriminals use them to spread viruses. Avoid third party download sites as much as possible. To remind yourself not to install apps from possible third party sources, make sure to disable Unknown sources option under Settings>Lock screen and security. Turning this option off should prevent the phone from downloading apps from non-Google or non-Samsung sites.
When it comes to protecting your personal information and preventing malware infection in today’s day and age, a suspicious mindset will certainly help. Don’t just take an app at face value. Before you install an unfamiliar app like a game, be sure to check the reviews of other users and run a Google search for it. If it’s a bad app, other users have most likely posted negative reviews about it somewhere.
Make sure app developer can be trusted
As mentioned above, other apps can pose as legitimate applications initially. Once you update them, the new version may include a backdoor that can let other bad apps to come in. Once that occurs, your personal information are fair game. A lot of malware are still designed to work stealthily in order to gather enough information that can benefit the developer. That’s why it’s very important that you only install products from app makers that are known to value privacy and security. Being adventurous does not always pay. Remember, once your personal information has been stolen, there’s no way to get them back.
The less app, the better
Apps are the lifeblood of smartphones. Without them, we’re back to using simple dumb phones that only allows us to call, text, and occasionally play games. Boring isn’t it?
Well, yeah. It’s definitely boring if we can’t harness the full potential of a powerful hardware as like an Galaxy S8 but important and tempting they can be, apps can also be the source of serious security and privacy issues. If you want to take a walk on the wild side, make sure that you do the necessary precautions as mentioned above.
In general, the fewer the apps you install, the better it is for you. Not only will it lessen the risks of malware infection but it can also make it easier on the system, the battery in particular, in the long run. It also minimizes the chances of bugs and glitches from developing.
Stick to a few needed apps as possible. Unless you absolutely have no life except spending all your time using your phone, better stay away from unnecessary apps.