On Monday, Apple released an update to iOS, “fixing a flaw that allowed scammers to use pop-up windows in an attempt to snatch cash from unsuspecting users of the Safari browser on iPhones and iPads,” Karin Price Mueller writes for NJ.com. “The scammers targeted porn connoisseurs, hoping they’d stumble on the many websites registered to the scammers.”

“If an unsuspecting victim clicked [sic tapped] on the wrong link, the scammers would use a pop-up window to say the user’s device has been locked because of ‘illegal pornography,’ for example. It would then direct the user to pay — using an iTunes gift card, another common pay scam — via an email address that included law enforcement-sounding names such as cybercrimegov or police-pay,” Mueller writes. “Once the fine was paid, the scammy pop-ups said, the user’s Safari browser would be unlocked.”

“A Lookout user reported his device was caught in a never-ending loop. Each time he’d press ‘OK’ on the pop-up window on his screen, he’d be prompted to press ‘OK’ again. And again, and again. The browser was stuck, courtesy of the scammers,” Mueller writes. “So whether you’re a porn consumer or not, make sure you have the most updated operating systems on your devices, and be sure to run your computer’s anti-virus software regularly, too.”

Read more in the full article here.

Lookout reports that iOS 10.3 “changed how Mobile Safari handles JavaScript pop-ups, which Lookout discovered scammers using to execute a scareware campaign.”

“The scammers abused the handling of pop-up dialogs in Mobile Safari in such a way that it would lock out a victim from using the browser,” Lookout reports. “The attack would block use of the Safari browser on iOS until the victim pays the attacker money in the form of an iTunes Gift Card. During the lockout, the attackers displayed threatening messaging in an attempt to scare and coerce victims into paying.”

“However, a knowledgeable user could restore functionality of Mobile Safari by clearing the browser’s cache via the the iOS Settings — the attack doesn’t actually encrypt any data and hold it ransom,” Lookout reports. “Its purpose is to scare the victim into paying to unlock the browser before he realizes he doesn’t have to pay the ransom to recover data or access the browser.”

Lookout reports, “iOS 10.3 doesn’t lock the entire browser up with these pop-ups, rather it runs on a per-tab basis so that if one tab is misbehaving, the user can close it out and/or move to another one.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If caught in such a loop on a Mac, you could simply close the tab, if possible, or force-quit Safari, of course.

But – can you imagine?! – never, ever pay any scareware’s “ransom” demand! Sheesh.