You or someone you know has received this call. “Hello, I’m calling from Microsoft Technical Support, we can see your computer on the Internet and there is a problem. It is infected with many viruses, but we can help you fix it.” They usually ask for remote access to your computer to show you where the problems are. Once you provide access they usually install a fake anti-virus program that appears to show your computer is infected with hundreds or thousands of malicious files. This is the point where they offer to clean it for a fee and ask for your Credit Card info. Nothing about this call is legitimate and giving access remotely allows them to install anything they want on your computer. They could be installing real malware that could steal your personal information. The best thing you can do once they say they’re from Microsoft or any Internet support company and your computer is infected, is hang up your phone.
This isn’t the only scenario like this, but it is the most common we’ve seen. Once again we say, if your gut tells you something isn’t right, it likely isn’t. There is no one searching the Internet for computers that are infected with malware so they can clean it for you, especially not Microsoft.
If a user within your business network has fallen victim to this scheme you should have your IT Systems reviewed by a professional as soon as possible.
Most computer users have seen a phishing email but would you recognize it to be fake before it was too late? Some of today’s phishing attempts are very convincing and the methods used are always changing and getting more sophisticated. We’ve repeatedly seen the usual Bank message where they claim your accounts will be frozen unless you provide your credentials immediately. We’ve also seen the parcel delivery failed notice where the message includes a notice that a parcel is waiting for you to claim. Some of the more recent methods include a parking infraction notice, or a Photo Radar speeding ticket. There are infinite ways to grab our attention and make us want to click the link or open the attachment out of panic or curiousity. The question is, would you know what to look for when viewing an email you’re not sure of? The very first clue would be where the message came from. You might see something that looks like a legit name in the “From” field but if you hover over that name you should see the full email address. It’s most definitely not going to match where the message appears to come from. Review the message thoroughly, you’ll often find many spelling mistakes as well. Those who have fallen prey to these methods usually say they were afraid their bank accounts would really be frozen, or they were expecting a parcel. This is what the bad guys count on and why they try to create urgency in their messages. We often tell our clients, if your gut tells you it isn’t right, it probably isn’t right and you should ignore it. Just remember to think twice before clicking on a message that could compromise your computer.