Recently, I received a call from a friend who had been contacted by someone in a telephone call telling them that their computer was ‘infected’.
She was told to follow certain keyboard entries on her computer to see the proof of the infection. The instructions she was given were simply commands that exist in the Windows operating system. Unless you had been trained in some depth on Windows operating system, you’d think the information flashing across your screen represented a real problem.
Actually, she was simply seeing the results that exist in log and other files on all Windows operating systems.
I don’t know where the discussion eventually went because my friend was too embarrassed to tell me. I suspect that some money was lost by the time all of the instructions she received were carefully followed.
It was all a scam. A worldwide scam.
I’d heard of the scam when it was reported to Leo Laporte on his live Tech Guy show several months ago, but hadn’t personally encountered it.
I wasn’t too worried about encountering the scam again. Out of all of the people in the world, what were the odds that I or folks in our little community would be affected twice?
Apparently, we are more exposed than I thought! Ring, ring – another friend apparently received a call from the same or a similar theft group but he was wise enough to hang up.
If you received a telephone call telling you that your computer is infected and that they will tell you how to see the proof …. HANG UP! You are talking to a bad guy, especially if they have an Indian or similar accent.
As I’m writing this note, I’ve been listening to Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte discuss this very problem on Steve’s Security Now program. I urge you to listen to it at your leisure. You’ll learn how to protect yourself from the scam and you’ll gain an understanding of how you can be teased into ‘aiding and abetting’ bad guys in a theft of your own stuff.
Listen to the broadcast of Security Now – Episode 318 at any time online or as a download at this address: http://twit.tv/show/security-now/318
Don’t get stung by this or similar scams. Steve and Leo discussed the problem in terms that anyone can understand.
Lastly, someone had the presence of mind to record the conversation when they were hit by the scam and have posted the two-part video on YouTube. Take a few minutes and listen to them. Then you’ll know what to watch for and to expect in one of these calls.
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