Scam of the day – March 8, 2017 – Sophisticated new tech support scam

I have been reporting to you about tech support scams for years.  These scams generally have involved pop-ups that appear on your computer screen informing you of a serious non-existent problem with your computer that requires immediate attention by you and for which you are required to pay money for a service you don’t really need.

Microsoft is warning people about the latest incarnation of this scam that appears quite legitimate.  This particular tech support scam uses Techbrolo malware that provides dialogue loops and audio messages in addition to the usual pop-ups.  The audio message says “Important security alert!  Virus intrusions detected on your computer.  Your personal data and system files may be at serious risk.  All system resources are halted to prevent any damage.  Please call customer service immediately to report these threats now.”

If you click OK on the phony dialogue box, it will take you to what appears to be the website for Microsoft tech support and even the website address appears to be legitimate, but it is not. From there it lures you into paying for a worthless service to solve a non-existent problem.

TIPS

If you are using Microsoft Edge as a search engine when the tech support goes to full screen you will receive a notification from Microsoft Edge that you can click “Exit now” to stop the attack.

It is also important to install anti-virus and anti-malware software and keep them up to date with the latest security patches. Also, if you use Microsoft Edge as a search engine, it will block many of these attacks and enable you to stop pop-up dialogues used by the scammers.

Neither Microsoft nor Apple will contact you by way of pop up ads offering tech support for which you will be charged.  It should be noted, however, that Microsoft does regularly issue software security updates, but they do this in automated updates if you have enrolled for this service.  If you receive a pop up ad purporting to be from Microsoft or Apple and have any thought that it might be legitimate, you should merely contact Microsoft or Apple directly at a telephone number you know is accurate to confirm the pop up was a scam.

Scam of the day – November 4, 2016 – Security flaws exploited by Russian hackers

Earlier this week it was disclosed that an older version of Microsoft’s Windows software along with the much exploited Adobe Flash software had been exploited by Russian hackers to attack computer systems to gain access to information.  The group that had done these recent hacks appears to be the same Russian hackers responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee earlier this year.  Adobe has already issued a security update to patch the vulnerability.  A link to the security update can be found in yesterday’s Scam of the day.  Microsoft has said that it will have a security patch available on November 8th.  As soon as it is available, I will let you know here at Scamicide.  Users of Windows 10, the latest version of Windows and the Microsoft’s Edge browser are protected from the attack.

Once again, the malware necessary to spread these computer hacks was spread, as so often is the case, by spear phishing emails luring unsuspecting victims into clicking on links that downloaded the malware.

TIPS

The best thing you can do to help protect yourself from being hacked is to never click on links in emails or text messages from anyone until you have absolutely verified that the messages and the links are legitimate.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

It is also important to update your security software on all of your electronic devices as soon as security updates become available.  Hackers constantly exploit vulnerabilities in software for which there already exist security patches, but which have not been installed by consumers.

Scam of the day – August 21, 2015 – Emergency security update for Internet Explorer

Microsoft Edge is the new browser being tied to the new Windows 10 operating system just recently launched by Microsoft.  It is replacing the popular Internet Explorer browser, which many people continue to use although it has proven to have a number of vulnerabilities that have been exploited by hackers.  The latest vulnerability is one that is particularly dangerous because it allows a hacker to take over your computer system merely by luring you to a malicious website or a legitimate website that had itself been hacked.  You do not even need to click on an infected link or advertisement to become a victim.  Merely going to an infected site is enough to infect your own computer.

TIPS

Fortunately, Microsoft has issued an emergency security patch to remedy this problem.  Here is a link to the Microsoft Security Advisory with that provides access to the free security patch.  https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms15-093

Whenever security patches are issued for the software that you use, it is critically important that you download and install these security updates as soon as possible to protect your safety online.  Too often people become victims of hacking and identity theft by failing to protect themselves from malware and viruses for which security patches have already been made available.