Friday, September 10, 2010
Computer Maintenance Dept of Your OS
Jan had a strange telephone call Thursday and we'd like to share it with our readers since it deals with something we're all using - a computer. You all know the evils of the internet and how scammers, spammers, hijackers, hackers and phishers abound, floating around in a sea of viruses. So before we go out there, we put on our armor of antivirus, two-way firewall, malware mace, spam helmet, use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, etc. And still the bad guys invent new bolt cutters and artillery to crash through our perimeters.
That's why we leave a comment for blogs when we notice something unusual such as popups that try to lock the visitor to the blog or those stupid popunders for Facebook game applications or Gamevance ads. When our av blocks the sites of those popunders and says it has determined the sites are malicious and we have let the blogger know they exist but the ads keep popping up when we click on "comment," we listen to our av and stop leaving comments. We do the best we can to keep our computer healthy.
Still, we're all constantly being told that even if you have an av, your computer can become infected. The bad guys hear this too and so they have evidently come up with a new technique (new to us anyway) to fix our problems before we actually have any. A just-in-time phone call from your friendly Computer Maintenance Dept. for your Operating System. Bet you didn't know your computer could be guarded by such a thing, did you?
When Jan hears a strange voice, she grabs pen and paper and starts taking notes, so the following conversation is a compilation of the conversation because Jan asked the guy the same questions so many times he was running out of different ways to explain the reason he was calling. Never once did he give a company name, name the OS, or come right out and say it was Microsoft (because of course it was NOT MS) but the inference was there. Can you picture MS calling us Funny Farmers to tell us we have a problem and they can fix it -- for FREE?
We'll let Jan tell you about it -
The caller had a very heavy accent that I could barely understand. He ID'd himself as Mumble, Mumble of the Computer Maintenance Dept of "your" (meaning my) operating system, which makes no sense. Said he was calling because they've had so many error reports from my web browsing. That I have been downloading infected files, my OS has been badly corrupted with malicious programs without my knowledge, and my computer is 60 - 70% not working. This would get worse and my computer is going to crash. I said he had the wrong number but then he asked for me by name.
Ever since the new power supply was installed, my computer has been working great and I have been using Vipre av and fw since last December. I also occasionally run a scan with the free Malwarbytes program. I asked him repeatedly who he was and why he was calling and the closest he got to naming my OS was "Windows OS." Never which one, which in itself is suspicious because if he was getting all these error reports, shouldn't he know the OS?
To prove my computer is screaming with pain from all the malware, he directed me to Manage/ Event Views/Applications to see all the red errors and warnings. Well, yeah, there were a number but they went back to early April. He said to not click on anything there because they were all malicious. He told me several times to go online with IE and then tell him what is my home page. I don't use IE and I wasn't about to go online for a stranger. I asked why he wanted me to and why it had to be with IE. and he finally said he was going to send me somewhere they could help me fix this problem before my computer crashes.
This was as far as I could go to find out who he was and what he wanted. I wish I could have learned who he really represented so I could report the company. I told him I don't know him and I don't trust him, so he said he was going to put his supervisor on the line to talk to me. I hung up. If I didn't trust him, why would I trust his supervisor? He promptly called back and called out for me on the answering machine.
I didn't answer. I was online looking for the Sunbelt Live Chat page, where I reported this to a nice lady who pointed me to the Sunbelt blog and an email address where I could again report it and the word could be spread. As she said, every computer has errors and warnings in the Event Viewer and this is someone preying on people who don't know what is in the Event Viewer. She suggested making a note of the phone number. This is one of those times I wished I had Caller ID. I will still look into where this might be reported (such as the newspapers) because I can just imagine scared computer users - especially the elderly - going online, giving their homepage and letting this guy "fix" their nonexistent malicious program problems.
Okay, guys, I'm done. Thanks for letting me borrow your blog to help spread the word about this crappy means of trying to scare folks into doing something stupid, just like the callers who convince folks to give out their SS number or other valuable data. And if you haven't heard of this type of phone call before, tell your mother, your neighbors, your family and friends so they won't get suckered.
Well, we don't have anything to add to what Jan said, so we'll go take a nap and see you tomorrow.
Excerpts from this post are featured on the Sunbelt Blog today. You can read their post here.