Feeds

Beware of cold call scammers pushing rogue antivirus

Again

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Malware-pushing scammers appear to be stepping up their use of telephone-based pitches, resulting in an increase in reports from the UK of high-pressure cold calls designed to trick people into installing rogue antivirus products and other nasties.

Over the past few weeks, at least two people close to The Reg — including reporter Bill Ray, who has seen his share of scams — have received the dire warnings that their PCs are riddled with malware that can be purged with just a few clicks directed by the person on the other end. On Friday, antivirus provider Eset UK, citing an increase in the calls, warned computer users to remain vigilant.

The pitches vary, but they generally involve a professional-sounding person who may be calling from a phone center who warns that malware has been detected and is now attacking other computers. Skeptical receivers may be asked to open the Windows event viewer for proof of infection before ultimately being asked to give the caller remote access through logmein123.com or other services. Eventually, the scammers will install rogue antivirus software or other malware that is extremely difficult to remove.

The scammers are undaunted when would-be victims say they don't need help from a perfect stranger calling over the phone from heaven knows where.

“Turn your computer on and in a few clicks we can sort it out for you,” one caller told a family member of Paul Young, an IT employee at Sophos, another UK-based antivirus provider. The scammer knew her name and number even though her phone wasn't listed. Shortly after hanging up, she received another call from someone claiming to be working for a different company, who used slightly different tactics.

Of course, when Young inspected the PC later, he found no signs of any infection.

The scam has been going on for more than a year, but other than the domain names, supportonclick.com, go4sapling.com and metsupport.com, researchers say they know little about the people behind the calls.

Once upon a time, malware pushers thrived off of vulnerabilities built into Microsoft Windows and the applications that ran on top of it. As software companies have gotten better at locking down their products, crooks resorted to popups designed to trick marks into installing the malicious wares. Now, with the cost of calls at an all-time low, it's only natural the scams would move to cold calls.

Eset says the scammers charge up to £79 to install the malware, which often masquerades as titles from legitimate antivirus providers. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.