Feeds

Cold call scareware scammers aim to bring Mac fans into the fold

They prey upon your fear, not your operating system...

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Scareware cold-callers are adapting their tactics in order to target users of Mac machines as well as Windows PCs.

Over recent months many prospective victims in the UK and elsewhere have received unexpected calls falsely warning them that malware had been detected on their PC. The scam attempts to hoodwink users into downloading software supposedly needed to remove the infection but which actually spies on victims. Conmen sometimes claim to work for Microsoft Support, though there are variants on this aspect of the scam.

In the process of the con, victims are induced to hand over control of their machine or pass over banking details. Raising awareness of the scam was a major focus of the last edition of the Get Safe Online cyber-security education programme last November.

A variant of the con trick was thrown at Reg reader Stephen earlier this week. Although the script of the basic scam wasn't changed, and the con man thought he was talking to a Windows user, the download site detected the visitor was using a Mac, and offered up an Apple executable instead of a Windows file, as Stephen explains.

"I was called earlier today by one of these scammers," he said. "Out of interest I played along with them.

"In the end they told me to go to www.support.me* and enter a support code. I did but did it from my Mac using OSX.

"The spoof of the LogMeIN site wanted to download a file. I was shocked to find that the download was a .pkg file."

Steve sensibly didn't open the file, instead fobbing the conman off with an excuse that he had to go out and terminating the call. The persistent scammer called back a few minutes later only to receive some choice swear words from Stephen.

A spokesman for net security firm Sophos said it had not seen the cold call support scam directed against Mac users before, although the development is far from wholly unexpected.

"I don't think we have seen them targeting Mac users before," he said. "In the past, telling them you run Mac or Unix has been a good way to get them to hang up the phone.

"However we have predicted that Mac users were likely to become a target as the cold-call scammers adapted their script to target Apple Mac lovers. Their target is your fear, not your operating system."

Sophos has produced an advisory explaining how surfers can stay clear of support call scams here. ®

Bootnote

*Support.me redirects to logmeinrescue.com, a legitimate service that scammers are abusing for their own nefarious purposes.

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.