Feeds

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

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

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.