Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Why you need good security protection, even if you only visit well known and trusted websites

The BBC reported today that many Britons had been caught out by booby trapped ads on the web last weekend.  Curiously I received several calls on Sunday and Monday to sort out machines affected by virus infections from users who were pretty certain they had not been anywhere untoward on the internet.

Most of these were from what I call 'ransomware' which complained that the machines were infected and demanded money for an 'upgrade' to remove them.  Thankfully these were straightforward to remove for good.

To get to my point;  Probably these users like the ones quoted by the BBC were served infected ads from a reputable website who was supplied the ads in turn by another reputable company whose own systems had seemingly been compromised in some way.

I'm not sure if it was the same thing but while loading an innocuous page from ebay about bathroom accessories, by Symantec security software blocked 'attempted suspicious activity' quite likely in my opinion given the circumstantial evidence that this too may have been one of these infected ads.

It's only an opinion, but piad for AV software is more comprehensively reliable than free versions, and saves users from the hassle of recovering from situations like these.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Action Fraud want you to report all scam email

Action Fraud - The UK national fraud authority want you to help disrupt fraudsters by reporting scam emails
also covered by the BBC

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Don't fall for this scam

Previously I've written about an antivirus/antimalware scam where people are seemingly randomly selected for a cold call and conned into paying for services from fake companies having been convinced their computer has a problem.

Well in the last week I took a call from a new customer who had unfortunately fallen for a variant of this scam and paid up over £150 to the caller concerned.  The caller claimed to be from Microsoft and it lasted over an hour where the caller was given and took control of the user's computer where they ran a number of 'tests' which showed some positive results which they then offered to clean up for money and a sign up to a 3 year plan.  The only way to contact the company for service was to leave a message on a UK answering service and wait for a call back.

Although steps were taken to make sure that the customers computer was indeed clean, it appeared that in this case they had probably installed a legitimate freeware tool to scan the users computer and used the results to scare the user into paying for a very very simple service.  Although traces of the remote control program were left behind no other malware appeared to be present - this appears to be different to other forms of this scam.

My customer was left with a whole heap of work cancelling cards, payments and changing bank details to escape from this, as well as paying for my time to ensure their machine was secure again. 

Please don't fall for these cold call scams and if you do seek professional help from someone you trust or have recommended, as well as reporting the fraud to Action Fraud so that some concerted effort can be made to shut some of these operations down.

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