Troubling Phishing Trend

By February 14, 2017Cyber Security, News

More phone phishing attempts

A troubling trend has been sweeping the internet and IT security spheres. Sources estimate an increase of as much as 250% in 2016, following an information leak by Dell and several other technology leaders, scammers have been calling customers’ phones claiming to be from Tech Support and requesting that customers give them remote access to their computers.
Recently, this trend has only increased. This writer can personally attest to at least 4 first-hand experiences of scammers using this method, and reports of other incidents have only increased in the last few months. It is important that you know what to look out for in order to maintain the security of your networks, computers, and the information within. These are just a few steps you can take to identify and protect yourself from a potential scammer.

First: These scammers will call your home or office number – depending on which is stored in the stolen records – and claim that they are from tech support and have detected a problem on your computer. This is the first red flag, as your typical support center does not monitor your computer for problems. Instead, they wait for you, the consumer, or your IT department to call them to indicate that there has been a problem.

Second: They will request remote access to your computer in order to solve the problem that they have supposedly detected on your computer. This is typically done through a third-party website which requires you to give permission to access your computer. Many IT companies and departments use sites like this to solve problems, but there are several methods to identify a scam. First, companies such as Netrique will have their logo somewhere on the site. Second, larger companies such as Dell will not use sites like this at all, as they have their own software to gain remote access to your computer. Third, if you are uncomfortable giving remote access, you can always say so. They can’t do anything without your permission, and if it is a scammer, they will often hang up immediately if challenged.

Third: The thing that makes these scams unique is that they will often have access to support information, such as your computer’s serial number or service tag. Do not be fooled! If you have previously called as support center and were expecting a call back, ask to speak with the operator that helped you previously. While this may cause you be on hold for a little while longer, it will ensure that it is the same support center that you had called earlier. If it is a scamming attempt, the scammer will typically hang up when faced with a request they can’t fulfil.

Fourth: If you have a professional IT department, chances are the computers you use at work are filed under the IT department’s information at the support center. If you are called by a support operator, even if it is not a scam, it was most likely an error. And, most importantly, if anything seems suspicious about a call regarding your computer or the information within, contact your IT support team with any questions you may have.

We will be keeping an eye on this trend and updating this blog with any new information we find. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below and I will answer as I am able.

One Comment

  • Another user was scammed in a similar manner, though nit by a phone call. The user got a popup asking them to call a tool-free number. After some proof of legitimacy, the suspected scammer installed remote support software that captured all the key click and remained connected to the computer for hours.

    The computer was disconnected from the network, then scanned for malware.

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