Scam and other security issues

I am sure if you own a PC you have at some stage experienced an infection of one type or another.

You may not be aware but there are several types of infection ranging from the annoying to the downright dangerous. Although in the user world just about all infections are referred to as ‘viruses’ there are in fact a number of categories of infection of which a virus is just one. There are also many ways that these infections can get into your computer, the most well known being via an email. Below are some of the categories of infection:

•    virus
•    trojan horse
•    worm
•    keylogger
•    password sniffer
•    adware/spyware

A lot of the time you will hear the terms virus and malware, where malware is used as a generic term for all other infections other than virus. There are other terms used, but these are the most common. All of them have the capability to cause you some level of inconvenience from annoying pop-ups to lost or corrupted data and even identity theft. Now please don’t get paranoid, infections are very common but actual damage to or loss of data fairly rare and identity theft even rarer.

So, today I am talking about one of the latest threats which has affected a number of my clients in varying ways.
I am not actually sure how to categorise this threat, as it is more of a marketing scam than an infection, however the outcomes can be similar (and you can end up with an infection).

This scam starts with an unsolicited phone call from a company that describes itself as something like “Windows Security Center” or “Microsoft Security Center”. The caller often has a very strong Indian accent (sorry, not meaning to be racist in any way, but these call centers are usual in India). They then commence to put the fear of God into you by suggesting that they have had reports that your computer has a number of dangerous infections and that you need to give them access to your computer to remove them. Sometimes they even claim to have accessed your computer and found the infections!

Now the previous statements should have raised a number of red flags in your mind but especially the statement that they have accessed your computer! I would be asking them how they accessed it and pointing out we have privacy laws in Australia!

Anyway, by now you should have figured out that it is a scam so when they start asking for your credit card details so you can join their maintenance or whatever program you are ready to hang up! Of course, if you are game you can then start asking for details of the company so you can report to them to the Dept of Fair Trading!

So what should you do about unsolicited phone calls from computer security companies? Hang up! Then make sure your phone numbers are added to the “Do Not Call Register” . Of course the Do Not Call Register won’t stop all these call as some are from overseas, but certainly the first one I came across was Austalian.

I will try to add regular updates to this blog regarding the latest security risks as they are discovered so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, don’t forget to contact us if you have any questions or please add your comments and experiences to this post.

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