Even though I moved to the “Mother Ship” here in Redmond back in January – I still get emails, texts, Tweets and Facebook Updates about someone who has had a relative / friend who has unfortunately been scammed by some FRICKIN’ A** Holes social engineering their way into their PC. The “technicians from Microsoft” are slick, say the right things, play on the fear of the individual and their lack of knowledge about technology and inevitably convinces them to either:
- sign up for a security service that makes their system more infected and has their data and machine held hostage for regular payments
- allows them to install malware on their system thinking that it is some sort of anti-virus
- harvests information for identity theft and credit card scams / skimming
- takes control of their email / social accounts to impersonate them online and scam their friends as well
It just goes on and on. It’s very infuriating and frustrating hearing about it and can be quite difficult to help them out remotely – I’d rather drive to their home and fix it personally out of principal – but that just won’t work.
What can YOU do about it? Well – first step in solving the problem is INFORMING yourself and ALL OF YOUR CONTACTS – friends, relatives, play-group friends, kids ball teams / hockey teams – just get this information out there.
The number ONE law of computer security (paraphrasing here) is “if a bad guy can persuade you to run his/her program on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore”. This applies if you allow others to socially engineer you into installing software yourself or allowing them to remote into your system.
My friends back at Microsoft Canada have had a go at creating an InfoGraphic to help get the information out as well as what to do if you have been scammed. Feel Free to Download it, share it out, post it up on Facebook – tweet it – whatever you like – just get the word out!