A couple of people we know have recently received phone calls out of the blue from someone claiming to be working for Microsoft Tech Support.
The callers say that ‘problems on your computer’ have been reported to them and they are calling up to help you fix them.
No they’re not. It’s a scam.
The callers go on to ask for access details – passwords and usernames etc – which will allow them to access your computer remotely, stealing valuable data or planting malware (malicious software) on your hard drive.
The Microsoft official website advises that “Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer”, and also points out that:
This is generally true of all software providers – any calls or emails you receive
Malware is a broad term that describes all software written with a malicious or criminal intent, including viruses and trojans. The purpose of malware programmes can vary enormously. There are those that cause pop-up windows to appear in the hope you’ll click on them, basically unwanted advertising, and these are just annoying or mischievous. Some will allow the cybercriminals who plant it access to your email programme so that they can send out messages using your address.
Others have much darker intent: the worst type will either deliberately destroy or damage your data, or simply monitor your activity and potentially steal important passwords and access details as you key them in.
This can all sound a bit scary, particularly as we become more and more used to conducting so much of our business and personal lives online.
The first line of defence is to make yourself, and your employees, highly aware of the tricks they could be subjected to. When you know what measures cybercriminals are resorting to, you are much less likely to be caught off guard and fall for their scams.
Making it clear that they are not, under any circumstances, to give usernames, passwords or any other access details to anyone other than your authorised IT representatives should help eliminate the risk that they would trustingly fall for a phone scam.
Pointing out that they should never open attachments on emails from sources they don’t know and trust is another basic that is easily forgotten.
With the best will in the world, it is really difficult to be hyper-vigilant all the time.
If you suspect that you might have been attacked with malware, viruses or trojans, and you want to check it out, use the free online scanner at ESET.
This powerful little programme works through your web-browser to check for and clean up malware that has found its way onto your computer. It uses the same ThreatSense® technology as their anti-virus software and it’s always completely up-to-date.
Of course, to work the software will need to access your system in exactly the same way as the scammers were trying to do – and that’s when you need to know that you’re dealing with a tried and trusted source.
We at GTI are only too happy to recommend ESET’s solutions as we know from experience how effective they are. They are a genuine and trusted supplier to us, and we know they have your best interests at heart.
In industry tests they regularly top the ratings for reliability – we use ESET security software ourselves, and we advise our clients to as well. Why? Well, the proof is in the pudding as they say – we spend quite a lot of our time cleaning up clients’ systems after virus and other malware attacks. But we’ve never had a call from any of our clients using ESET’s NOD32 security software.
We think that speaks volumes!