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Microsoft Support Scam (again)

Published: 2011-05-23
Last Updated: 2011-05-24 00:04:21 UTC
by Mark Hofman (Version: 1)
14 comment(s)

We have mentioned the "Microsoft Support" scams a few times over the last 6 months or so (http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=10135), but a recent change in their operations grabbed my interest.  A colleague of mine mentioned that other day that he had been the recipient of the mystical "Microsoft Support" call to inform him that they had received an alert from his computer.  It was the usual scenario, with a twist. 

In previous iterations of this scam the person on the phone would get you to click through to the event viewer to "find something red". Strangely enough there is usually something red in most people's event log log.  However, do not despair if you don't have anything red, yellow is just as bad.  Once the problem (well any problem) was identified your support would have expired and they redirect you to a web site where you can part with your money and download some version of malware. 

The new iteration of the scam goes one step further.  Rather than get the victim to look, they get you to install teamviewer (although no doubt other similar tools are likely used). They take control of your machine and start moving the files across. Manually infecting, sorry fixing, your machine.  In this particular instance they noticed they were in a VM and promptly started removing the files they had moved, before the link was dropped and the phone call terminated.

The scam is obviously still working.  It seems they have figured out that users can't be trusted to click a link, but installing remote control software and getting you to install the malware for them is ok.

If you've received one of these calls and taken them to the point where they have started installing things and you still have those files, please let us know.  If they have used things other than teamviewer I'd be interested as well.  In the mean time remember to teach mums, dads, aunts, uncles, etc that it will be a cold day in, you know where, when Microsoft will call you out of the blue to help you fix  problem with your computer.  

-Mark H-

Thanks for the comments all. 

We had a few additional snippets of information.  Some have had a similar interaction with someone pretending to be Skype. Others have unfortunately been scammed out of a significant amount of money and left with a PC that does nothing much. (http://www.thetechherald.com/article.php/201121/7188/Cold-calling-scams-return-with-a-twist )

As for disguising VM, good question. We'll have to work on that.

 

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