Who's tracking phone calls that target your computer? Stay Tuned to the ISC

Published: 2012-04-29
Last Updated: 2012-04-30 02:43:44 UTC
by Lorna Hutcheson (Version: 2)
12 comment(s)

The story I am about to tell is similar to the diaries posted by Rob VandenBrink in July 2010Mark Hofman in May of 2011 and Daniel Wesemann in March of 2012.  This past week I got a call from someone that I thought was a regular old telemarketer until they said they were from a company in Texas providing Microsoft Support.  The caller had a very thick Indian accent.  I played along like a dumb user (the lady kept getting very angry with me when I asked her to repeat things and said I didn't understand:)  I got to look at my logs by running "eventvwr" from run line prompt. In my application logs, I found out that warning and error messages were really "viruses" and I should not click on them because they would multiply and destroy my mother board.  I also got to run "inf virus", which just opens the Window's inf folder and disregards the word "virus", and was asked if I downloaded those files.  Of course I said no and she told me they were viruses and all sorts of evil things that had been downloaded to my computer.  She then said that Microsoft had developed a very special software that would take care of all of this for me and she would help me.  She asked me to now type "www.logmein123.com" at the run line.  At this point, 40 minutes later, I told her I had to go somewhere.  I asked if I could call her back because I sure didn't want all that stuff on my computer.  She said I could and gave me the number 773-701-5437 and said her name was Peggy.  I didn't have time to finish the call, but I sure would have like to have gotten a VM fired up and see what "special software" she had for me to install.

After the call, I started researching this type of scam and was surprised to see it seemed to be dating back to the 2009 time frame.  However, I could not find any statistics that were tracking this data.  Maybe I am just looking in the wrong place.  I saw guidance from contact your local law enforcement to send an email to antiphishing.org.  I checked antiphishing.org and could not find any data on this trend nor is there any mention in their report released 26 April 2012 that summarized 2H2011.  It states "This report seeks to understand trends and their significances by quantifying the scope of the global phishing problem. Specifically, this new report examines all the phishing attacks detected in the second half of 2011 (“2H2011”, July 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011)."   This type of phishing is something APWG doesn't appear to track at this time.

I consider these calls to still be phishing attempts because according to APWG, phishing is defined as "Phishing is a criminal mechanism employing both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumers’ personal identity data and financial account credentials."  The delivery vector is not email in this case but rather a phone call.  The end result is still the same.  So, where does that leave us for tracking the trend of fake calls whose target is your computer?

At this point in time, there is no central tracking of this type of delivery vector.  However, stay tuned to the ISC.  After discussing this with some of the other handlers, the ISC is going to set up a method for reporting these attempts to us for tracking and trending this delivery method.  More will be posted in the near future as soon as the details are worked out.


UPDATE:  The page for reporting these types of calls is now available at isc.sans.edu/reportfakecall.html.  Please let us know what you think and if we have missed anything.

12 comment(s)


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