This blog has been inspired by Rebecca Herold’s blog post.
In a Gist: A computer user, we shall say the intended victim – receives a call and is asked to verify certain facts about the computer system they own and based on the type of computer system, the victim is asked to download and install logmein.
Logmein, TeamViewer and a few other remote access softwares are mostly used by techies to troubleshoot from remote locations. It makes the life of the techie a lot easy.
These applications provide VPN support, File system support and all the abilities which a computer user enjoys by having direct access.
The number from where the call was made was based in Dumont,NJ according to VerifyPhone – most probably an internet based telephony system.
A few pointers which should raise alarm bells:
1: The telephone number is supposed to be displayed on your caller-id, some services allow the caller to hide their telephone numbers. Logically, very few people would intend hiding their numbers but, if they are calling up a known person then why is there a need to hide the number. Secondly, when telephone caller is calling an unknown entity, then why is there a need to hide the number unless and until the intentions are malicious.
In India, normally we receive calls from holiday specialist, we find their agents at the malls or petrol pumps , all of them have a single agenda – entice the user with free gifts eg. Sony Bravia and fleece out as much personal information as possible.
A few days ago, there was a scam which was taking place at petrol pumps, wherein the so called agents were offering Petro Cards with petrol at half the price, only condition being to provide the Credit card number which was supposed to be used for identity verification. The end-result – many of the richer-by-one-litre-petrol-victims found their banking accounts wiped out clean.
What I intend to show-case over here is the exploitation of weakness of the humans. Whether its cyber-criminals or normal criminals, everyone’s intention is to grab hold of your credit card number.
This is the age of cyber-cannibalism – we use a bait to lure the fish and now the same ideology is being used on humans by fellow humans.
The only advice, which I can provide to you is – learn to recognize the BAIT.
As usual, follow these pointers and lead a scam free life:
A: DO NOT provide any personal information over the phone/email. Be it your credit card or any other thing.
B: Nothing is free – some would argue – AIR. Well, are you a non-tax payer?
C: Instead of answering the questions, start asking some.
You will find many blogs on how cyber-criminals are trying their best by creating – malwares, Trojans, botnets etc. and how AV companies are trying to fight back and protect the computing systems. You may even come across statistics and neatly done pie-charts, line charts, show-casing the attacks.
But at the end of the day, it’s the user, who owns a computer, having a bank account and does online transactions, is at risk.
Normally computer-users, never question the tech engineers who come in at their place to revive their broken down computer systems. Do you know why ? It is something which can even move mountains – Faith or is it the Trust? A question, I have been asking myself for quite sometime.