The WannaCry ransomware outbreak from a couple of weeks ago affected about 300,000 PCs around the world. The ransomware attacked machines through unpatched Windows operating system software, encrypted user files, and then demanded money in exchange for regaining access. People and organizations are patching their Windows operating systems to ensure they do not become the next victims.
Unfortunately, tech support scams typically follow a widespread malware attack. These scam artists see the buzz surrounding the WannaCry ransomware spread as an opportunity to make a profit. These scammers hook their victims by launching a suspicious tech support pop-up browser window that displays a phone number for people to call.
How do Tech Support Pop-Up Scams work?
- Victims will see a fake Microsoft splash page appear out of nowhere. The notice will state the WannaCry ransomware infected the computer and then instruct the user to call their listed help number. Most users will have trouble closing the pop-up window.
- Victims will call the number and allow the scammers to access their computers remotely.
- The scammers will perform a fake malware removal service and install the already free Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.
- The scammers will collect hundreds of dollars for their so-called service.
- These criminals might call days or weeks later to say you have another malware infection so they can collect more money for their “services.”
How do you prevent yourself from falling for this scam?
- Remember that Microsoft will never offer unsolicited tech support. They are not a “Big Brother” corporation that knows if every PC in cyberspace, including yours, is having technical difficulties. You (or SwiftTech) would need to be the one to initiate contact.
- Do not call numbers from pop-up messages. Microsoft error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number. Close the entire browser program (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) to remove the message.
- Be cautious about unsolicited phone calls. If someone claiming to be from Microsoft calls randomly and offers to help you with computer problems, hang up immediately.
- Do not give out personal information to a cold caller, including passwords, PINs, and social security numbers.
- Do not allow remote access to your PC to a cold caller.
- If you believe you are already a victim, contact SwiftTech Solutions to scan your computer for unwanted programs. Also, call your bank or credit card company to report the charge. Furthermore, you can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.
SwiftTech Solutions realizes our clients depend on us for their critical IT needs and we take this responsibility very seriously. You can contact us about the security of your IT systems at 877-794-3811. To keep your business running smoothly and securely, we now have a new cloud subscription-based service available called Security as a Service. This service provides next-level protection against WannaCry and similar malware attacks:
- Ransomware Protection
- Email Security
- Web Security
- Enterprise Anti-Virus & Anti-Malware Protection
- Intrusion Prevention, Detection, & Management
- Security Monitoring
Palmer, D. Now tech support scams are exploiting WannaCry ransomware fears. (2017, May 24). Retrieved from: http://www.zdnet.com/article/now-tech-support-scams-are-exploiting-wannacry-ransomware-fears/
Cimpanu, C. Tech Support Scammers Are Exploiting Mass Hysteria Surrounding WannaCry. (2017, May 24). Retrieved from: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/tech-support-scammers-are-exploiting-mass-hysteria-surrounding-wannacry/
Luna, J. Tech support scams are now exploiting the WannaCry fiasco to trick users. (2017, May 24). Retrieved from: https://www.neowin.net/news/tech-support-scams-are-now-exploiting-the-wannacry-fiasco-to-trick-users
Honorof, M. Don’t Fall for These Lame WannaCry Scams. (2017, May 25). Retrieved from: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/wannacry-tech-support-scams,news-25161.html
Parris, R. Tech support scams follow WannaCry ransomware. (2017, May 24). Retrieved from: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/05/tech-support-scams-follow-wannacry-ransomware/
ActionFraud. Alert: Microsoft Tech-Support Scammers using WannaCry attack to lure victims. (2017, May 23). Retrieved from: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/alert-microsoft-tech-support-scammers-using-wannacry-attack-to-lure-victims-may17