Louise and the Microsoft Support Scammer

Louise started up Internet Explorer browser on her PC and a screen popped up with a warning

WARNING – YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED

CALL Microsoft SUPPORT on 0208 3808 8964 IMMEDIATELY.

DO NOT TURN YOUR COMPUTER OFF OR ATTEMPT TO DO ANYTHING ELSE

Louise called the number immediately.

A very pleasant Indian man answered and he seemed very knowledgeable and assured her he would resolve the problem.

He asked her to install a piece of Citrix software which she did so he could take control of her PC and establish the nature of the problem.

He emphasised that the PC was badly infected and how important it was to remove the threat.

He warned her to turn off any other computers or mobile phones in the house as they could also become  infected.

At this point, his patter turned into more of a sales pitch for a package that would solve her problem and this made Louise suspicious.

Now Louise’s husband Charles was surprised at the request to turn off other computers and that made him suspicious so he turned the iPAD back on and searched for scams.

He found it – the “Microsoft Support scam”.

Charles then pulled the power cord from the PC to end any incursion by the support scammer.

What happened next?

The scammers called back three times and were ignored until they stopped calling.

Charles ran Kaspersky anti-virus to scan the PC for problems and installed Malwarebytes to also scan for any other malware. He also deleted the Citrix installation.

The PC was safe and they hadn’t been scammed but Charles and Louise had a narrow escape.

If continued, the scammers may have garnered credit card details, bank details, logins and passwords. etc.  as well as being paid for removing a non-existent computer virus.

If you see a warning screen like the one above – turn off the computer and contact a professional.  Do not call the number on screen as they are scammers.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

The Government’s New Cyber Security Centre

The government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), based in Victoria, London, was officially opened by the Queen in early February.

The new boss is Ciaran Martin, who has moved from the agency’s headquarters in Cheltenham.

The NCSC is already busy as it says it has stopped more than a hundred high level cyber attacks in the last few months.

“The cyberattacks we are seeing are increasing in their frequency, their severity, and their sophistication,” chancellor Philip Hammond said ahead of the opening.

“We will help secure our critical services, lead the response to the most serious incidents and improve the underlying security of the internet through technological improvement and advice to citizens and organisations,” Martin said. This will include finding vulnerabilities in public sector websites, stopping spoof emails, and taking down thousands of phishing websites in the UK.

The National Cyber Security Centre has four key objectives outlined in its prospectus.

  1. To Be a Centre of Expertise on Cyber Security

To understand the cyber security environment, share knowledge, and use that expertise to identify and address systemic vulnerabilities. The NCSC will be the centre of government expertise on what is happening in cyberspace.. That knowledge will be used to provide best practice advice and guidance, and to tackle systemic vulnerabilities to enhance cyber security for all.

  1. To Protect the UK

To reduce risks to the UK by working with public and private sector organisations to improve their cyber security. The NCSC will support the most critical organisations in the UK across government and the private sector to secure and defend their networks.

  1. To respond to Cyber Security Incidents

When a serious cyber incident occurs, the NCSC will work with victims to minimise the damage, to help with recovery, and to learn lessons to reduce the chance of recurrence and minimise future impact. At the same time the NCSC will ensure that the wider response of government and law enforcement is well co-ordinated

  1. To Grow the UK Cyber Security Capability

To nurture and grow our national cyber security capability, and provide leadership on critical national cyber security issues. Cyber security and information technology continues to develop and evolve at a rapid pace. As the Centre within government for cyber-knowledge, the NCSC will have the best possible visibility of what is happening today – in terms of threats, vulnerabilities and technology trends. This means cutting edge technical research teams, combining the best of government, industry and academic expertise, scanning the horizon and helping plan for what could challenge us tomorrow. The NCSC will lead the UK’s thinking across the range of initiatives and developments, ensuring that the UK Government, organisations and the public can harness the advantages that new technologies bring in a safe and secure manner.

Let’s hope the new NCSC is up to the job of combatting foreign and domestic hackers, criminals and terrorists.

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

TrashCan Disposable Email Addresses

You may be at an exhibition and want to download an advertised document but you have to give an email address to get it and you know your email address will go on their list for Marketing emails so you don’t want to give your real email address.

Or maybe you’re just on the Internet and you have to key in your email address for a one off reason.

Disposable email addresses are the solution. Use once and throw away.

There are various email providers  including Yahoo and Google etc. that offer disposable email addresses and there are some specialist suppliers.

Trashcan is a new supplier that has simplified the process as much as is possible.

You go to the site www.trashcanmail.com

Type in your desired email address @trashcanmail.com

If it’s already in use you’ll have to pick a new one otherwise it’s now yours.

You don’t have to register or give your name and email address.

The disposable email address is yours.

To check any incoming mail – go to the website and type in the address and see what you’ve got.

That’s it.

Clearly this is not very secure as anyone can go to the Trashcan website and key in your email address deliberately or accidentally while trying to make one for themselves.

But it’s designed for a one-off use then forget it.

If you want a secure disposable email address then there are lots of providers available eg. Yahoo, Guerilla Mail and Maildrop. But if you want a one-off quick email address to use then Trashcan might fit the role.

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