SCAM & Malware Alerts

21st October 2019

Scam Update

Please see this report on the BBC website:  It describes some of the most prevalent computer scams that continue to cause a nuisance and actually extract money from vulnerable users.  You may think that you would not fall foul of such attacks but I know many of my own customers who have suffered financial loss as a result of these sophisticated scams.  In the time between reading this piece and typing this to post online I received a call from “Virgin Media” regarding my internet connection.  You guessed it: I do not have Virgin Internet.  The caller was from India.

As it states in the BBC article, Microsoft will never call you and neither will your internet provider.  They are paid whether your internet works or not.  They do not have the resources to proactively call you to report a fault on your line.

Please be careful and be aware.  Never allow anyone access to your computer unless you know them personally.

2nd October 2019

Latest Ransomware Attacks

The latest high profile Ransomware attacks have targeted hospitals in the U.S.A. and Australia.  See this article on the BBC from 2nd October 2019:

 There is an interesting quote from UK based Cyber-Security expert Kevin Beaumont at the end of the article.  “He said organisations needed to review their security procedures and ensure that backups were in place – and also that such backups had been recently tested – so that data and systems could be restored in the event of a ransomware infection”.

If you already use our Backup-Pro (Attix) offsite data backup service, please ensure that you have selected the correct files for backup.  If you do not have a regular (daily) backup routine in place please consider our service which starts form just £10.00 per month.  We have already rescued one customer who have suffered two ransomware attacks.

2nd July 2019

Ransomware Attacks – Continuing Threat

So maybe you thought that the threat of a Ransomware attack had subsided.  Maybe the hackers have moved on to other threats.  The media have been fairly quiet about such attacks since the notorious Wannacry assault that affected the NHS along with large companies around the world.

Unfortunately, that is not the case as this short video posted on the BBC website on 24th June 2019 shows:

Norsk Hydro are one of the world’s largest corporations.  They suffered a Ransomware attack and very bravely decided not to pay the ransom.  The attack affected 22,000 computers worldwide and has cost the company an estimated £45m to date.

In a further development, a leading UK Forensic services company, Eurofins Scientific, has admitted that it paid a ransom following a cyber attack in June 2019:

It is not only large corporations that find themselves the target of these attacks.  We have experienced two attacks on “home” users and one on a small company in Surrey only last year.  The small company had been Attix/Backup-Pro customers since 2005 and had never had a need to use the recovery service.  Last year they suffered two Ransomware attacks within a month and we were able to provide their clean data from before the attack on both occasions on a USB pen drive – allowing their business to recover from the attacks each time.  In all three examples there have been two attacks a few weeks apart.  Having a reliable offsite data backup service that stores multiple copies of your data is critical to recovery from such attacks.  It is also an important element to being GDPR compliant.

20th April 2019

It is that time of year again when people expect and receive Tax Rebates.  The scammers will be out in force trying to convince you that HMRC have issued a tax rebate to you and that all you have to do is click on the link and provide a few details to have it paid directly into your bank account.  Don’t be fooled – however convincing the linked website may seem HMRC will never ask for your bank details via email or text.  There is a very good article on the BBC about this which I recommend you read:  The article concentrates on text messages but the same holds true for email scams as well – in fact they can often be even more convincing!

According to the Hiscox Insurance radio advert you are 40% more likely to suffer a cyber attack than be physically burgled.  Hardly a day goes by when I do not receive either a phone call from a worried customer or have a suspicious email forwarded to me.  It is very rare for the contact to be genuine.  The scammers are becoming ever more professional.  It is rare today to receive an email or text full of grammatical errors and/or typos which used to be a give-away that the message was a scam.  Even I have fallen for an eBay “negative feedback” scam although fortunately I realised very quickly and changed my password.

Please be very aware.

29th November 2018

This short video piece from the BBC is certainly worth viewing: Sexploitation Scam.  I know of many people who have received this or similar scam email (including myself and my daughter!).  You may feel very confident that this is a scam but they do have your password and that can be very unnerving.  In my case (and that of my daughter) my password was hacked from Ticketmaster earlier in 2018.  If you do receive any email that displays a password you still currently use make sure that you change it on all websites where it is still valid – just as a precaution.

9th March 2018

Having just received a scam phone call from “Sky” offering me a £202 refund (I don’t have Sky and never have) I was reminded of a recent scam that was successful that I wanted to warn everyone about.

One of my customers received a phone call from BT about his poor broadband performance. He told them he wasn’t with BT but they then said they were calling from Open Reach and claimed to be responsible for the quality provision of his service.  He has suffered poor broadband for a while (who hasn’t?) and, despite being a very intelligent man allowed the caller (Indian) remote access to his PC.  They spent around 4 hours “fixing things” and then offered a refund for the poor service he had suffered. Being concerned about banking fraud he did not have internet banking setup but they convinced him to setup an online account so they could deposit his refund. They then proceeded to steal money from three of his bank accounts over the next 24 hours. I removed the remote access software from his PC that was still active and could have allowed them future access!

Please NEVER allow anyone who calls you unexpectedly remote access to your computer. Your broadband service provider, and certainly Open Reach, will NEVER call you to correct a fault you have not reported. If someone wants to access your computer remotely, hang up the call immediately and switch off your computer.

If a company wants to offer you a refund tell them to send a cheque or credit it to the account from which you currently pay them.

28th June 2017

Please see the latest information here.  Four arrests made in the U.K. regarding the Microsoft Scam.

In recent weeks we have received a flurry of calls from customers regarding cold calls from Microsoft or their Broadband provider and a number of suspected virus pop-ups on their PC’s. These are scams and should be ignored. If in doubt please feel free to contact us. Please do not fall into their trap. Here we hope to explain a little about what they do and why.

The calls usually follow a certain pattern where the caller will tell you they are either calling you from Microsoft or “Your Broadband Provider” telling you that there are problems with your computer(s). This is important. To start with Microsoft would never call a customer out of the blue and state that they know there are problems with your computer. Microsoft only ever return calls on active cases that have been processed and logged via their help desk. As soon as you hear this, hang up. Alternatively the caller says they are calling from your broadband provider. Note that they will never say who the provider is, just that they are calling from them. Again, in this situation hang up. Both of these cases are examples of telephone scams. In each case, if taken further, the caller will talk you through setting up a remote session on your computer. In doing so they will now have full access to your machine and all your files. They will then proceed to run a few freeware programs to delete temporary files and then charge anywhere between £200 and £350. If payment is refused we have had cases of callers changing or adding passwords to machines thus blocking your access to your own equipment without their assistance, and of course paying their bill.

Another case of a scam, this time online, is that of the urgent “Virus Alert”. Usually it will pop up on websites in bright bold colours warning you that there is a dangerous virus on your computer that must be dealt with immediately, and to do so call this 0800 number. Occasionally they’ll even have a price listed, nearly always in dollars and somewhere around the $20-30 mark.  They will claim that if you pay that price all your problems will be solved. This is untrue and simply a means to gain your credit card details which will be used at a later date to siphon funds from your account. It is best to ignore the pop up closing it, or the web browser, if possible. It is very unlikely that your machine has been infected with a virus and that this is simply a pop-up.  However, to be safe you should run a full virus scan on the PC or laptop concerned.  You can call us for assistance if you are unsure of how to do this.

In both cases the scammers may be after credit card details and other personal information. Once someone has remote software on your PC they can access it whenever they like, checking your files for information or planting data mining viruses to spread onto others. It is always best to stop, think, and hang up the phone or close the computer. Acting rashly could result in financial loss or identity theft.

If you are in any doubt please call us on 020 8688 0844 or use the Contact Us page. We are more than happy to talk you through any issues you may have and put your mind at ease.  A remote session by CCR will cost substantially less than any of the scams mentioned above.