How to avoid the computer trap even TODAY’s Natalie Morales fell for

On Friday, our Chief Security Officer George Finney discussed the popularity of recent phone scams and how someone could hack you over the phone. While we focused on the cold-calling version of this scam, there is another popular one that masks itself as a warning pop-up notifying your that your system is infected. On this morning’s Today Show, Jeff Rossen showed how even national new anchor Natalie Morales can fall for one of these hacker tricks.

You can watch the full Rossen Report after the break.

Continue reading How to avoid the computer trap even TODAY’s Natalie Morales fell for

Phone Scam: Hacking Over The Phone

Members of the SMU Community have reported a number of phone calls in the last several weeks attempting to gain access to your computer.  Usually, these callers will indicate that they have “noticed” that your computer has been infected with malware and will helpfully offer to fix it for you while on the phone.  The caller will direct you to a website and request that you download software to help fix your PC, but you will actually be downloading malware.  This will usually lock your computer and the person will require you to pay hundreds of dollars to unlock it.

Don’t believe it when you get a phone call from somebody claiming your computer has been hacked.

Don’t believe it when the caller says he or she is from Microsoft or Dell, or from software security company McAfee or Norton, telling you they can remove the infection by remote control.

It’s a fraud, and if you do believe it, the scammers will take over your computer and blackmail you to pay a fee or have your hard drive deleted. And they are likely to infect your computer with real malware, opening you and the University to identity theft.

Usually, caller ID shows up as a “private caller,” but even when a callback number shows, it’s likely to lead to a non-working number, which is why the FTC has so much trouble shutting down these scammers.  The below voice mail is an actual example of the voice mail that one such hacker left on an SMU Voicemail:

Transcript of audio:

Good morning my name is Jacob and I’m calling you from PC Solutions and this call is in regards to your computer.

The main reason behind this call is to make you aware about the online infections that have got inside your computer from the Internet recently. We have been receiving error notifications from the centralized server of Windows.  That is the reason this awareness call has been initiated to you today.  If you can be in front of your computer right now I can show you where the infections are hidden inside your system.

Is it possible for you to be in front of computer right now?

Please contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-HELP with any questions concerning viruses, or malware, or call like the one described above.