Scams and Blackmail: How to take control
My wife the other day had her computer attacked by a person claiming to be from Microsoft, saying that she needed to call them immediately because she had errors on her computer that needed to be repaired. They also referred to porno files.
This type of scam through a pop-up ad is becoming quite common as I have repaired several computers in the last six months with this problem. Once you call them they will want permission to come on your computer. Then they will show you your computer errors which are really Microsoft utilities doing their job.
Never let anyone on your computer because once on your computer, they will take control and pressure you to pay their fee is $300 to $500 dollars. Once they are on your computer there is no way to get them off except through a reinstallation of your system losing all your files unless you have backed them up. Call Perry’s Computer repair for this repair.
Cryptoblackmail scams are becoming more and more common
A criminal may email you and claims that you cheated on your wife or that there is an assassin after you. The person asks you for a payment, sometimes thousands of dollars, to make the problem go away. This is cyrptoblackmail which is any sort of threat with a demand to pay money to a cryptocurrency address.
Usually, the criminals send out their messages to a large number of people and if only a few do pony up the money, they will be successful. Some people who may have secretly cheated on their wife become very agitated and will pay up. Normally these are empty threats and one does not need to be scared of them.
One scammer reportedly made about $15,000 in the first few days on July 11 and 12 which was recorded in Bitcoin transactions sent to the scammer wallet address.
These types of scams require payment in Bitcoin for the same reason that ransomware does because it is difficult for anyone or authorities to track down the owner of the Bitcoin address and it is not possible to undo a transaction.
Another scam is a telephone call saying they are calling from Microsoft telling you that you have problems with your computer and that they will need to come on your computer. I receive a telephone call every two months from these scammers. Once I tell them what I do and I am a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, they hang up. Microsoft never, never makes calls to their customers.
Leaked passwords and blackmail
Another scan is using leaked passwords to gain entrance to your computer. Or they can send you an email quoting your password and saying that they entered your computer and placed malware on your computer which saw you looking at pornography or other objectionable things. They ask for an outrageous amount to blackmail you.
Using “Have I Been Pwned?”
Searching the “Have I Been Pwned” site I found that my information was on seven breached sites. One of the breached sites was LinkedIn which had 164 million email and passwords exposed in 2016. They were offered for sale in 2016 on the dark web. So I changed my email and passwords which was quite a job. I also canceled my membership in LinkedIn.
To prevent this use of your passwords, you can check databases on the dark web to see if your name or password is there. Troy Hunt’s “Have I Been Pwned?” website maintains a database of username and password combinations from these leaks. Scammers can download these databases of passwords and use them to hack your accounts. It is important not to use the same password for your important websites like your bank account.
Where do they get these passwords?
They scan publicly available collections of breached accounts on the web or on the so-called dark web. To check them yourself go to the main page “Have I Been Pwnd?” and search for your username or email address. You will then be able to see if any of your passwords have been leaked or compromised. If you want to get an email notification should your email address appear in a future leak, click the “Notify me” link at the top of the page and enter your email address.
Do not type your password on any third party web page! You are just giving them your password if they are not honest.
If you do find your username and or password, change it immediately. To set strong passwords, you can use a password manager and two-factor authentication to protect your passwords.
Two-factor authentication is very strong and requires two out of three variables such as something you know like a PIN number, something you have or a biometric from your face or fingerprint.
Protect your passwords and email addresses. Never negotiate with these criminals or pay them. Don’t let them on to your computer if they make a request to repair something.
If you have these kinds of issues, call Perry’s Computer Repair at 443-783-2269.